A Puzzle Piece Forever Voyaging: Let's Play JIGSAW

[ After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities.

– T. S. Eliot, Gerontion (1920)]

Welcome to JIGSAW

[Please press SPACE to begin.]

Interactive fiction/text adventure is a genre which was, for a decade between the 1976 release of Colossal Cave Adventure/ADVENT and the 1986 acquisition of Infocom by Activision, dominant. Then it sort of fell off a cliff into niche territory, slightly above train simulators in cachet, dominated by hobbyists that hacked apart the code of earlier games and eventually reverse-engineered languages and interpreters to make their own.

Almost exactly a decade later, JIGSAW was released, in 1995. Created by Graham Nelson, a Fellow in pure mathematics at St. Anne’s College at Oxford and poet, it was his fourth game.

I like JIGSAW, a lot. There are more affecting games, there are less obtuse games, but it’s clever and strikes a nice balance between interaction and fiction, somewhere in between Adam Cadre’s Photopia, Emily Short’s Galatea, and the old Infocom games.

JIGSAW is a huge game, broken up into a series of levels, which are more-or-less self-contained. All of these are timed, and many of them have fairly difficult puzzles. So, what I’ll be doing is letting you all decide what to do first. If you can successfully complete the level before time runs out, great. If not, that’s OK, because I’ll upload a “perfect” run afterwards, along with commentary on the level. I also reserve the right to fudge a little with commands to synchronize things- if Person A changes rooms and Person B wanted to interact with something in the other room, I’ll move back to the other room instead of posting Tim Allen noises.

With that being said, let’s begin.

Prologue - Century Park

New Year’s Eve, 1999, a quarter to midnight and where else to be but Century Park! Fireworks cascade across the sky, your stomach rumbles uneasily, music and lasers howl across the parkland… Not exactly your ideal party (especially as that rather attractive stranger in black has slipped back into the crowds) - but cheer up, you won’t live to see the next.

An Interactive History
Copyright © 1995 by Graham Nelson
Release 3 / Serial number 951129 / Inform v1600 Library 6/1
Standard interpreter 1.1

Century Park
At one side of the great Park, on a gravel path which runs west to northeast beside poplar trees. Crowds of celebrants are enjoying themselves to the north, having abandoned the canvas marquee east.

11:45 PM



Go east?


Beer Tent
Hours ago, this was a popular beer tent; long since, the drink ran out and the party moved on, leaving just canvas walls and bare benches.

Sticking out of an unpleasant baked potato is a sparkler, still fizzing away.

The canvas flutters slightly and you can just make out that figure in black rushing away back to the park. It must be that tantalising stranger again - who else would be wearing black at this party?


Aahah! A tantilizing stranger - this has got to be our goal.

Before anything though
Get sparkler and
Inventory to boot


You are carrying:
a sparkler (providing light)
a white party ticket

11:46 PM


Follow that stranger! The discription made it sound like they were headed back out the same way so…
(Unless I’m reading it wrong)

While the description isn’t very clear about this, a “marquee” normally has at least one side without walls and the fetching stranger’s description mentioned one of the tent walls. Still want to go West?

hmm in that case I think east is the better option

The heavy canvas is in the way and, although there’s clearly something bulky stacked up behind the southern side, you can only go back west.


I guess west then, unless north works (the passage didn’t mention is so perhaps?)

The heavy canvas is in the way and, although there’s clearly something bulky stacked up behind the southern side, you can only go back west.


Century Park

Somebody (and you have a pretty good idea who) seems to have dropped, of all things, a jigsaw piece here.

Lasers suddenly strobe magnificently over your head.

11:47 PM


West, North, and Northeast have all been pointed to in the description. In addition, there was something to the south of the tent to the east.

oh yeah more stuff! get jigsaw


[Your score has just gone up by one point.]


im curious to what the jigsaw piece is of look jigsaw

Are you ready?

A large jigsaw piece, six inches on a side and square. It’s a dull grey-white, perhaps depicting the still waters in a canal.

It is currently this way up:


Is it everything you’ve dreamed of?

well i’d like to check out the south of the tent so I guess lets go south

Did you say, “South”? Cause I heard “Southeast”, sorry.


Behind Beer Tent
There are many places better not visited tonight, and chief among them is this one, despite a certain fin-de-siecle decadence. It’s a crevice behind the beer tent, between dense trees and the rear wall of the Park. The most politely describable use to which it has been put is as a dump for old plastic crates of beer bottles.

Mingled amongst the beer crates is a wooden packing box, broached at the top.

Discarded beside the old box is an empty rucksack.

[Your score has just gone up by one point.]


what’s that, more stuff? don’t mind if I do. look inside box
and take rucksack
gotta get anything not nailed down don’t ya’ know

In the old packing box are a tagged key and a curious device.


11:48 PM


take key and device then lets x device

(I hope i’m not hogging the thread, I never played this one and it seems intriguing)