Once the cutscene ends, the game starts us as Reyes. Let’s start by looking at his inventory.
First up is his badge, with his full name on it.
Second is his notebook. Every playable character in the game has one - they’re used to keep track of objectives, but Ray and Reyes both have notebooks with some extra stuff written in them.
Finally, Reyes has a Polaroid camera. Thankfully we took a look at it here so that Reyes doesn’t look like a complete idiot trying to take a photo of the body with no film in it.
Like Reyes, Ray’s badge also has her full name on it. Naturally they’ve both got the same initials.
The contents of Ray’s notebook are… interesting. Is she CIA? NSA?
The third item in Ray’s inventory is a brick phone, which we have no use for at the moment. The game has a ton of phone numbers we can try calling later - but for right now, we’ll leave it. Finally, Ray is carrying a single-shot film cartridge for the camera. We could have Reyes give her the camera, but I did that on my first playthrough so we’ll do it the other way this time.
On a side note, I actually wondered if Polaroid film really looked like that… and it actually does! As it turns out, the reason they’re so large is that the cartridges contain batteries that power the camera - and the hookup for said batteries is a main cause of failure on older Polaroids.
With a quick “use” command, we have the camera loaded with film and ready to go. By the way, I’m still impressed that the sprite artist bothered to animate Reyes exposing the film.
That’s… only sort of right, Reyes! First, there’s something here we can grab.
If we walk back into the overgrowth, the cursor will pick up on “something odd”. If we look at it…
So… this is the second (as far as I’m aware) Maniac Mansion reference we’ve run into thus far - and according to the in-game timer, this is like six minutes in. This one I’m actually going to explain because it’s kind of obscure.
In Maniac Mansion, one of the items you could pick up was a chainsaw… with no gas in it. There was no gas anywhere to be found in the game, as the chainsaw was meant to be a red herring. From what I understand, a whole bunch of people thought the gas existed, and asked the developers about it.
One year later, in 1988, Lucasfilm Games released another point-and-click called Zack McCracken and the Alien Mindbenders… which had a gas can full of chainsaw gas, but no chainsaw.
Maybe we’ll get lucky here!
Well, crap. There’s no way to throw items away in this game, so we’ll just keep the chainsaw.
There’s also an empty whisky bottle over by the trail sign. This is an item we’re going to need later on. Picking up everything you see in this game is pretty much always the best strategy. There is one other item we can get here, but I’ll leave it for when we actually need it.
Now that we’re done with the body, we can take Reyes up to the highway. Ray will not automatically follow him - there are certain points throughout the game where Ray (and any other characters we may or may not acquire) will teleport to whichever character you’re using. We’ll see one of those coming up.
You might also ask why I’m not immediately picking up the tuna can on the road. The reason is that the highway contains a number of dummy items - the tuna can and the Atari cartridge to the right (which is, of course, one of the E.T. cartridges buried in the desert) are both useless. For the sake of the LP, I’m not going to pick them up.
As Reyes gets about halfway down the highway to Thimbleweed Park proper, he is nearly hit and killed by a plumbing van.
Meet the Pigeon Brothers, who are actually both women. They’re the equivalent to the stewardess from Policenauts, though to a much lesser degree.
Let’s just go for the obvious question first.
I like how Reyes has his eyes closed like he is already thoroughly done with this shit.
: “But remember! The signals are very strong tonight.”
You know what, I’m still not asking about the signals.
: “Dad was expecting to have sons.”
: “And he was too cheap to have the van repainted.”
: “So we’re just rolling with it until he’s dead.”
: “Shut up, Emily! The signals are very strong tonight.”
Okay, fine. I’ll ask about the signals.
: “Dark night, deserted road, me in a giant pigeon costume.”
: “It was too good to pass up.”
: “But the signals are strong tonight.”
This reminds me a lot of the time I sat next to a lady in a waiting room who had just finished watching the latest season of Doctor Who and could not fucking WAIT to tell someone her theories about it. Let’s just get out of here.
Perfect! Let’s just keep going. Hopefully they won’t even notice we’re gone.
There is exactly one item on the roadside that we actually need, and it’s this glass bottle. We’re pretty close to the town now, and…
What was that?
Oh, okay. Ray joins us as soon as we get into town. The sheriff’s office is just to the east of here.
There’s a burned-out building that used to be a watch and violin repair shop, and then an abandoned real estate agency. This is where we get the first phone number in the game that we can call - an in-game hint line. This number is pretty much why Ray’s cell phone exists, so you don’t have to find a pay phone to call if you’re stuck on a puzzle somewhere.
Wow! That was… surprisingly convienient.
: “That’s what you are? Feds?”
: “It’s hard to miss the government-issue suits.”
We could go for the obvious Twin Peaks reference, but nah.
: “The river is so chock-full of chemicals from the old Pillow Factory…”
: “…it’s better off there than in a tub of formaldehyde.”
: “There’s nothing ‘little’ about murder, sir.”
: “Ignore him, he’s new.”
…Hideo? is that you?
: “Let’s find the coroner and get you on your way. Wrestling starts at eight.”
: “I hope he’s talking about on TV.”
: “I apologize-a-reno for all the lights being off. We don’t stay open as late as you city slick-a-renos do at night.”
: “Even for a murder?”
: “Especially for murder.”
Oh, Ray. You know full well that any time there’s a gun as an item in an adventure game, it never gets used to shoot anyone. Just look at Sam & Max!
Reyes, still a rookie to the force, ponders that point for a moment. I mean, Donovan and Lucille both had guns, right?
If we head just off to the right, there’s a door to the coroner’s office and… wait… aren’t you the sheriff? Welcome to Ron Gilbert’s absolute favorite joke in this entire game.
Oh, come on! I put up with all those ridiculous accents in Dagger of Amon Ra, but this is just pushing it!
One thing to get used to in this game is that pretty much every device you can think of has a name ending in -Tron 3000 and is powered by a vacuum tube. Clearly, Thimbleweed Park is actually a sequel to Bioshock 2. The
sheriff coroner who is absolutely not the same person as the sheriff makes you go through each machine with him, but fortunately, Reyes summarizes that in his notebook.
Now we can get on with the really important questions.
: “People do say there is some resemblance around the eyes, but we’re as different as peas-a-who in a pod-a-who!”
: “Plus, the sheriff has that annoying ‘a-reno’ he adds to everything. You’ll never hear me doing that-a-who.”
Then there’s sort of a strange question that I think only comes up if you’re controlling Reyes for this.
: “Sure did!”
: “Four computers positively showed the fire was caused by the factory guard.”
: “No doubt-a-who about it.”
: “Not these computers. State-of-the-art-a-who computers made by PillowTronics.”
: “Absolutely infallible.”
: “Whoa now… PillowTronics and its founder, Chuck, are above reproach.”
: “Chuck built this town and was a computer and pillow genius.”
: “Are the feds looking into this case? It was solved twenty years ago.”
Interestingly, this is accurate to 1987. CompuServe began offering chat rooms in 1980, ten years before they sold consumer internet access. Wikipedia tells me, however, that they charged something like $5 an hour for the privelige. Thankfully that’s not still a thing, or this LP would have bankrupted me already.
Once we ask the coroner about the machines, he’ll tell us to go see the sheriff.
Before we leave, there’s one thing we need to grab from the coroner’s file cabinet - a fingerprint kit! This would be useful, except…
We don’t have any tape. While we’re here, you might also have noticed a small grey dot by Reyes’s feet.
These are specks of dust, which are Thimbleweed Park’s only optional collectible. There is a speck of dust on virtually every screen, each one exactly one pixel in size. I’m not going to bother collecting them for this LP, mainly because I never found them all on my first playthrough of this game.
The sheriff introduces us to the last machine in town hall - the ArrestTron 3000. This is what we feed the reports from the Bloodtron, Fingertron and Facetron into to arrest a suspect.
Once the sheriff leaves to go to his other job as the coroner, we can rifle through his cabinets and find a fingerprint book that contains fingerprints for every resident of Thimbleweed County. Now that we’ve got everything we can get up to this point, let’s strike out for adventure!
A Street is currently blocked by a stream of water from a broken hydrant (tron3000).
Now we need a WC-67 tube. Fortunately, we can find one of those down the town’s other street.
On the way, we pass the bank, which is currently closed…
And the Diner, which is open, but we don’t want to go in there quite yet.
Instead, we want to head right to… the cake store?
The cake store is full of vaccuum tubes. That makes perfect sense.
: “Based on your sign, I was kind of expecting this place to be a bakery.”
: “Anyway, I’m Special Agent Reyes. I have some questions for you.”
I’m going to skip the first question, just for now. This update is getting pretty long, and it’s only going to get longer… unless I end it.
Hmm… this seems like too big of a decision for me to make alone. I’ll just let you, the readers, ponder this one for me. I’ll pick whichever one gets the most votes for the next update, and we’ll see where it goes from there.
- Tubular Tubes ™
- Tube-tastic ™
- Tube Town ™
- You Tube ™