Monkey pull lever, monkey get what?
September 21, 2013 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Many years ago, I used to play a game on my elderly Mac called "Enigma", by Freeverse. Not the modern Oxyd clone, but a version of Mastermind, where you had to deduce a pattern of colored dots given a certain number of hints. You put in your guess and pulled a lever; the game would taunt you, make weird comments, or throw a monkey wrench into things and screw up your guesses. The premise of the game was that you were solving the puzzles in order to open a golden briefcase. I never did manage to get the briefcase open--can anyone tell me what was inside?

Man, I played the hell out of that game. It was fun, but also increasingly frustrating, as the margin for error got more narrow and the monkey wrenches got more common as you went up levels. I never even got near the final level.

And now the game company is sold, the game has no version for the Lion OS and beyond, and frankly, even if I were to find an emulator, I don't think I have the skill or patience anymore to actually get to the end of the game.

So does anyone know what was in the briefcase, or know how to find out? I'm thinking maybe a banana, but that's just a guess. And my google-fu is not producing spoilers or discussion or, really, much of anything. My brain is so itchy...please help and/or spoil me?
posted by theatro to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I played this game like crazy. I had a friend who did too and we still make jokes about "monkey pull lever, monkey get banana". I'm pretty sure I finished it but I can't remember what what in the briefcase other than it was unbelievably disappointing.

Sorry I can't be of more help. I hope someone knows the answer because now it will bug me.
posted by sadtomato at 9:20 AM on September 21, 2013

I dropped an email to former Freeverse'r Bruce Morrison--maybe he'll have an idea.
posted by blueberry at 11:44 AM on September 21, 2013

Best answer: Here’s Bruce's reply:
"I think we put the picture of other people who beat the game into the briefcase when we patched it.

I'll find out on Monday what was in it officially, and see if I can dig up some old source code and images.

I hope that is awesome and not disappointing. If it is disappointing, I know a funny story about Burning Monkey Solitaire."
posted by blueberry at 12:15 AM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for writing to him, blueberry! That was a great solution to my conundrum. I'd love to hear any more he can find out about what was in it originally.

If you can, tell him it's awesome, not disappointing--but I'd still love to hear the funny story about Burning Monkey Solitaire.

Now, the probably-dumb followup question (not for Bruce, just for anyone still reading this): when he says "when we patched it", what does he mean there? I assume there was something officially in the briefcase when the game was new--does this mean that when they had to write a patch to make the game compatible with OS upgrades, they'd instead put in a picture of people who beat the game? (And how did they get those, did the game ask for submissions? This was certainly before integrated webcams...)
posted by theatro at 7:14 AM on September 22, 2013

Best answer: Hey there. I used to work at Freeverse from 2007-2012. Not sure if Bruce got back to you yet, but a friend forwarded me this thread and I reached out to some old Freeverse folk to get some answers for you.

Not sure what was in the briefcase before, but art director Steve he redid the 2.0 version game with a Mayan theme and added a collage of all the players that had beaten the first version of the game in the briefcase. He did this while Ian, the president, was away as it was the only way the update would get green lit. Apparently version 2.2 still runs on 10.6.8 but I can't verify that as all of my macs are on 10.8.

Steve also sent along the image inside the briefcase, if you feel you're worthy of seeing it:

Also make sure to wish Bruce a happy birthday, as it was his birthday on Saturday!
posted by Cheesegod at 6:35 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: AWESOME, thank you, Cheesegod! That's very kind of you. I did look at the image, even though I didn't truly earn it. But I spent a lot of time in the Enigma banana mines, in my day.

Whew. Brain itch--scratched!
posted by theatro at 7:20 AM on September 23, 2013

Best answer: Follow up letter from Bruce:
"OK, so here is what I have uncovered talking with Colin Smith and Steven Tze.

1. "When the case opens, all the characters chant "One of us! One of us!" And you get sucked into the briefcase to then, ostensibly, help torment future players.

We also asked the player to contact us with a code word that was revealed, so we could add their name and/or pic to the game."

2. This is the last image added to the game I believe. [the image linked above in Cheesegod's message]

Additionally Steven Tze, creative director for Freeverse told me: Version 2.2 was updated with a Mayan theme and works on 10.6.8 still.

You can find the "One of us! One of us!" chant in a few FV titles (I'm part of the chorus for BMS [Burning Monkey Solitaire] 2005 version of this chant).

As far as how this all happened, people just sent us stuff, it was cool. And we'd send out all sorts of random stuff."
posted by blueberry at 6:10 PM on September 23, 2013

Response by poster: That answer could never be disappointing. I am delighted by the prospect of being sucked into the briefcase, to forever taunt future intrepid explorers and toss monkey wrenches into their carefully-laid plans. Many thanks!
posted by theatro at 7:47 AM on September 24, 2013

Final followup from Bruce:
"So here's [the] story.

A few years ago for their joke New Years stories, ran a story about Burning Monkey Russian Roulette.

Not to be outdone, later that year, near April 1st, I sat down with Mark Levin and Steven Tze and we made it. It was great, but horrifying at the same time.

There was a bug in the code, where the game would ONLY end if all players were dead. Because of this, if you were the last person alive, you would have to pick up the gun and pull the trigger, put it down, then try again, over and over until you died.

We sent it to MacGamer, then panicked, because what if Steve Jobs saw it?! And asked for all copies to be burned.

I'm sure it's still out there on the net, it was available for download for and hour or so."
(Mikey-San also talked about this game back in 2011.)
posted by blueberry at 7:10 PM on September 30, 2013

Response by poster: Oh, wow. I can only imagine running into a download of that game, in some dark backwater of the net....and at the end, the little monkey sits there alone in the dark, click, click, click. It's like, welcome to the Videodrome.
posted by theatro at 8:53 PM on October 1, 2013

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