If it's Friday, this must be Friday Flash! Every Friday I present three (or more!) games for you to enjoy. Most games require the Adobe Flash Player, and I do test all of them on both Mac and Windows. I try to remember to let you know when there is music or sound, too, in case you're playing in a quiet environment.
This week we're going to explore the concept of "escape games." There's a tradition of these things on the web, and they're... different. Slow-paced, they're often very challenging. How can you combine various bits of information you find within the game to escape from the game?
We'll start with the works of Toshimitsu Takagi. His series is notable for being very simple and yet incredibly frustrating. In each puzzle you need only escape a single room, and at first glance there doesn't appear to be much in each room. How hard can it be?
In Crimson Room, his first puzzle, you're in a small room with nothing to do but explore by clicking. There is one point at which clicking fails you and you need to type something, but before that, it's all clicking — and timing is everything. I've already given you more hints than I started with, but it took me 45 minutes to escape this room. Can you do better?
I wrote about this game in early 2004 and garnered 142 comments from people trying to escape and relying on each other for help! There is music when the game starts.
Once you've managed to escape that room — and bought the t-shirt — you can try to solve the Mystery of Viridian Room. Here the emphasis is not so much on escaping as solving the mystery of the room itself. The delightful "Engrish" opening sentences give way to a game that is both more difficult and more interesting than Crimson Room.
This one took me 90 minutes to solve, mostly hung up on two specific issues. Firstly, the (dark) monitor with which I first played this game made it very difficult for me to spot a card I needed. Secondly, if you restart the game you must get all needed information from scratch, because it changes every time you play. Clues collected once won't help if you start a new browser session!