Star-Fired Beef

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The Secret Lore – The Filth

See all the Secret Lore here.

We’ve covered the main protagonists of the Secret World; now it’s time to look at one of the antagonists. Nobody really knows what the Filth is, except perhaps the Buzzing – and as you’ll see, they aren’t exactly giving us a lot of information. The most important thing to know is that the Filth is bad news. Very bad news. It’s hard to say whether it is shaping events in the world, or simply responding to them, taking advantage of them. Of all the aspects of the Secret World, I believe the Filth shows the influence of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos the most.

The Filth

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate cephalopod signal – RECEIVE – initiate cuttle-ink frequency – HANDLE WITH CARE – inhale the Chernobyl syntax – AVOID CONTACT WITH SKIN – initiate the eel mucous lexicon – HARMFUL OR FATAL IF SWALLOWED – flip the Ace of Ruin – WITNESS – The Filth.

Initiate investigation protocols – NEW ENGLAND – fog follows on ancient weapon – EGYPT – Dark Water rises and cultists drink deep – TRANSYLVANIA – putrescent radiation breeds creeping fungus – TOKYO – the Black Signal broadcasts blasphemous algorithms, infecting all ears – following the signal…

It creeps through the crawly cracks of 3AM. That weird dimension. There are thoughts that can only hatch in the human skull at 3AM. It is always 3AM somewhere. It is happening right now.

A woman wakes with a headache. She seeks aspirin in the bathroom. Black mold grows on the wall tiles. The stain forms a face. She hears a terrible howling from the sink drain. She bends to listen. When she looks up, she does not recognise the reflection in the mirror. The face in the stain smiles.

Night after night she listens to the howling in the pipes. It gains a bloodcurdling cadence. She hums along. She can almost sing the words. She scratches the pimples dotting her body. They swell to boils. They burst, revealing new eyes. The eyes show her unutterable truths. Soon, she sticks thumb tacks into her tongue so she can better explain these truths to the weeping children whose bed she hides under.

It is always 3AM in the Filth. It is liquid 3AM, black and dripping.

Initiate diagnostic protocols.

The engines strain. Cleansing efficiency compromised. Engine 45B lost. We’ve sprung a leak. The centre cannot hold. Corrupted Anima spills. Vermiculated fractals coagulate to solid geometry. The Filth! The Filth! It transmits!

It is like us. A flowing message. Crawling letters. A living meme. It is not us. It is anti-us, anti-luminosity that crucifies sentience. It trickles down hundreds of dimensions on alien gravity. You cannot even see most of it, sweetling. How will you escape? How do you hobble through this world on three tiny dimensions? It flows across time, a disease floating on Quantum Foam.

Sumerians called it the Eater. In Babylon they named it Nergal’s Rot. Dead tongues dubbed it the Devouring Plague, the Zero Point Pathogen, the Dark Homonculus, the Blackworm Jism.

Information is a super-weird substance, sometimes floating as oil, sometimes vapour, invisible waves, pollution, roiling black storms, a viral rhyme.

It is the harbinger of change – the sizzling, celestial syphilis. The flesh mutates. The mind boils to bilious madness. All lucid thoughts to slay. All sweetlings are fair game to the drip. But the Filth pours, as dark dreams, directly into the heads of the insane and sadistic.

Following the signal…

Somewhere, a trucker reads alien letters carved into the bathroom stall walls of a truck stop. He cannot look away. Pathogens in the grammar open an event horizon in his head. He spreads the scrawl in every stop on his route, carving it into the stalls. He itches and he scratches. Others see the letters. They itch. They scratch. He scratches his face, draws the runes in red with his box knife. His head blossoms into a bouquet of writhing lampreys.

But the Filth is only the transmitted, not the transmitter – the excremental shadow of something else. What dreamt it? What stirs and sputters and lurks, as big as planets, in the infinite shade between cancer cells?

Have you seen them, Sweetling? Have they noticed you noticing them? Once you see the hungry sky, it sees you. All futures point to a stratosphere of tentacles.

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Steam Challenge – The Journey Down: Chapter One

This is part of my Steam Challenge Series (the full list is here).

Time played: 2 hours

A wonderfully executed, if short and sweet, point-and-click adventure game.

The voicework is very good, the puzzles are interesting and not too implausible, and the animations are nice and smooth, if a little slow for my tastes. The afro-carribean setting is really cool, with the art style being an excellent variation on the Grim Fandango aesthetic. I really liked the humour in it, too, especially the digs at the genre it manages to get in.

Story-wise, as I said it is very short, but this is only the first chapter of the series. Not much was revealed beyond some backstory for the protagonist, but chapter one ended with a very satisfying cliffhanger, and I am very much looking forward to playing chapter two.

One of the better point-and-clicks I have played. Bonus points for non-white-euro-centric setting and characters.

The Superjesus – Down Again

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The Secret Lore – The Dragon

See all the Secret Lore here.

One of the three playable factions in The Secret World, the Dragon are the quintessential Eastern Mystic group. Think Taoism, think the Triads, think masks within masks within masks. The Illuminati may be the most secretive society, but the Dragon are the most unknowable, the most impenetrable. Many people probably find them the most cliché, too. I am sure that at some stage, I will end up taking an alt through the game again, to experience the Dragon perspective on the goings-on in The Secret World.

The Dragon

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate Yeouiju signal – RECEIVE – initiate Hei’an Zhuan frequency – DOWNLOAD – initiate Epic of Darkness lexicon – VOID WHERE PROHIBITED – initiate the King Munmu Protocol – OUR PRICE ARE INSANE – initiate the butterfly effect cadence – DO YOU SUBSCRIBE TO CHAOS? – the green spectrum – WITNESS – The Dragon.

A man leaps off a high rise, flapping his arms all the way down. Across the world, a moon cycle later, a tsunami savages a coastal town. What connects these events? The motion of his arms? The scream of despair silenced by terminal velocity? The chemical composition of the ink in the letter he left? The light refracting in the tears of the she who read it? The pattern of his wet, Rorschach impact on the cracked pavement?

Before Gaia, there was Chaos.

In the chaos fractures that connect these singularities, the Dragon winds its coils. You cannot follow, sweetling, but we can. WE follow the Dragon’s spiral – the shape of the universe – molecular patterns, the snail shell, the hurricane, spinning galaxies, the flight path of vultures – we follow the Dragon – we swim with the plankton and frolic with the sperm – prancing with microwaves – dancing with atoms on the head of a pin – twirling with the opiated children on the strobe-flash dance floor – spirals within spirals within spirals…

The totality of the Dragon’s coils cannot be seen by mortals, with the three flaccid dimensions of your jellied sockets. But there are those who dive into pandemonium blind. They chase the Dragon and take its name. Their silent monks stalk your streets even now, secrets locked into mouths sewn shut. Metaphors become obsolete when thread and needles run so very cheap.

Initiate the secret histories.

WARNING: chaos ripples. Disruption is imminent. Our vision warps. The most difficult secret society to track. Apply dynamical filter. Initiate.

In the beginning… No. Not far enough. Rewind. Before the beginning. There have been at least four beginnings. Before the before the before, a childling prophet glimpsed the Dragon’s tail in the nano-second equations of rippling water. She grabbed the tail. They found her that night, half drowned. Before she died, she whispered of the Dragon opening its mouth. A nine-headed naga slithered out, each serpent head singing nine discordant truths. The childling whispered those truths with her final breaths. Those who listened became the first converts.

Time passes. Wisdom transcends cataclysms, bleeds into new Ages. Nearly three millennia before the birth of the affixed god, and there are chaos riders, who will call themselves the Dragon, in ancient China. They cast ripples, guiding the fractal-pattern growth of civilisation. Some among them will echo in mythology as the Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors.

The Dragon continues, through the Xia Dynasty, the Shang Dynasty, and the Zhou Dynasty. They spread throughout Asia. They notice the secret societies of the West and are noticed in turn. Later, their hold will be weakened by the Mongol hordes. Covetous eyes will look East, dream of expansion, and send an agent in the person of Marco Polo.

Dear sweetling, have you ever wondered about the Chaoskampf Myth? Why the image of the holy warrior slaying a dragon is stamped across western society? Thor slays Jormungandr. Zeus smites Typhon. Michael the archangel defeats Satan. Over and over, order vanquishes Chaos.

It was an unusually subtle plan by the Templars, to poison the wells of culture against the Dragon. Too subtle by far, sweetling. We saw the Illuminati whisper the plan into the proud ear of the Templars, to fight a potential enemy one step removed.

Yet Chaoskampf was not fully successful. Chaos is water; it tests weakness, flows into the cracks and fissures of any ordered plan. For all the Templars’ efforts, for their statues of St. George killing the wyrm, for all of this, what child does not love dragons?

Time passes, but what is time? The Dragon spirals and all points become one. These days see the cabal based in Seoul, South Korea. They are the most unknowable. They are the humble mask over the devious core. They learn to play the western secret worlders against one another, to more subtly stake their influence. While the others grab rough and rude control over the world, the Dragon rides the waves of chance, taps disturbances in the water, for they can read the ripples.

Those who join, those who leap blindly into bedlam, let go of their ordered life. They release the rigid paradigms of the mind. They learn the paradox to achieve order through chaos – to realise opposite forces are not contrary or in conflict but interconnected – a rise in one precipitates the other – round and round.

The Dragon is the medicinal hyper-yang. The shrieking needle that will lance the boils of this world. The imbalance that will fix the imbalance. The dark days are here. Someone must sing the sacred obscenities. If chaos does not destroy the world, it might even save it.

The Dragon’s coils spin and spin, and where they go, not even we know.


Steam Challenge – Home

This is part of my Steam Challenge Series (the full list is here).

Time played: 70 minutes


I can see what the developer was going for with this game. It’s a semi-choose-your-own-adventure story, with aspirations of horror. But sadly, it falls flat on all counts.

One major drawback I found was the heavily pixelated graphics. It is simply not up to the task of providing a satisfying atmosphere in which to base a horror story. When I am supposed to be grossed out or horrified by some grisly scene, it helps if I can actually tell what it is I am looking at.

The other major drawback for me was the story itself. It is a decent suspenseful thriller, but no more. Free games such as Serena do this kind of storytelling much better. The main difference in Home, is that at certain points during your journey, you get to choose how the story unfolds. This is difficult to explain without spoilers, but on the whole – especially at the end – it really undoes all the dramatic tension built up prior. When you get to what feels like a big reveal, and it turns out you can choose for it to be a very sensible, straightforward, and not-actually-scary reveal, it seems like a letdown. A waste of time.

Fortunately, Home is very very short, and although you can go back and play through it again to try other choices, I don’t think it changes anything. I wouldn’t recommend buying it, but if you get it in a bundle as I did, you won’t lose much by giving it a try.

Jebediah – Leaving Home


NBI Talkback Challenge #1

I’m not very good about community participation, in any field, so I wasn’t planning on contributing much to this year’s Newbie Blogger Initiative. But the first talkback topic, posed by Izlain, has prompted me to think about it enough to want to at least put something down in print. He asked, “How did GamerGate affect you?”

I have written about my views on the terror itself, so I’ll not repeat myself here. Looking back on how the whole thing has affected me, though, I realise that it is mostly indirectly. It’s still personal, but not as personal as it is for many others.

Directly, I have been lucky enough to not be personally affected by this abomination. None of the hate has been aimed my way, despite me participating in some pretty heated discussions on various blogs. But I have realised, after reading a few of the other posts in this Talkback Challenge, that I have been affected, and that I continue to be affected, on a personal level.

I am affected because many of the people in my online community that I admire, and look up to, and even consider friends and all-round great people, are women. And these people, these friends, more often than not are directly affected. People like Liore, and Jasyla, and Aywren, and Eri, they have all been made to feel threatened, afraid, or insecure in their participation in the gaming community. And then there are people like Talarian, who have to deal with the fallout as both an indie developer and a member of the LBGTQ community, and it gets even worse. I hate the fact that these people that I love interacting with (even if I don’t do so enough) are more wary, if not outright scared, nowadays than they were before GamerGate reared its ugly heads.

I am sad, and not a little frightened, for my blogging, and gamer, and IRL friends. That is how GamerGate has affected me.

Phox – Evil


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The Secret Lore – The Illuminati

See all the Secret Lore here.

The Illuminati are one of the three playable factions in The Secret World. They are almost the polar opposite of the Templars in temperament – embracing modernity, immersing themselves in media, corporate business and technology. I don’t like their Wall Street ethos, but I can appreciate the lengths to which Funcom has gone to give them a unique personality. It’s fun to watch, but I wouldn’t want to be a part of it.

The Illuminati

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate pyramid signal – RECEIVE – initiate NOW frequency – DOWNLOAD – initiate Big Brother broadcast – NEW AND IMPROVED – initiate Sex, Drugs, & Rockefeller Prerogative – THAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT! – initiate the Crowley cadence – YOU MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN – the blue spectrum – WITNESS – The Illuminati.

Cue curtain. The Punch & Judy Show.

O child-wandering-in-the-dark, do you remember the puppet show? See Mr Punch beat puppet after puppet with his stick. The lesson: we all fall down. See the puppet master manipulating the brutal slapstick and drinking from a hidden flask. Behold the conspiracy of conspiracies, the most secretest society.

They began in Egypt, during the Old Kingdom. We came to them on the tears of Ra. But that was not the first beginning. Sweetling, do you really think this is the first age? Ever dream of the Long Ago? Ever gasped awake, remembering beginnings birthed before the Below?

Cue curtain. A New Age.

Time moves not in lines, but in circles. Ancient ideals pass down the generations, transcend cataclysms. Old becomes new, different yet same. Powerful mystics take the stage, form a cabal, and call themselves the Enlightened Ones.

Initiate Latin translation: “Illuminati.”

The children of Eye and Pyramid fertilise the Nile. Can you see them, sweetling, through the time refraction in our text? They pollinate the skulls of scribes, viziers, priests, and philosopher kings. Thoughts germinate and bloom. They vie to guide humanity towards an esoteric culture, influence the world through the houses of Pharaohs.

Pluck the petals. The centuries tumble like she-loves-me-nots. The scenes change – Jericho, Damascus, Alexandria, Babylon, Jerusalem, Rome – but the plots and plays remain the same. Always, the Illuminati gather occult writings and treasures. They rise behind each new throne. And always, they encounter the Templars.

The secret society siblings snatch kings, generals, and great thinkers like coveted toys. The dolls break in the tug-of-war. The Illuminati grab guilds and banks. The Templars clutch the military. Vicious games of tag ensue. Sometimes one flees, sometimes the other – that familiar dance.

The Illuminati skip east, fostering high culture in Byzantium. In Asia, they meet the Dragon. Tag, you’re it. They skip back west. Now three great factions dance.

These secret societies – these migratory birds flying from one kingdom to the next, according to geological seasons. Always there is the prize: the lands of milk and honey, the most powerful nations.

Cue curtain. The New World.

A misstep in the dance. A sprang. The Illuminati limp west. On the new continent, away from their enemies, the children of Eye and Pyramid weave a new backdrop infrastructure so tightly that none of the other factions have been able to gain a foothold there since.

Cue psychic currency exchange. Cue the viral pyramid. The one dollar bill is always watching.

Defeats in Europe taught the Illuminati to play more subtly. Since then, they have been the most secretive of the three siblings.

Their clever fingers learnt to make shadow puppets. Decoy ciphers dance on the dank wall. While conspiracy theorists chase the echoes of Freemasons, Bilderbergs, and Bohemians, the true Illuminati have room to work.

Cue curtain. The dark days.

The Eye and Pyramid are a well-oiled machine, serrated cogs lubricated on aptitude, ambition, and ruthlessness. In this epoch of information and equality, the Illuminati is king. The ruled do not complain if they detect no ruler. The Illuminati spill seminal thoughts into the gravid heads of the masses, while the other factions flail to the old dance.

Cue the ritual chant: “Fuck or be fucked.”

Conventional warfare is obsolete. Cue the paradigm war. The Illuminati strive to ascend as a pantheon of zeitgeists.

Beneath the Brooklyn streets, they experiment with thaumaturgy and technomancy. In their labs, demons shriek as they beat the walls of hard-drive purgatories, circuits soldered in patterns forming Enochian words. Old bleeds into new, the cutting edge fornicates with the antediluvian.

The three siblings have a choice: battle the sleeping horrors ready to engulf the world or toil on in the struggle to define those who rule and those who are ruled. The children of the Eye and Pyramid so long to reign, and diabolic rumours follow them like a foul cloak. Yet despite these ambitions, they have no intention of giving their planet to monsters. Perhaps they will fight back the darkness, and find a tidy profit in it.

And yet, you little termites war with each other over your little termite mounds, and somewhere in the Outer Dark, hungry mouths made of event horizons salivate and grin.

Dear sweetling, did you pay attention to that gruesome puppet show as a child? We hope so. The Illuminati is Mr Punch and hidden in that nonsense play is their plot. They have a big stick and conspire to bludgeon all competing puppets, and then the Devil himself. And if you get in their way…you will be another broken Judy, splayed on the floor.

Cue the shrill voice from the Outer Dark: “That’s the way to do it!”

Cue curtains.

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Steam Challenge – Gunpoint

This is part of my Steam Challenge Series (the full list is here).

Time played: 4 hours

I’d heard a fair bit about Gunpoint, and all of it was good. Not quite the high praises that titles such as Braid, Limbo, and Bastion received, but it was still quite well-hyped for me. As such, I was a tiny bit apprehensive that it would disappoint. I was very, very happy to find that it didn’t.

The animations are smooth, controls very responsive, and puzzles well-designed. I didn’t appreciate it at first, but there is a lot of freedom to approach each level in your own way, depending on what kind of P.I. you want to play. The best part is, when you are filling in your personalised blog post at the end, the choices you are presented with are based on your actions during the game.

Gunpoint features an awesome slow jazz/funk soundtrack, and nails the noir atmosphere completely, despite it being a modern-day setting. The conversations you have with various contacts between missions are highly entertaining. The humour of the developer really shines through in the writing. I loved it.

All in all, Gunpoint was everything I’d hoped for, and more. I highly recommend this game to anyone who likes stealth puzzlers.

Wolfmother – Joker and the Thief


The Secret Lore – The Templars

See all the Secret Lore here.

One of the three playable factions in The Secret World, The Templars are what you would expect from the name: traditionalist, militaristic crusaders. They are also my favourite faction. Maybe it’s the British underpinnings, maybe it’s the feeling of being part of a large, cohesive unit, maybe it’s the overtones of Inquisition that draw me to them. Or perhaps, it is their deep reverence for historical tradition – both a blessing and a curse, as we shall see.

The Templars

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate Babel signal – RECEIVE – initiate phosphorous prayer frequency – DOWNLOAD – initiate John Dee lexicon – AS SEEN ON TV – initiate pillar of salt protocol – DELIVER US FROM EVIL – initiate the Molay Curse cadence – MUST REDEEM BEFORE EXPIRATION – the red spectrum – WITNESS – The Templars.

Initiate geomancy. There is power in bisecting lines. Stand at a crossroads and feel the thrum of energy in the ninety degree angles.

Listen. Preternatural dramas all around you. The city is a honeycomb of horror, each cell barely cognizant of the others. Black feathers in a playground. The odd stain on the sidewalk. The flicker-flash of a winged thing in the headlights. The vagrant holding a wriggling bag. The moons from the apartment above.

As you read these words, a scene unfolds. Close. An alley. A neon cross shines in the seedy Eden. A monster writhes, broken and bloody, on the pavement. Its teeth gnash. It looks up into the eyes of its assailant, and two crosses reflect back in the crucifixion glow.

To pray devoutly. To prey mercilessly. The hands folded serenely drip with blood. Even monsters have bogeymen. Eh, sweetling?

The crossed ones. The Holy Grail Keepers. Protectors of Solomon’s Temple. Wealthy fraternities. Solemn oaths. The Templars. A familiar name, but truths huddle more deeply in time than books are willing to confess.

We came to them in Mesopotamia. They heard the electromagnetic singing of insect cherubs. The Tower of Babel commanded maximum reception. Commands. The past tense is a lie. The tree-flesh texts transmit, in dead letters, that the Tower fell. Do not believe.

Initiate the secret histories.

From the Tower, two brothers ruled all they could see. They could see all. There was a falling out. One brother took to Sumer and gathered brethren to study the mystic and vanquish supernatural evils.

From conception, this secret society fought. They fought in Babylon and Persia, Greece and Rome, Europe and Eurasia. They assimilated the skills of every warfaring culture.

Enter another player. The Illuminati did not play the same game. Their plots walk sideways, like crabs. The children of Eye and Pyramid let loose Alexander the Great, and broke all of the Templars’ toys. The crossed ones never got over it.

Time passes – you call it the Middle Ages. Mayflies have such tiny timelines. The crossed ones grow strong, grow bold. They leave the shadows. With papal sanction, they set out to rule the world publicly. The Knights Templar.

Hubris never goes unrewarded. The Illuminati tickled their web, and King Philip IV and Pope Clement V danced. They accused the Templars of heresy. Many knights burned. From above, they twinkled like stars. The king was free of his Templar debt and pocketed their pretty treasures.

We were there the day they put the last Grand Master to the flame. Even as he crackled, Jacques de Molay shouted his order’s innocence. He challenged the king and the pope to meet him at the throne of their god within the year. Soon after that, the pope died. And soon after that, the king died. And only fourteen years later, the king’s entire family line withered on the vine.

The crossed ones returned to the shadows, their old friend. Humiliation teaches lessons. Never again a religious agenda. Never again a public face.

Listen. In that alley, the neon crucifix flickers, humming a prayer. It forgot the words. Do you hear?

Time passes, first with silence, and then a roar. The Templars grew – real estate, military contracts, political mindshares. They hurled the Illuminati from the continent. Righteous rage! The children of Eye and Pyramid fled to the New World and never came back.

Crusaders walk these streets of steel, cement and glass. Time moves not in lines, but in circles. Others call them antiquated. They are. The roots run deep. But the New Templars movement coils out. New blood flows, hereditary lines are opened to new thought.

Listen. Something is happening. They hum. The crossed ones have always been wary of magic, yet many of the magi are among them. They control the largest occult library in this world. Old books open. Words older than geological bodies are read. The muscles of the Templars’ army tense. The dark days are here, as they always knew they would be, as they have trained for since they gathered in the shadow of Babel.

Listen, sweetling. Do you hear?

When the lions of the secret world roar, the others listen. Some call them fanatics and zealots. To Templar eyes, evil reigns over compromise and corruption. Therefore, their empire must be incorruptible, must be uncompromising. They must suffer no demon to live. Measuring the lengths one must go to is redundant when there are no limits.

WARNING: holy radiation poisoning imminent. Listen to the riddle in the vibrations of the broken wings: what is the price of conviction?

Initiate the Nietzsche syntax.

Those who seek monsters can become monsters, and in the secret world, the abysses not only stare back, they bite.

On the grim-grime alley floor, a dying moth writhes under the crucifix glow. Its tattered wings, soaked heavy with blood, flap and spasm like a fallen angel who forgot the way home. Can you hear the buzzing of the wings?


Steam Challenge – Edna and Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes

This is part of my Steam Challenge Series (the full list is here).

Time played: 4 hours

I generally at least go to the store page of games that I am not familiar with before I start them, to watch the trailer. With this game, the trailer intrigued me, promising a darkly funny point-and-click adventure.

I was disappointed. The animations are pretty subpar in my opinion, although they aren’t really a dealbreaker themselves. But added to the list of other crimes this game displayed, it certainly didn’t help. In fact, that really sums up my experience with Harvey’s New Eyes – each aspect that I disliked was…not minor, but bearable. But the sum of those not-quite-minor problems was what drove me away in the end.

I finished the first chapter of the game, which in my mind means that I gave it a fair shake. And the main thrust of my problems are to do with the atmosphere, the aesthetics. The biggest culprit is the narration. I don’t know whether it is the American accent, or just the general condescension of his tone that got to me the most, but I was ready to choke him after all of 10 minutes.

The other voicework was terrible, too. Not in the sense of poorly done, wooden acting, but each character has a very specific, stereotypical manner, which is deliberately written, and is horribly exaggerated. Edna is the only character who speaks normally, it seems. Combined with the narrator, it all grates on me terribly.

The good part is that the puzzles are pretty interesting, if not always making sense. For instance, at one point you blow up the basement stove, and then later you light a small fire in there and suddenly the cook can use it again? Weird. I really liked the music, too, very simple but unintrusive.

I ended up really disliking Harvey’s New Eyes, but I will admit that much of it is personal taste rather than poor design. Fans of point-and-click adventures will like it if they aren’t put off by the same things as me.

Sonic Animation – Theophilus Thistler


The Secret Lore – Agartha

See all the Secret Lore here.

Agartha is the transport hub of The Secret World. It is where you hearth back to, and it is a sanctuary, a safe place for you to hang out (as are the three main cities). It has a cool Victorian-era stationmaster who gives you some well-meaning advice about the place and its denizens. The most apparent thing is, that we see only a fraction of a fraction of it. The entry below gives an idea of the importance of Agartha, and how it fits into The Secret World.


Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate anima signal – RECEIVE – initiate the all-in-one-one-in-all frequency – THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS – initiate transportation prerogative – MIND THE GAP – initiate geomantic protocols – WITNESS – Agartha.

Enlightenment hurts, sweetling. Does your forehead tickle? A tickle becomes a pain, becomes a suture-crack, becomes a caesarean gasp, and the third eye opens like a bullet hole obscenity.

Breathe. This too shall pass.

Initiate the phantom limb syndrome.

Somewhere, an old man lies sleepless in bed. He shakes the stump of his left shoulder, where a beast from the dark forest tore away his arm in his youth. He still feels a tingle where his limb used to be – a ghost echo in the brain. A dead arm haunts his body.

Do you feel it too? Phantom dimensions tickle you. Do you really believe the world is strung together on only three? In the deep mind, you’ve always known, even before we came to you. You chafe and cramp under the tyranny of three. Vestigial dimensions dangle from you, limp and invisible. They spasm when you dream – undead moans from a forgotten, atrophied node in your pituitary gland. In the depths of your R-complex, you carry the secret knowledge – that space folds – that all points touch – that there is an in-between place, you have but to reach out, diagonally, to touch it. But you never reach diagonally enough.

Inititate the Diagonal Stepping Prerogative.

Enter Agartha. You’ve always known it was here, this strangeness familiar – the subterranean realm, the pathways to all space and time, and the doors, the doors, the doors! Things you may designate godlike or demonic roam the transdimensional corridors and cities. Hulking automatons patrol the way.

Technology and magic interlock like a two-headed calf. The craft is beyond the scope of your species. Yet the clever secret worlder can learn to ride the anywhere paths to reach far away places. The anima-touched may enter.

Warning, secret worlder: bring not the uninitiated into Agartha. The resonance here does not match the frequency of their meat. It precipitates a messy discord.

Agartha’s heart is the tree. The wisdom tree. The world tree. The connection between all points. It grew before the First Age, branches and roots burrowing into all possibilities. The pumping blood that is the sap flows in luminescent gold. The tree is the divine bio-tech computer, her palpitating hand.

Come see the immaculate machine. You know her name. It rests on your tongue, a comforting weight, when you walk in the dark. “Gaia.”

She called you. She woke you from your somnambulist life. She filled your brainpan with anima, which flows from Agartha, from the Tree. She gave you strength to rend the lion and eat its honeyed entrails. You are the anti-body. The sickness spreads, and you must keep running.

Who were the builders? The Titans? You will know, in time, but we must not break you yet.

You know some of the secret names. Enlightenment hurts and wisdom compounds. Your skeleton grows into an agony, and you don’t know when your epidermis will rupture. Breathe, sweetling. This too shall pass. Pains are relative, and this one will become very small, in time.

We will see you in the half-light.


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