Trying to pretend I still had any dignity left, I pressed onward, back to the former guardian of the key, to offer that creepy STK background.
Thankfully he's not too concerned about its origins.
The good news is that this gets me a green key. The bad news is I have not seen a green door.
I took a peek at the game in the Museum's file viewer, and it revealed to me that this board has a new exit through the top. Sure enough, the solid gray looking tiles are not water, but fake walls. There's a new route to take and it's going to mean venturing into a board that doesn't actually exist in Town of ZZT.
This is honestly a very fitting way of describing the concept of "out of bounds" in ZZT. It's a mess of boulders, sliders, and gems. At first glance I thought it was just an Easter egg, but the gems are all positioned in a way that the board is actually a matter of just finding a hidden path.
Wherever there are gems, the player can push a slider against them, crushing them and opening more of the path up. It takes a little bit, but eventually the other side is reached.
This board is just beautiful to see animated. Maybe it's because the whole game has been without color, or maybe it's just that well depicted. Unfortunately, it too is another dead end with no way to interact with the machine just yet.
The the game's design in general is solid, the idea of having to backtrack here is pretty miserable. The player's meant to figure out this board exists based on a hint later on, so they likely won't need to make needless trips like I did.
The _important_ secret passage in Town's armory is blocked off, but there's still the one on the other side.
Just as in the source material, it leads to the House of Blues, which isn't very blue anymore. This connection existing in Town is absolutely bizarre, but now it's essential to proceed.
The music notes have gone sour, and make some pitiful attempts at playing their original tune, with one of them falling to the floor just as in the Rube board. The jazz man's song has been updated accordingly as well.
I love it.
The house of gray offers two exits, the first being the connection to the mixer. Like the cave from earlier, a lot of the conveyors are broken and no longer function, which helps this often frustrating to navigate board that much more tolerable. It also offers a rare glimpse of color with the green door I've been searching for finally making an appearance.
For conquering this board, the player receives a white (gray) key. That'll open the next lock to the Palace at least... which actually is the final lock since the others have been destroyed. Who's excited to go inside?