Getting stuck? Here are some of the more common problems, with pointers toward solutions. I’ve also thrown in a few questions about things that don’t quite count as problems. No, I’m not going to tell you exactly what to do. They’re games, after all.
If you’re looking for the original, 1999 version of this text—including information specific to the WorldBuilder and Classic versions—try the downloadable FAQ. I’ve changed it from a .sit to a .zip archive, but otherwise it’s the same file; it will probably open in TextEdit or similar.
- Why do all the games have two names?
This is a legacy of the late ’90’s when each game existed in two parallel forms. To keep them distinct, I gave the color versions a different name; this name was also used for OS X versions in those games that have one. For the online version, I simply picked the name I liked better.
- The game keeps telling me to use a different verb, and I’ve tried a thesaurus and everything. What does it want?
Put away that thesaurus. You’re probably getting too elaborate already. When in doubt, keep it simple. The Help window (cmd-H in the free-standing forms) lists some basic verbs: GET, DROP, MOVE, USE, READ . . .
- I think I’ve beaten the game but it won’t let me go to the happy ending. Why not?
Because you’re not registered. Think of it as paying for the flight home. In the online versions, unregistered players—which, for the time being, means all of you—are still allowed to reach the Happy Ending. You’ll just need to be a little more thorough about completing the games’ various tasks.
- How do I register?
Send me money.
No, you probably meant “How do I enter the registration code?”
The Edit menu of the freestanding games (Tower and Palace) includes a Register . . . command. Open the registration window and enter your full name along with the reg code (everything is case-sensitive). If it beeps, you’ve misspelled something. For reasons too complicated to explain, you can’t simply paste in the code from the original e-mail; you have to type it manually.
- I tried to open a saved game and got an error message. What’s wrong?
- Saved games from testers’ beta versions may not be playable in the release version; just trash them and start over. In general, saved games from earlier releases can be opened in later releases. Trying to do the opposite—taking a saved game from a later release and opening it in an earlier version—may not yield an error message, but it’s likely to cause gameplay problems.
- If you’ve reached the Happy Ending scene without registering, you may not be able to open games saved in that scene.
- I clicked on part of the picture and got a message that said “e-mail Lucy24.” What does that mean?
It means I goofed. Tell me exactly where you were, what your prefs settings are (mouse navigation on/off, double clicking on/off), what you clicked on and what else the message said; I’ll hunt down the error and fix it for the next release.
- How do I know if I’ve found all the treasures?
Register each full-size game and I’ll send you a list of the more valuable items.
- I can’t stand all those lectures from the Guide! Isn’t there some way to make him/her/it shut up?
Maybe, maybe . . .
- I keep track of all the rooms I visit, and there are more of them than the Status report said. Can’t you count?
The number given in the Status report excludes two things: Happy Ending or equivalent, and Collapse or equivalent. The tally does include the rooms at the beginning of the game, even if you can’t go back to them.
- How do I get in?
Nobody’s around. Some petty vandalism might do the trick.
- How do I get out of the wardrobe?
Ask the hanger. It will give you a hint. If you don’t understand the hint, ask your mother.
- How do I get out of the house?
Click on the poster in the box room and answer its question. (No penalty for incorrect answers. Just keep guessing until you get it right.) Some versions of the ReadMe don’t list all my games. If you don’t know their names, keep reading this FAQ. The games are all listed here.
- Why is it asking if I’m sure I want to leave?
Because you’ve overlooked one treasure. One’s impossible to miss; the other two involve the large book and the broom.
- What’s with the unicorn?
The unicorn’s original purpose, in the WorldBuilder (black & white) version of the game, was to find out whether your Mac can play WB-format sounds. It wasn’t needed in the color games, but I repurposed it to ask about player sex. This information isn’t actually used in Pavilion (two tiny exceptions! can you find them?) but some of the bigger games do care, so you may as well get in the habit.
- How do I get in?
Pick the likeliest door and check your inventory, paying close attention to the text you get. Use the Inventory command, not the itemized menus. You’ll need to prop the door open, but the game isn’t particular about verbs.
- How do I get out?
If you haven’t gotten the portcullis open, Jake will have a useful suggestion at the end.
- How do I unstick the trap door in the kitchen and the door in the picture gallery? How do I unblock the stairs going up from “Great Hall”?
Do some more exploring. If you’re not registered, these three places may be blocked until you’ve been to all possible un-blocked scenes.
- Where’s the key to that locked door in the Great Hall?
Move everything that can be moved. Click on everything you see.
- How do I light a fire in the fireplace?
You can’t. If certain things have gone wrong, a fire will be lit for you—and will go out once the situation has been rectified. So the absence of a fire is a good sign.
- What does that message behind the brick in the fireplace mean?
It’s a clue to a treasure. Once you’ve explored the whole house, you’ll know what to do.
- What does the Nagina want?
If you choose to bribe her, she’ll accept a certain treasure that can only be obtained with divine assistance.
- How do I get that mirrored chest to stay still?
You’ll need help. After you’ve solved all the other problems in the game, you’ll find yourself with one, uh, tool left over.
- How do I wake Jake?
Oh, no. I’m not going to tell you that—except to say that once you know the answer, it will be so obvious you’ll kick yourself. And remember what I said about not getting too elaborate.
- I told the guard my name’s Mary. Why can’t he figure out that I’m female? And what business is it of his, anyway?
He’s only a computer program. Don’t expect too much of him. For obvious cultural reasons, your gender is more important in this game than in any of the others. As the guard says, there are male and female areas of the Palace and you won’t be allowed to wander in just anywhere—though there’s always a way to sneak in.
- I keep rubbing the lamp and nothing happens. What am I doing wrong?
You may or may not have made a fatal mistake. If you’re not up on Arabian-nights clichés, find someone who is. It is possible to finish the game without the lamp—but it’s risky.
- What’s the password to the Treasury?
Abdul, the audience-hall clerk, will tell you the password—but only if you’re registered. There is nothing in the Treasury except treasure, so stop obsessing about the password and get on with the game.
- I made my delivery, went back to the marketplace, and now I need to get back into the Palace and the guy at the door won’t let me in. Am I stuck?
No. Check your inventory; there’s something you brought with you that you may not have tried to use yet. Or you could try sneaking in a back way.
- Where’s Jake?
In the marketplace where he said he’d be. Honest. I made the game; I know where he is.
- Where do I get that flying carpet I keep dreaming about?
You have to ask for it—and you’ll have to figure out whom to ask. (None of the carpets you see in the Palace can be carried away.)
- How do I restore Jake?
You’ll need to search all four ground-floor reception rooms (the ones where a staff member talks to you), two in the Sultan’s wing and two in the Begum’s wing. And, since you can’t brazenly start searching under a staff member’s very nose, you’ll have to find a way to make yourself unobtrusive.
- How do I get past those guards that won’t let me return to the marketplace?
You have a choice of supernatural means. One’s safer than the other.
- What do I do about the camel?
You’ve made a tiny mistake, and it’s easy to fix. If you can’t figure it out on your own, go back and have another chat with Abdul outside the audience hall, or Zainab if you happen to meet her. Abdul’s especially good at deciphering inscriptions.
- I think I’ve been everywhere, but the Status report says there are a few rooms I’ve missed.
The likeliest oversights are: the tavern adjoining the marketplace, the garden of the women’s wing, the domed roof of the audience hall, all four little towers, and a handful of midair scenes that should be approached with caution.
- What’s that password Jake’s landlord asked about?
It’s the Treasury password from Sultan’s Palace. If you don’t know it, don’t worry about it; it won’t affect gameplay, and has nothing to do with registration.
- How do I keep from getting thrown into the dungeon? How do I get out?
There’s no way to avoid the dungeon at the beginning of the game. To get out, think of all possible directions: UP (through the ceiling hatch), DOWN (through the floor) . . . or SIDEWAYS (climb out the window). One of these is a red herring; another doesn’t work at all. If you’re unlucky enough to get imprisoned again later in the game, you can get out the same way.
- I keep dying in the canal! What am I doing wrong?
Swimming, probably. You can beat the game and get almost all the treasures without ever getting your feet wet.
- Will I ever get my pistol back?
Yes, if you find a way to search the place it’s been put for safekeeping. If you never find it, don’t worry about it; there’s no reason to use any weapon in the game—although you’re certainly free to pick fights if it makes you happy.
- What are the gods for?
Thor can zap any enemy (and a handful of non-hostile characters you especially dislike). Durga/Kali is good on rats. Mercury/Hermes is good for just one thing, and it’s pretty obvious; but it’s up to you to figure out how to keep having to call him over and over. Gorgo can be summoned at several points in the game, but only in scenes where he’s actually useful. Luck is—well, that’s for you to figure out.
- What do the cats want?
The alley cat simply wants to be left alone. The fat cat didn’t get that way by being a fussy eater.
- How can I get to all those upstairs rooms?
Two areas can be reached by making friends with the person working downstairs: talk to them, find out what they want, see if you can get it for them. A third area isn’t closely watched; just go on up. If the person downstairs doesn’t seem interested in making friends, look for another way around.
- How do I get rid of that old granny so I can ransack her room?
Talk to her and pay close attention. One significant word in her language is the same as in English.
- What’s the password for the merchant in the pinstriped suit?
It’s written on a scrap of paper concealed elsewhere in the game. Remember to search everything very thoroughly, including all the furniture! If you know the password for boarding the ship, you may substitute that (whether or not you’re registered).
- Where’s Jake?
He’s on his honeymoon, so for the duration of this game he is Zainab’s problem, not yours.
- How do I get the shoebox untied?
It’s largely a matter of luck. If you can’t get it to work, just hold on to it.
- What’s the code number for the remote control?
You’ll find it on a scrap of paper in a different part of the district.
- I keep dreaming about a huge gerbil. What’s that about?
Look closely at the picture. Does anything look familiar? What do you suppose your subconscious, dreaming mind is trying to tell you?
- Where’s the sceptre?
If you’ve gotten this far, it’s probably in your inventory already; you just don’t recognize it. Try talking with the old man in the purple coat; he’ll drop a pretty broad hint.
- Everybody wants the sceptre! How do I know whom to sell it to?
Ah, well, that’s part of the challenge. There’s more than one safe choice. Start by talking to everyone and paying close attention to the information they give you. Believe everything; trust nobody. It’s only a game, after all; you can always revert.
- How do I get home at the end? The official says I have to register, but there’s no way to do that. It doesn’t seem fair.
With any luck, you will find another way onto the ship.
- I’m registered, but the official still won’t let me board the ship.
The first time you beat the game after registering, you’ll need to give the password. After that, the official will know you and let you board.
- I think I’ve been everywhere, but the Status report says there are a few rooms I’ve missed.
The likeliest oversights are the various rooftops adjoining the top-floor rooms, reachable by jumping and/or climbing out windows. Some of them can be useful to visit. There’s also one part of the canal waters that you’ll have to figure out how to get to—and there’s a treasure for you when you find it.
- I keep running out of food! Where can I get more?
There’s tea (with some nutritive value), beer (with some nutritive value), energy pills, a kitchen garden—and a squatter who leaves cracker boxes scattered all over the house. You do also start the game with more food and water than in the other games. Even I was running out!
- How many times can I drink from the bottle or eat the cake?
There’s no limit. You’re taking very, very small sips (or bites).
- What does the gremlin want?
Something that’s of no further value to you. Read the weighty tome for more guidance.
- What does the plant want?
Something tasty to eat.
- What’s with that Thing in the cellar, and how many of them are there?
There are two, but the smaller one advances or retreats depending on light level, so there are more than two graphics. When you meet the Larger Thing, you’ll know. If you figure out how to get rid of them, there’s a treasure of sorts.
- How do I unlock all those doors?
There’s a key somewhere in the building. It’s almost in plain view.
- It’s pouring rain! How do I get back downstairs?
You’ve still got full access to the third, fourth and attic floors. First you need to figure out who or what is making it rain—and then figure out how to propitiate him/her/it.
- What does the squatter want?
An answer to his question. He’ll even come out and pester you when you’re about to leave, so you may as well figure out the answer. It isn’t hard—and if you look, you’re rewarded with a pretty nifty dissolve.
- What does the squatter’s twin want?
Talk to the first squatter. He’ll tell you—fairly plainly.
- How do I get to the attic?
If you’re registered, you can stand on the chair. Otherwise you’ll have to stretch until you reach the hatch.
- How do I get all that stuff to load it on the truck?
You don’t need to. It will happen offstage.
- How do I get home at the end?
If you’re registered, just go back the way you came after you’ve restored Jake. If you’re not, you may have to complete one additional task.
- Now that I’ve beaten all your games, when’s the next one coming out?
Not for a while. The main reason my color games all came out so fast is that I was simply updating games I’d already released in a different format. Once the game “shell” was in place, I didn’t have to make up new plots or write more dialogue; and colorizing the grahics was pretty easy.
I’d love to be able to spend all my time making computer games. And if everyone who downloaded my games paid for them, I’d be able to do just that. But in real life only about 1% of game players pay the shareware fee, so I need to maintain a day job too.
- I’ve read this whole FAQ and I’ve still got questions. Now what?
It depends. I’ll always answer nuts-and-bolts questions: download problems, bug reports, information about current releases, where to get my games, and so on. But if you want detailed instructions on how to beat the game, you’re on your own until you’ve registered.
- All right, all right, I’ll pay. Where do I send the check?
Use this site’s contact form and I’ll get back to you.
If you’re truly broke, you can probably talk me into sending you a reg code alone (no paperwork).