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Some spoilery hints for puzzles in The Witness, plus shocking revelations about Butch’s childhood


I was going to play something yesterday, but I didn’t. Hit a terrible wall during kid dinner, felt like crap, went to bed early.

But that’s ok, because I’m ahead of you in what you’re playing, and because you played, we’ll have lots to talk about.

You played, right? Right?

We did ok yesterday. We’re on a roll. A roll, I tell you.

Man, I feel like crap. Punchy. Didn’t help that Mrs. McP had to get up at 445. Fucking job of hers.


Alas, I didn’t play anything either. Baby home early from daycare with a fever, cranky all evening, can’t stay asleep.

I’m home with him today, so maybe I’ll get something in if he naps for any amount of time.


Dude that’s what I have. Stop sending me germs over email. Middle kid had it first. Mrs. McP’s getting it. Fun.

At least it isn’t stomach.


Seriously. No vomit so far, just stuffy and coughing and grumpy.

The germs, they cannot be stopped. They’ve figured out how to travel through the phone lines now!

Speaking of the Rapture, which we were recently enough to make that awesome callback, I suppose that’s another reason it was set in 1984. Simpler to account for possible methods of transmission when you don’t have cell phones and the internet to worry about.


Damn them! Call in the airstrike.

There is that. Plus, one needed phone booths for the calls. Would have been odd if people just left iphones lying around. But still…..not entirely sure why they made that choice.

In other witness news, turns out Middle Child has the same knack for puzzle solving as Jr. And the memory.

I told them that I played some witness without them. (Note, WITHOUT THEM.) They asked what I did, and I told them that I figured out how to [redacted] in the [redacted]. Middle says, right away, “Oh, then you can solve the [redacted] on the [redacted] just by [gives the correct solution].”

Just like that.

And he’s right. And it hadn’t occurred to me at all. And he HADN’T PLAYED THE GAME IN DAYS, if not WEEKS.

The fuck is with my kids?


Damn. Sign those kids up for cryptography courses now!

I am playing some. In the desert with the spiderweb patterned screens and the yellow cords. We’ll see how long the baby slumbers. He has so far not shown any ability to assist me with anything in games, [redacted] or otherwise.


The sun temple thingy? Good. There’s some good bloggage there.

Figured out what to do yet?


You mean getting the angle right so you can see the lines that are already drawn in the dust (if that’s what’s going on)?

(Though, really, who would have come before us to draw these lines, and if they drew them, how did THEY know how the line went? I suppose it’s not really a line in the dust, more an intentional screen smear.)


That’s it. Though I read it as scratches, like someone WANTED it to last…why they didn’t think to do that on some of the harder puzzles…..

Though….well…. we’ll talk about the “durability” of the solutions in a bit, when you’ve seen some of the other areas and what gets featured in each.

That ALSO took me forever to figure out. The angles, I mean.

And “who did this” is an interesting question. It certainly suggests that someone solved these puzzles before. And the fact that THAT is in a building that seems to have some religious connotation, and an ANCIENT religious connotation (if you read it as some sort of sun god, sun temple, whatever, it seems rather pagan, especially compared to some of the more Christian looking places we’ve seen), is interesting. Someone, in an ancient temple, figured things out, and wanted to leave the message about HOW to figure things out for others.

That said….how far along are you in this area?


Hm, yeah…could be scratches. Smudges. Even something like painting over the screen with varnish or something. And indeed, nice of someone to do that, here. Why here while other areas have no such helpful tip? Maybe other visitors were only interested in specific areas? “I got my BBC video, now I’m out”?

I’m in the second level underground, where you have to look at the reflections in the water and the water level goes up and down. Gotta keep things interesting.

Then the baby woke up.


Ok, you found the underground. Good.

Cuz here’s the thing: We have this contrast in this area between the ruined, old looking (let’s assume old) temple above, and a very modern, technical thing under. The underpart there, with the water, is modern. Metal catwalks, pumps, whatever. And the trick is REFLECTIONS. Reversals of what’s above. And yet here, too, are the remnants of “solutions” someone “already figured out,” in this technical place.

Told you this game was chock full of good bloggage. You enjoying it?


Good analysis, although I do wonder, is the temple old, or just ruined? The discs showing the phases of the moon are in pretty good shape. I wonder if it might not have been modern, for this place, or as modern as anything else, and then it just got smashed up by…whatever.

Yeah, I’m enjoying it…not to Rapture levels of obsession, but it’s interesting.


When I was at the point you were at, I was enjoying it, cool puzzles, weird themes….

And then there’s a point where you go holy shit. Takes a while, but trust me.

And oh man. Just played a bunch. Got close to what I THINK is the endgame, but with this game, who knows?


I read it as old. I dunno. I thought it was more weathered than destroyed. Like, some of the outlying structures are half covered in sand, which happens over time.

But as you say the discs that form the phases of the moon are in good shape.

To which I shall say….hm.


True. There is the sand. Lots of sand.

I got annoyed with the reflections under the temple (“I have looked from every damn angle and I’m sick of it!” –Magpie) and went back to the hedge maze. Turns out…um…it’s a hedge maze…

Got through the first door and into the weird, dead hedge maze and had to quit, but I’ll go wander around there some more sometime. Nothing much to report.


Dammit stop doing that! Repeat after me.

Big. Fucking. Yellow. Box.

Oh and yup. That is a hedge maze. Yup. It is.

Which like so many mazes has a path through it.

Also….maybe I mentioned this. This game would be so good with headphones. Sometimes the sound….so good…so worth listening to….


Indeed. A path. Through a maze. Who would have imagined?

Dude, the reflections were irritating me. They were insufficiently forthcoming.

Also it was like, why are there three different screens here that I could work on? Am I supposed to do one first in order to shed light (literally or figuratively) on the others? Which one? Or does it not even matter? You know what, hell with this.

I’ll go back later when possibly my subconscious has had a chance to mull it over and I can see it afresh and think “ah!”

Or at least have a less depleted store of patience on which to draw. I have limited game time, you know? I don’t want to spend all of it staring at the same depicted screen (although, obviously, I will spend it all staring at the same actual screen, which is possibly amusing).

I suppose the yellow box comes after the reflections? Because I didn’t see one anywhere beforehand.


Yup. Nature of mazes, really. One correct path from where you start to where you end. Sort of like the panels, when you think about it.

HA! In light of themes, kinda funny that you’re all “TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!”

I did find the “let subconscious mull” trick worked a lot in this game. Like, a lot. I don’t know why. Maybe that’s a theme in and of itself.

There is that. But then, the payoff, when you DO get it, it’s pretty amazing. One thing a lot of games lack is a sense of triumph. Usually, when we’re doing icky boss fights, when we, or at least I, finish, it’s more relief. “Phew. Now I can watch the cutscene. Glad that’s over.” This game, when I finally got through a particularly icky bit, I really did feel pumped. There should be more of that in games, period.

There is always a yellow box.


Is there? Is there always a yellow box? Or, like the cake, is the yellow box a lie?

I am skeptical. I have only your word to go on–that, and something yellow I can glimpse at the bottom of that big hole in the sand outside the temple, but that could be ANY yellow thing.

You could be making things up because you want to encourage me to play this game. For some reason.

Maybe you’re just PART OF IT, dude.

The game is in the world now! Using players to infect other players!

That’s it, I’m calling in the airstrike.


Did you catch some sort of brain flu from Grigio?

There are boxes. They are important.

And I won’t have to encourage you, because it is in your head. You know it is. And, I can assure you, as I am maybe two puzzles from the end, the payoff is SO worth it.


It is possibly the brain flu talking.

Payoff, eh? I hope it’s a BBC video about cake.

Did I see a box already, and I’m just not thinking of it as a box for some reason? Because it’s not really ringing a bell.

No matter.

I was also wondering about my own impression that the cables run through the gaps in broken buildings, and hence were set up after the destruction. I don’t know if I was right. I was looking at them last night and they seem to mostly go through pre-existing windows (though this does imply the absence of glass at the time) or into small holes drilled in the wall for that purpose.

My bad, maybe. The screens and cords may have pre-dated the destruction.

Do you have a non-spoilery take on that?


Better. The payoff is your favorite thing! Erudition! LOTS!

There is always a box.

I do not have a take on the timing, but I have an idea or two that would be spoilery.

But the non spoilery thing I have on this was, the other night, I noticed that a couple of things had been….I dunno, cleaned up? I found something that had obviously broken off of a building and had been moved. It was not where it just would have fallen to had it just fallen. It was rather neatly put in the corner of a building.

So who did THAT? Someone.

Maybe the panels themselves were built over time?

Oh, and, in case you missed it when it came out:

Another Mass Effect: Andromeda trailer dropped today, and in it, we’re introduced to more teammates

Also, hello, kissing scene! The game will be released on March 21st.

I dunno, you think it’s something we should play?


Well…I guess…maybe…since there’s a kissing scene.

I don’t believe it has yellow boxes, though.


There is always a yellow box.

You know, every game I play forever I’m GOING to find a yellow box and point it out to you. Every game.

There’s more than one in The Witness.



New tag: Yellow Box.

800 followers, instantly. Everyone wants to know about the yellow box.


Everyone, that is, but you.




Don’t care.



You will.

Trust me. You’re gonna love this game.


I probably will. I have time.


That said, after yesterday, looking forward to some silly Tentacle action.


You’ll love it. The old-school point and click interface is not at all slow and annoying, and I’m sure there’s a yellow box in there somewhere.


I started it! Hoagie alone is worth it. Telling Betsy Ross that the flag needs a babe in a leather bikini with a battle axe? Comic gold.

See, back in ye olden times, that’s how we played games. I’m used to it. Like riding a bike. Which I never learned how to do.

You realize I’m going to screen shot and message you every yellow box until the end of time.

I want a trophy: Found yellow box.


When our blog gets famous enough, they’ll put that trophy in there, just for you. Thousands of players will be confused and angry, but we’ll know we’ve arrived.

You can’t ride a bike? But…how did you manage your paper route back in your idyllic 1950s boyhood?


I can’t ride a bike. My shame. Had to panhandle for arcade quarters.


“Alms! Game alms!”

That was the beginning of your downfall.


Downfall? I prefer to see it as my ascent to lofty, erudite blogging heights.