The develepors of Super Meat Boy, Team Meat actually helped us out with this when they started to hint at us with these tweets. Tweet 1
and tweet 2
. They were images of birds and their twitter account led us to DanielleOrama's Flickr page which hinted to "bird eggs".
Toki Tori's ASL Login password was bird eggs.
It was evident that the updates to the game had more to them just Aperture Science Login Codes. Slowly new information started emerging and like an Amoeba's Pseudopodia we started to engulf the information in hopes to discover something new.
Toki Tori took some time and some graphical ingenuity. The surveillance video
of JAKE_R trying to retrieve clues from Two Tribes studio had a lime green truck pass by. On it were the Glyphs that were translated to FLIP UNTIL THE DOTS MATCH. (See Chapter 6 Under April 7, 2011) Now recall that Toki Tori received three new bonus maps
. Something was fishy, the tile pattern stood out. We figured that the developers wanted us to MATCH THE DOTS. The dots were matched and this pattern
emerged. Does it look familiar? Yes, it was a QR Code that led us to a link
. In it 3 images were recovered.
Each image had a modified thumbnail. Here they are blown up:
During this time Sandy made a reference to Leveraged to help with the pseudocode.
April 4th 2:13 pm - "Archimedes? Is that you?" (The Leverage Principle of Archimedes).
So... around the office, big rumors. Everybody but the boss is talking about a "leveraged" something or other. I guess that means a buyout. I'm not sure how that works, leveraged or otherwise. I'm not an MBA, much less a... whoever does leveraged buyouts. Gordon Gecko? Why would someone want to buy us? We're small town small fry. (Potato ref) But that's the word of the day. leveraged. And something about a wiki. Maybe Wikipedia's buying us out? How would that work? Do they want to put servers in there?
Now each of them were merged to point to new clues.
00000001.jpg with thumbnail overlaid
00000010.jpg with thumbnail overlaid
00000011.jpg with thumbnail overlaid
Now, it became easier to see what was needed to be evaluated. The first image
was easy to evaluate. Ignore the code for now. Notice there is an L and the letters e, v, e, and l are circled? It gave us the world LEVELS. This wasn't the answer but a part of a bigger puzzle. The second image
had P, A, N, S, [space] circled around it along with a number puzzle on the top right. Notice that 14 and 15 were circled and Q and N had been written over 10 and 13 receptively. The solution to the puzzle was a simple key.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K
This meant that 14 and 15 were M and L receptively. So far we have L E V E L S P A N S [space] M L? What?
The third image
had a similar agenda, because now we had B A and O (record) circled. Notice that around these letter there are both curly brackets and square brackets. Assigning 1 to curly brackets, 0 to squared brackets, and the directions NESW to 2^0,1,2,3 respectively, allowed us to sort the letters from lowest to highest giving the pattern "MOVABLE PANELS". Here is a better way
of putting it. Cogs password had been found.
Cogs' ASL Login password was movable panels.
In the game Amnesia a note was found in the room with the book pulling puzzle in the archives. It was a bunch of code that spanned over 4 pages long. Page 1
, Page 2
, Page 3
and Page 4
. We didn't know what to do because at this point all the methods of decoding were useless.
Amidst this confusion a new character by the name of Harold E Larsson Pr (HELPr) showed up on the Frictional Games forums. He had escaped Razer's test facility and was helping out with the Amnesia puzzles.
The block of code was then deciphered using frequency analysis. There were certain patterns that were repeating throughout the text. A C D G and M were replaced for spaces and following were substituted according to the analysis.
was translated to
THEPOTIONCE RTAINLYISAC APRICIOUSTO OL*OWORKWIT HAN*ONEWHOCO NSUMESITWILL SUFFERFROMME MORYLOSSBUTT OWHATDEGREE ISDIF*CULT TOPSEDICTLA TELYIHAVEBE COMESKILLED ATMATCHINGT HEBOSYOFTHEP RISONERWITHT HEAMOUNNOFR OSEOILHOWEV :: ERTHEREAREST ILLPRISONER SWHOTAKESMEB YSURPRISEEMA NUELTHEPOUC HERROUSEDFRO MHISUNCONSCI OUSNESSRAMBL INGTHELIVER THECUB*MUSTY THELIVERCOM EWEIGHYOURB ELLSHISWORDS MEANTNOTHING TOMETHEPRIS ONERSRARELYT RIEDTOADDRE SSMEINENGLIS ::: HEVERYONEKNE WISP*KETHEI RLANGUAGE*U ITEWELLIGRA B*EDHIMANDHU SHEDHISMANIC RANTEMANUE*C ALME*OWNAN DLOOKEDATME WITHHISFRIG HTENEDEYESHES POKETHEMASH INMUSTRAVEL WEARLIGHTNO RTHAJKBEGUI NESASHISVOIC ERESONATEDWI THINMEITFEL :::: TIMPORTANTM AYBEEVENPRO PHETICIASKE DHIMWHATICO ULDDOTOHELP IFTHEREWASAN ANSWERTOTHIS RIDDLEHECRI EDANDSAIDCOM EWEIGHYOURB ELLS
which was then cleaned up to:
The potion certainly is a capricious tool to work with, and one who consumes it will suffer from memory loss, but to what degree is difficult to predict. Lately, I have become skilled at matching the body of the prisoner with the amount of rose oil. However, there are still prisoners who take me by surprise. Emanuel, the poucher, roused from his unconsciousness rambling, "Deliver the cube. Must deliver. Conveyor belts." His words meant nothing to me. The prisoners rarely tried to address me in English: everyone knew I spoke their language quite well. I grabbed him and hushed his manic rant. Emanuel calmed down and looked at me with his frightened eyes. He spoke: "The machine must travel. We are late. north ajkbeguines." As his voice resonated within me it felt important, maybe even prophetic. I asked him what I could do to help, if there was an answer to this riddle. He cried and said, "belts.”
Conveyor belts was given emphasis on and RUSH had now been exorcized off it's bad omen.
Cogs' ASL Login password was conveyor belts.
All the ASL passwords had now been cracked. If only we could open virtual champagnes and make a toast. Either that or we had to go down to our nearest bars to get stupendously drunk. But there was no time to celebrate yet because while trying to find the passwords for the ASLs we had also stumbled upon another puzzle and let me tell you, this one was big. (That's what she said)
We certainly had made another leap into this ARG. Solving the ASL passwords prompted every game to download a RAR file which was hidden at first but a simple change of the file extension gave it away. Unfortunately all thirteen of them had 13 different passwords as well. At this point banging our heads against the keyboard seemed like a favorable idea but we knew we would need our heads pretty soon and we knew a much greater reward awaited us, so another search was mounted immediately.
In the game AaAAaa
, the file grandmacookiecontribu.tor
was downloaded the password for which was teddy
because in the game Grandma says that Teddy's ashes are in her cookies, as such, he contributed. AudioSurf
file was opened with crowd
. A hidden level's name arecibo
gave the password for BIT.TRIP BEAT
file. In the credits for Cogs, tomas izo
was mentioned twice which opened up 2xincred.its
. In Defense Grid
's console the name of the recipe for dadsredeplydinner.txt
became the password for dadsdess.ert
. From the makers of 1..2..3..Kick It
, Deejoban Games' blog came the password for richestper.son
, sweetie baby
. Killing Floor
was a reference from the character bio of Security Officer Thorne whose nickname and the RAR's password was carnivore
archive had the password speed
because speed of the cubes was altered in one level (the one shaped like a gun) as well as the credits. drsfulln.ame
was a hint to keith fetus
, the full name of the Doctor in Super Meat Boy
. The birthyear, 1909 of the hero in The Ball
became the password for herobirthy.ear
. Toki Tori
's prequel, eggbert
became the password for tokioriginaln.ame
was the password for The Wonderful End of the World
because on level Sugar Candy, eight bears watching watching on a "stage". And because Amnesia
's omen puzzle took a million years to solve, it was the last one to be solved with keypotioningredi.ent having the password damascus rose
Each archive had images (concept art) and a one letter file. Amnesia and RUSH's puzzles were holding us back because the one letter file that was found in each game's zip archive was supposed to be stitched together to unzip one giant directory. We were obviously impatient and tried to work with whatever we had at the moment. So we hacked open the currently available one letter directories to find some more concept art. Amnesia and RUSH were eventually solved and the one letter archives eventually put together to spell out connect da dots
. We thought that maybe this was a clue to some upcoming puzzle and we were being treated with loads of nice concept art. But we were wrong. These concept arts were just place holders. There were 83 images in total. Images 1 through 39 were found in individual game directories mentioned in the previous paragraph. Images 40 through 83 were found when the connect da dots or the "collaboration" archives were merged and extracted.
Eventually the pretty pictures were opened in Photoshop and to our amazement one of the biggest puzzle had started to unravel. Certain concept arts, if taken into Photoshop and had their RGB channels turned off through the layers palette, revealed a black and white alpha channel which had been turned off. So for example this concept art
had this hidden in its alpha channel
. We went through all of them and surely there were more.
Meanwhile, a seemingly frustrated podcast (Steamcast
) host, Flamov (Sam) decided to let his fingers do some walking. He managed to discover the Bathysphere from Gabe Newell's SuperColliding SuperImage in real life. Don't believe me? Take a look here
. He had discovered it on Flickr
from this person's account who claimed he had driven past the place but never really published his finding. We marked the position on the map
of Seattle just in case.
To some people these images looked familiar. They were locations. This led to the wildest goose chase around downtown Seattle. We deemed it fit to go out and find these locations and mark their co-ordinates on a map because they all started to look like they were from Seattle. IRC user and ARG Player Joelpt and his girlfriend decided to take a walk. They soon started to find all the locations as we plotted the points on a google map. Eventually all the points were plotted and instinctively we thought we had to connect the dots. Co incidentally the collaborative archive from which these images were found spelled out c o n n e c t d a d o t s. So we did and it spelled out the word (to the best of our imaginations) PRELUDE. Here is the map
with all the coordinates.