Discover more from 50 Years of Text Games
Mystery Item #4 Revealed
Would you like a hint?
Happy Tuesday, folks! We’re in the doldrums-y middle of the Kickstarter campaign for the 50 Years of Text Games book right now, so updates have slowed down: but to keep things exciting, I’ve got another reveal from the Ultimate Collector’s Edition for you.
Last week, I announced that the third mystery item from the “feelies” box was a 3.5" floppy disk containing the text of the book and a few bonus surprises.
We’ve made it to week three and the next reveal. The fourth bonus collectible to be included in the Ultimate Collector’s Edition is....
A 40-page “hint book” zine with hidden clues for all fifty games!
Hint books were common in the days when most games had puzzles. Early game companies figured out this could be a valuable secondary revenue stream: they opened 900 number phone trees and sold hint books of varying designs to desperate fans. At one point, Infocom's hint books were outselling their games (probably due to rampant software piracy).
To keep from accidentally seeing hints you didn’t need, and also probably to prevent hint books from being easily photocopied, companies used various forms of obfuscation in their hint books, from invisible ink to numeric look-ups or cyphers to cardboard decoder wheels. The 50 Years of Text Games hint book will honor this tradition by obscuring hint answers with a red pattern that your very own secret decoder wand will reveal.
40 page pocket-sized A6 mini-booklet (4.1" x 5.8" or 105 × 148 mm)
Red-tinted secret decoder wand included, omg!
At least one hint for each of the fifty games in the book—yes, even the ones without puzzles! For these games your decoder wand might reveal tips for playing, easter eggs, little-known secrets, or other cool factoids.
Don't expect comprehensive hints for each game—this is a sampler, not an omnibus!—but each will be genuinely useful or interesting, with an aim to be helpful to a first-time player just encountering each game for the first time.
The hintbook will only be available as part of the Ultimate Collector's Edition!
It’s not too late to pledge for any edition of the 50 Years book, if you haven’t joined the adventure yet! If you’ve already pledged and want to upgrade to the Ultimate Collector tier, you can do so on the project’s Kickstarter page by clicking the “Manage Your Pledge” button. (Full instructions here.) As a reminder, here’s what you get with the Ultimate Collector’s Edition tier:
The slipcase Collector's Edition book with the bonus “Further Explorations” book
A reusable display box printed with text art
Feelie #1: An 11" x 17" poster featuring your choice of three original maps of games from the series
Feelie #2: A piece of genuine computer punch tape, used to store programs in the 1970s
Feelie #3: The collectible floppy disk
Feelie #4: The 40-page hint book zine with decoder wand
One more mystery feelie, to be announced soon!
Thanks as always for your support, at any pledge level or none: your belief in this project keeps me going. Please keep spreading the word about the book to your networks: there’s some tips for how to do that here.
More news next week as we head into the final stretches of the campaign! Until then, take care, and I hope you find all the hints you need this week…