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Some vague spoilers for areas in the Witness


Well, my kids got in trouble so they lost games, then I had to cook, then had to watch sports teams lose, you know how it goes.

I miss AAA games. Even if HZD isn’t great, I’m gonna love it just because. It’s been so long for us we’ll be like sailors in port.

Oh, I found a vegetarian bean/squash chili that doesn’t have cilantro that I’ll make next time you come over. Cuz that’s the kind of friend I am. You know how hard it is to find chilis without cilantro?

I repeat, how the hell did you live in New Mexico without eating cilantro?

Today on PFTL, we talk about food. Because we are punchy.


Well, since we’re discussing food, here’s the story: my mom also hates cilantro, so anything she cooked obviously didn’t have it. We didn’t eat out that often, and when we did we’d mostly eat at the restaurant where she worked (employee discount!), and that place didn’t really use it either that I recall, possibly because it was run by a white dude who may or may not have hated cilantro (I have no evidence on this matter) but who in any case apparently had no historic affiliation with it. Once in a while we’d eat somewhere else and encounter it and I’d think “for the love of all that is holy, what’s the matter with this food???!!!!!”

It would be the cilantro.

And there you have it. It’s not my fault, according to the NY Times!

Like the guy at the end of the article, I have encountered it many times since the first one, and I can tolerate it now in small amounts where before I really couldn’t eat it at all, but I still don’t enjoy it. Although the cilantro pesto is an intriguing thought.

Cilantro aside, I played a bit last night. Got stuck on one of the treetop panels, and, feeling the heavy weight of responsibility to show progress (already that excuse is so handy!), I went back to the greenhouse instead. But, you know, that taking a break and coming back later with a fresh start thing can be really helpful, because I had been hung up on that one where I was thinking “there are too many colors, this just doesn’t work!” and now I thought “aha, I just have to look at it through the colored panel.”

That was pretty cool, all those different greenhouse rooms with the different colored lights. Eerie and disorienting. It was interesting how the basic scene of a room full of plants appeared so different in different lights.

Then I took the elevator up a couple of floors to where the cable is broken and it won’t go any further, and then I said “hm,” and quit because it was time to go to bed.

But at least I did a couple of things.


I have touched a nerve. I still accept you as a New Mexican. Even if they don’t.

And yeah, I left the trees and came back several times.

That colored light was a neat mechanic. And it encourages you to look at things from all sorts of angles.


And it’s another case of the game being very good at making the very simple very interesting. That whole area is the exact same thing you’ve been doing since the beginning of the game: put like things with like things. But by adding this one little change, they made it feel COMPLETELY different, like it wasn’t like the early puzzles at all.

That’s damn neat. And something other games aren’t good at. Most games, it’s “Oh…another Kevin wave…I GUESS it’s different because that Kevin has a flamethrower…” The Witness, the subtle change is so major.

This game is large. If you look at your automatic upload to PS+, it tells you how many panels you’ve done. I’m up around 400 (plus…well…), and never once, not once, did I have an eye rolling feeling of “Oh, THIS again?” I can’t remember another game I could say that about. Even games I absolutely love have the occasional “THIS again?” moment. To have a total lack of that in a game with, essentially ONE mechanic is pretty damn amazing.


Looking from different angles. Hm. (I appreciate that, until now, neither of us went with the obvious “seeing things in a different light.” But then I had to bring it up, so half points to me.)

I’m also slightly intrigued by the way you phrased this type of puzzle as “put like things with like things.” It’s completely true, but it’s kind of the opposite of the way I’ve been thinking of it, which is “keep different things separated.”

It works out to mean exactly the same thing, obviously, but you’re emphasizing the unity of like things, and I’m emphasizing the separation of unlike things. So…I guess we’re both equally segregationist, but your ad campaign is better?

Damn it, there goes my chance at a White House job.


Hmm. This game DOES reveal much about one, as good games do.

And my fondness for games of old. Tetris blocks. Pac man dots. Etc.

You know, in trying to figure your route around the island, did you do the quarry? Or…something in a forest? Cuz you did the sun temple, and then you somehow got to the treehouses, and walked to the greenhouse…. you took a boat, didn’t you?

Don’t do that, mentioning politics. Nudity. Nudity is better than politics.

T SHIRT!!!!!


I went by the quarry, but I couldn’t get into it. I should go back and take a look at it now–I might have learned some things that would be useful.

And the forest…well, there were the pink trees? We talked about the pink trees. And there were the red trees. I wandered around among the red trees, but couldn’t make much of them. Should probably go back there too. And of course there are the orange trees. And there’s the bamboo-type stuff by the multicolored swamp.

So basically: forest, maybe? I might have been there? But in terms of doing anything, not really.


I can’t remember what you needed to know at the quarry. I know I did it late. The glassworks was first, that I remember, then the one in the trees…..

And well, there’s the trees by the windmill there, with the apples you missed. Then there’s a BIG forest by the keep, between the keep and the quarry if memory serves. One big enough for a…..yellow…..box…..


OK, OK, I’ll go back and look at the forest. And the apples were the pink trees, I did those. At least as many as I could see when I was there that time.

Yellow box, yellow box, yellow box.

I believe the quarry is Tetris blocks, a square and a two-square I think, but with that trefoil-looking thing added on the bottom. I know more about the Tetris blocks now, but the trefoil is still a mystery. So on second thought, maybe I shouldn’t bother going back anytime soon.


Yeah, that trefoil thing was a mystery for me for a long time. I forget where the hell I learned about that.

I also think there are blue tetris boxes there.


You didn’t clear the apple orchard? How did you get to the windmill? I know you’ve been to the windmill.


I just saw a blue Tetris box in the treetops! That’s why I left, man. I couldn’t figure out what it wanted. I’ll go back later.

There’s apple orchard besides the pink trees? I did all the pink tree puzzles I saw. Then I went to the windmill, which as you know is right by the pink trees. Which, yes, have apples on them if you want to get picky.

Speaking of apples and weird stuff, I noticed the plate with one apple, partly sliced, sitting on it. Looking completely fresh. Not even a little brown. Either someone was JUST there, or the apple is not a normal apple. Or this is not the real world.


Nope. The other forest has no apples. Totally different mechanic.

And see also the pristine couches and fluffy pillows. Nothing has messed those up.

We’re lost in time…..


We are lost in time, aren’t we? Nothing changes unless we do something. Which is really the case in any game, which does nothing without the input of the player, but often there’s the illusion that the world exists and will carry on without us. Here, there’s no such sense.

I kind of think if we weren’t here puttering around solving puzzles, puzzles would remain unsolved forever (or, well, until someone else came along to solve them). This world isn’t alive, really. It’s suspended, or crafted, or something.