Try to play the game without these hints; our beta testers consistently beat the game, although it is a large game.

SOME OF THESE QUESTIONS ARE SPOILERS! Don't read ahead unless you really want to finish the game without solving all the puzzles.

How to use this hint page?

The document is divided into sections, each of which gives questions and solutions appropriate to that portion of the game. Each question is followed by one or more hints, "hidden" within a colored box. When you are certain you wish to see a hint, "select" the colored area with the mouse by dragging over it. Here's a sample:

You call this a sample question?

Hint 1: Yup.
Hint 2: With two answers, even!

You should be able to see the "invisible" text under questions by selecting the area with a mouse. If not, the hints are probably already visible. In an emergency, "view source".

Don't assume the questions are all meaningful. Some of them are red herrings, to keep the questions themselves from revealing too much.

Report bugs to

General hints:

Examine everything!

To avoid carpal tunnel, make sure your hands and arms are at a comfortable angle.

Talk to Eva.

Make sure you're familiar with the tools of your trade.

Try to figure out what's going on.

What sex am I?

Hint 1: Look down.
Hint 2: It doesn't matter.

My score just went down.

Hint 1: Sure did.
Hint 2: But look where it started!
Hint 3: Someone already won that game.
Hint 4: What does that leave for you to do?

How do I raise my score?

Hint 1: Undo the action that lowered your score.
Hint 2: Are you sure you want to raise your score?
Hint 3: Solving puzzles in the qualifying adventure raises your score.

What does 'xyzzy' mean?

Hint 1: eXamine Your Zipper, Zither Yanker!
Hint 2: You only need one magic word to win the game.
Hint 3: See the hints for "I'm stuck in a chair."

How do I verb the noun?

Hint 1: You don't need to verb the noun to win this game.
Hint 2: Verbing weirds language. - Calvin

What's a mimesis disruptor?

Hint 1: Ask the mop.
Hint 2: "Mimesis" has the same roots as "mime".
Hint 3: According to one dictionary, "1. The imitation or representation of aspects of the sensible world, especially human actions, in literature and art."
Hint 4: Mimesis is what makes suspension of disbelief possible.
Hint 5: Mimesis is the difference between a prop and a real object.

Break Room, Access Corridors, Receptionist's Area:

What's the cannister of orange smoke for?

Hint 1: If you die, it can be used to resurrect you.
Hint 2: But it's empty.
Hint 3: So you'd better be careful.
Hint 4: Nothing. Ignore the cannister of orange smoke.
Hint 5: It's a reference to Colossal Cave Adventure.

How do I leave the access corridors?

Hint 1: Through the access doors.
Hint 2: The access doors only work under certain conditions.
Hint 3: It would be very disruptive to the qualifying adventure if a door just popped into existence.
Hint 4: You are about to do something which would be very disruptive of the game, if it were still running.
Hint 5: Examine the mop.

What do I do now?

Hint 1: Do your job.
Hint 2: You could always ask the mop.

Is Flavorplex a real company?

Hint 1: Are you a real janitor?

Eva won't let me see the boss.

Hint 1: She needs a reason to let you into the office.
Hint 2: One reason might be if there were something wrong in the qualifying adventure.
Hint 3: This is about to get into major spoiler territory! Consider trying to figure this out on your own.
Hint 4: There's something odd about the treasures.
Hint 5: Oddly enough, there's something strange about them.
Hint 6: They're fake!

Eva is hauntingly familiar.

Hint 1: You played Grim Fandango.

Why can't I replace the flickering lights?

Hint 1: The replacement bulbs are all incandescent.
Hint 2: You can't; it's atmosphere.
Hint 3: Do you find yourself wondering who does fix these lights when they burn out?

This mop doesn't talk!

Hint 1: Not in front of Eva, anyway.
Hint 2: Maybe it's just shy.

What's this about the yarn?

Hint 1: It's attached to the mop.
Hint 2: Have you ever seen a real mop?
Hint 3: It's the part of a mop that actually does the cleaning.

There's a hole in the bucket!

Hint 1: No there isn't. Well, just the usual one at the top.
Hint 2: You don't really need to have water in the bucket.
Hint 3: It's just a convenient way to carry things.

The House

I'm locked in the vault!

Hint 1: No, you aren't.
Hint 2: Have you examined the door?

What code?

Hint 1: It's easy to guess.
Hint 2: It's a word that seems to be important to the owner of the house.
Hint 3: There are lots of substitutes for it in the fridge.
Hint 4: You're not really trying, are you.
Hint 5: It's even written helpfully on the inside of the door; look at the display.
Hint 6: The code is "butter".

What's with all this butter?

Hint 1: There's very little actual butter here.
Hint 2: Which isn't to say the substitutes aren't important.
Hint 3: You can smell them and taste them.
Hint 4: Some might have other uses as well.

I'm stuck in a chair!

Hint 1: No, you aren't.

The beanstalk got stopped by the roof!

Hint 1: Oops, you'll have to restart.
Hint 2: You only get one chance to use the magic bean.
Hint 3: Not even that many.
Hint 4: There is no magic bean.
Hint 5: There is no spoon.
Hint 6: There is no Matrix joke.

Is the sun dying?

Hint 1: Well, yes.
Hint 2: But not for a few billion years.
Hint 3: Do you think that's really sunlight?

I can't figure out the mirror.

Hint 1: Study it.
Hint 2: What else is smoky?

Whose footprints are these?

Hint 1: Well, they're probably not yours, since you just got here.

I cleaned the footprints, but they came back.

Hint 1: OK, now those are your footprints.

The Basement

A corpse!

Hint 1: A corpse, a corpse, my kingdom for a corpse.
Hint 2: What was he doing when he died?
Hint 3: How do you think he died?
Hint 4: Do you think your predecessor was careless?
Hint 5: Have you searched the body?
Hint 6: He was not a thief.

Could this happen to me?

Hint 1: Anything is possible, if you just believe.
Hint 2: Yes.
Hint 3: The large snake can kill you.
Hint 4: But only if you're holding it.
Hint 5: There's a way to hold the large snake.

I just found a diamond.

Hint 1: So you did.
Hint 2: How do you think it got there?
Hint 3: Have you looked in the vault, too?
Hint 4: Isn't that weird?

Why are there grooves in the floor?

Hint 1: They're just there as a hint.
Hint 2: You can move the ladder back and forth along the grooves.

What's with the snake?

Hint 1: Colossal Cave.
Hint 2: It's a guardian.
Hint 3: It can be scared off.
Hint 4: It can also be picked up, under some circumstances.

How do I cross the bridge?

Hint 1: Just go east or west.
Hint 2: But that won't work if the mechanism is on.

How do I get to the bridge mechanism?

Hint 1: Good thing you have access doors.
Hint 2: You can jump to get down to it.
Hint 3: An adventurer might have to use a hot-air balloon.

How do I get the bird?

Hint 1: Cut someone off on the freeway.
Hint 2: Well, which bird did you mean?
Hint 3: The mechanical bird won't run away, but the songbird will.
Hint 4: It actually likes to be in its cage.

How do I get the house cat to fetch the resonator?

Hint 1: House cats are notoriously difficult to train.
Hint 2: Also, there's no resonator.
Hint 3: What game are you playing?

Practical ballooning...

Hint 1: The balloon consists of two parts.
Hint 2: It's a wicker basket, and an old tarp.
Hint 3: Actually three parts; it needs fuel.

Where do I put the basket?

Hint 1: What's it made of?

Where do I put this tarp?

Hint 1: It's used to cover things.
Hint 2: Things that are described as being uncovered?

I ran into a brick wall!

Hint 1: Not yet you didn't.
Hint 2: You'll have to repair it, then.
Hint 3: You need mortar.
Hint 4: Mortar is a thick, gray, gritty substance.
Hint 5: Mortar is too thick to be butter.

The Other House

How do I get there?

Hint 1: You can always use the access corridors.
Hint 2: Someone without access could also go through the mirror.
Hint 3: See "I can't figure out the mirror".

The mechanical bird ran away!

Hint 1: You can't take the bird through the mirror.
Hint 2: You will have to put the bird on the other side before you go there.
Hint 3: Maybe there's some shared area between the two sides.
Hint 4: This is a low-budget adventure.
Hint 5: There is only one fridge in the game; it's shared between the two houses.
Hint 6: Note that the staff get a separate fridge.
Hint 7: Still, if you put an object in the fridge in the kitchen, it'll be in the fridge in the other kitchen, too.
Hint 8: ... an object such as the mechanical bird.

Is the access code different here?

Hint 1: Yes.
Hint 2: It's a word that seems to be important to the owner of the house.
Hint 3: But strangely backwards.
Hint 4: The code is "substitute".

Treasures and Objects

She won't kiss me!

Hint 1: She's neither a treasure nor an object.

Where does the cask go?

Hint 1: Edgar Allen Poe wrote a famous story called "The Cask of Amontillado"; perhaps you've read it?
Hint 2: In that story, something is hidden behind a brick wall.
Hint 3: There is a room called the "Poe Room".

Where does the diamond go?

Hint 1: It may have come from a natural rock formation...
Hint 2: ...such as the grotto.

Where does the orb go?

Hint 1: Perhaps on a pedestal somewhere.
Hint 2: ... by a descriptive plaque.
Hint 3: ... like the one in the mirror vault.

Where did the orb go?

Hint 1: It turned into something else.
Hint 2: Where did you last see it?
Hint 3: What round glass object is near there?

Little arms?

Hint 1: Yup.
Hint 2: Mystery Science Theater 3000 reference.
Hint 3: They're not important.

Where does the mechanical bird go?

Hint 1: The same place the songbird goes?
Hint 2: Only perhaps it's a bit different.

Where does the coin go?

Hint 1: Think of a likely place to find spare change.
Hint 2: In a couch.

How do I get a gumball?

Hint 1: You have to pay for it.
Hint 2: You have to have correct change.
Hint 3: You can't get a gumball in this game.

Where does the knife go?

Hint 1: It spent a lot of time somewhere before being moved to the vault.
Hint 2: Enough time to leave a lasting impression.
Hint 3: On a table.
Hint 4: In the attic.

But I never wanted to be a killer.

Hint 1: Who does?

The Office

That's unusual. Odd, even!

Hint 1: Have you noticed that the game keeps using the phrase "oddly enough"?
Hint 2: Have you noticed any pattern in the occurrences of the phrase?
Hint 3: Did any objects change in any way?
Hint 4: Have you examined all of the treasures carefully?
Hint 5: Have you examined a treasure again after getting an "oddly enough" message?

My score is zero, but I'm still playing.

Hint 1: You could always go home for the day.
Hint 2: Or, if you wanted to try your hand at the qualifying adventure, you could reset the game. That would seem awfully easy at this point, though.
Hint 3: Didn't it bother you that there were two diamonds?
Hint 5: Maybe it's a mystery story!

Everything I've ever believed is wrong. What should I do?

Hint 1: You shouldn't go through this alone.
Hint 2: Perhaps you should share your concerns with Eva.
Hint 3: She is not just going to ignore intrigue in the workplace.

Okay, I'm here. Now what?

Hint 1: If "here" isn't the office, you're not "here".
Hint 2: Given the circumstances, I think you'd be justified in ransacking the office. You need proof of foul play.
Hint 3: Of course, you can't just say "ransack office". You'll have to do it one step at a time.

I don't think puppies are cute.

Hint 1: Yes you do, but these are too cute.
Hint 2: Perhaps someone with a higher kitsch tolerance than you could help you move the painting.

What kind of toy is that?

Hint 1: They're just the sort of executive desk toys a Flavorplex executive would have.
Hint 2: You can swing the metal balls.
Hint 3: You can solve the puzzle.
Hint 4: Or just search it.

How do I open the big drawer?

Hint 1: Find a key.
Hint 2: Look around the office.

How do I open the file drawer?

Hint 1: It's locked, but there's no key.
Hint 2: It must use some other locking mechanism.
Hint 3: Maybe it can only be opened when something else is done.
Hint 4: Take a look at the little drawer. Do you see anything that might fit in there?
Hint 5: Why would that matter?

How do I use the gun?

Hint 2: It helps if the target is subject to mimesis effects.
Hint 3: It works best on props.
Hint 4: A particularly realistic-looking poster might make a nice target.
Hint 5: What would happen if someone shot the garter snake?

How do I leave the room?

Hint 1: Did you ever watch Scooby Doo?
Hint 2: There's always a secret door.
Hint 3: Often, it's hidden in a bookcase.
Hint 4: Have you examined the books?
Hint 5: Can you find a book useful for making a revolving bookcase?

Who is this detective joker?

Hint 1: Another player. Not everything's about you.
Hint 2: You can't interact with him. Just sit back and enjoy the exposition.

Other stuff

This is too hard!

Hint 1: Perhaps you'd prefer it if you could just type WIN, and be done with it?

I can't find a way to die in this game.

Hint 1: Someone else managed to do it.
Hint 2: Ask the previous janitor about this.
Hint 3: You can't! He's dead.
Hint 4: How did he die?
Hint 5: Why do you want to die, anyway?
Hint 6: If the game's that bad, just stop playing. sniffle.

Have you tried...

Hint 1: ...Listening to all of the butter substitutes?
Hint 2: ...Sniffing the dead light bulb?
Hint 3: ...Sniffing the chair?
Hint 4: ...Looking at every month on the calendar?
Hint 5: ...Trying to proceed without your mop?
Hint 6: ...Taking the torch to the parlor, with the light still out?
Hint 7: ...Asking Eva about the company?
Hint 8: ...To figure out what light you see by when the disruptor is engaged?
Hint 9: ...Taking everything that's not nailed down?
Hint 10: ...Entering 'RESET' as your first move?
Hint 11: ...Finding ways to make the game tell you you're stuck?