🗝️Pop ver.2

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Closer Look: Pop

A surreal adventure game about escaping from a dimension where gods observe the curious and watch their attempts to escape.

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Sep 28, 2016
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Using the coin found in the shrubs, the player can gain safe passage through the cave as all the reazels run off to take a good long look at the coin.


The burial caves mark the start of the game's next segment. The torches flicker between a blue and white flame by #putting blue and white water around themselves. I guess outside of ZZT "use water to represent fire" isn't a common technique. The sign has quite a bit to say about the burial caves

  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
the burial caves

welcome (or farewell)! you are now stand-
ing in what was named one of the greatest
nine wonders of this dimension. the
burial caves.

for interests at hand, this sign is
printed in north american anglo-saxon,
a language which is most prevalent in
the oortas, gilmoni, and bastard
dimensions. if for some reason, you are
not from either of these dimensions, or
you do not speak north american anglo-sax-
on, please consult the help desk. (as
if you actually understood that).
the burial caves contain the remains of
approximately 1,OOO dead wanderers, all
buried personally by the many keykeepers
of this tower over the years. these wand-
erers have all died from the two main
causes of death: 1) failure to find the
exit from this dimension. 2) suicide
resulting from the aforementioned.
to the north, you will see the beheaded
skeleton of a rankallan (giganticus
reptilicus), a sort of 40 foot lizard
with suckered feet that spends its life
scaling the towers sideways (and occasion-
ally poking a scaly head through a window
to snap at wanderers). this specimen
was slain by our current keykeeper,
jenner marchesa tenth keykeeper.

feel free to take any bones.
to the east are the wine cellars, where
many a wine from many a dimension are
kept. make sure you read the helpful
spirits legend by our very own cellar-
otter, joe. many wanderers have died from
drinking wines most caustic to those of
their respective dimensions.

also to the east are the remains of
our previous nine keykeepers.
to the south is the exit... stop at
the gift shop on your way out!
thank you for visiting the burial caves!
happy wandering, and we hope you enjoy
your stay!
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

The help desk is not particularly useful.

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Do people today know what nmiaow is? It's on Urban Dictionary, and doing a quick google search brings up a 2002 thread on Digital MZX asking if the term originated in the ZZT/MZX communities and spread to the greater internet or came from somewhere else and spread into standard ZZT/MZX lexicon. It sounds like it's a ZZT/MZX thing.

Nmiaow stands for "Not meant in an obscene way". Now you know. I always pronounced it as nuh-meow.


The wine cellar is next on the tour. There are a few barrels with various wines which can be sampled, and a handy wine list to learn about what the player might be sampling.


At least if you have an izanouylrak'ian dictionary. Fortunately, we do.

wine list
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
hrm... lesse...
(quick translation, eh?)

1. water (hydrox, nya, übrel)            
    its effect differs slightly (or drast-
ically) from one dimension to the next. in
some dimensions, it is known to be an
extremely intoxicating drink, as compared
to the vodka of the oortas dimension. in
others, it is an extremely caustic sub-
stance used to execute unsavories, as in
the êlbeç. in yet others, as in gilmoni,
it is one of the major necessities of
life, and can be found in the natural
world nearly *anywhere*. if you are not
sure of the effects of water on people of
your dimension, please consult the
2. mango wine.                          
a heavily acidic, yet pleasant tasting
drink, that was first brewed in this

(note: do not store in wooden barrels.)
3. vendace.                              
an effervescent daisy wine. it is known
to kill people from certain dimensions.
an easy remedy to this is to drink some
kolfthas beforehand, although this may
result in extremely strange hallucinogenic
visions that usually result in an almost
indelible willingness to eat rocks.
4. kolfthas.                            
an earthy tasting wine made from crushed
sea grapes. this is recommended as a foil
for the all too fatal 'vendace' wine.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

With knowledge of each wine casket, the player can begin drinking. The water is harmless, and you can't drink the mango wine as it's blocked off. (Though a rat stumbling across the room is drunk from it). If you drink the vendace without drinking any kolfthas beforehand, you'll die instantly. If you do remember to drink your kolfthas first...

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And now the player's in a hallucinogenic sequence! They'll only stay on this board for a limited time before being teleported back to reality. This entire sequence is optional, but you can get two gems out of it.

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Firstly by examining your backpack twice, you'll receive one gem. This is the one that went undiscovered in Foxman's walkthrough. If you push the six plastic statues in the correct order of iguana, otter, nimby, dragon, yapok, and ocelot, you'll get the second gem. There's also a lion enemy wandering around, but there's no real reason to not just take the hit and be able to work the statues in peace. If you hit the statues in the wrong order they all reset. The time limit on this room is tight, but nothing too difficult.


Once the sequence ends, you're whisked back to the wine cellar proper and no longer able to drink any more wine.


Now sober, it's time to enter the crypt. On the tables are various mummies of each of the tower's previous key keepers. All of them have a coin half set in their mouth. Except for one...


Here's the programming error that prevents you from getting all eight gems! This object tries to jump to a label that's already been "zapped" in its code, so there is no label to jump to and the object errors out. Oddly, the game is uploaded on z2 as "version 2" and one would think that this would be a very easy bug to catch in testing, but it remains in place.


There's also a plaque ready for whenever jenner dies, and a few other plaques that have yet to be engraved for future key keepers. Oh hey we also get a pronoun for him.


Entering the second half of the room with the dictionary conveniently translates the writing making this puzzle quite obvious. If the writing isn't translated, the player won't even try to use the glyph. The rest of the room consists of vases filled with a variety of things ranging from plants, to diamonds, and an otter in the center of the room admiring the quality handwriting.


The final room to visit in the tower is the evil lab, and there's a lot to take in. The red and white objects make up a stretch-o-matic, which the player is informed can be used to stretch animal hides. To the right of it is a drill-o-matic which can be used to hollow out something.

In the upper corners there's one body suspended in a blue jelly, and other shattered tube with a dead body. The lower left corner has a mysterious and very evil scientist working on something/

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In the lower right, we can find the patient and his sister, crying about the boy's condition.

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The player has all the items necessary to make use of the machinery here. First the frog skin on the stretch-o-matic and then the bone on the drill-o-matic

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  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
alright, here's the drill here, first off,
this isn't your regular run-of-the-mill
type ?+i object. you have *only*
one poisoned needle, so listen closely.
sure, you can use that poisoned needle
by simply pressing space or and
an arrow key, but then you've wasted a
needle, and you've lost the game.
to make sure your needles don't go to
waste, simply select the *blow-pipe*
from your inventory to raise it. select
it again to put it down. the *blow-pipe*
*must* be raised in order for any needles
to hit their targets.
there is only one object in this game with
a :shot tag, so *save*, and think before
you fire. (it shouldn't be too hard to
find the object in question.)
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

The blow pipe comes with a large disclaimer about its special use case. It's a very convoluted system that should really just use :shot and nothing more, but as we'll see there is a specific reason for the raising/lowering requirement. It also has the issue of softlocking the game if you use it in the wrong place.


The obvious solution of shooting the doctor with the dart is not even an option to try.


Murder count: 5

  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
amy: you bitch! that doctor was our only
you: but... i thought that doctor... did
that to your brother!                    
amy: it was a fungal infection, moron!
you: but... he was evil! he has the      
people in the glass cages, the evil in-  
ventions... you... i... uh...            
amy: this is not good... this is not good.
with bill in this state, and no one to
help him, i have no clue what to do, and
he's about to die, and i'm stuck in an
alternate dimension... and oh christ...

<sob>... you fucker... i can't believe

<she runs away>
#cycle 1
you: boy, i feel like a heel.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Six if you want to count her brother's certain demise.

It's a bit of an odd scene, being that it's completely optional. You can just choose to get involved and kill the scientist on the assumption that he's evil.

Anyways, with that board complete, the player now has everything they need to escape from the tower! There are still four gems that haven't been picked up, so now's the time to do the final set of backtracking and collect the rest.


One skipped gem is in the coke machine. You can get it by kicking the machine five times. Every other time you kick it, it just says that nothing happens.

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Spending four gems on the viewfinder in the guava groves nets you a fifth gem.

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Running all the way back up the tower to the ya'yono vekka, is this sixth gem, which was hinted at in key keeper jenner's diary.

Our last gem is located in the library where you can sit on one of the shelves.

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That all adds up to 7 gems. Don't forget that a programming error prevents the player from picking up the 8th among the key keeper mummies. All that's left is to finally make it to the exit.


Back at the room with the exit, it's time to do something about the guard. Just raise the blow-pipe and...


And this is why there's that weird mechanic where you have to raise and lower the blow-pipe.

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Using the weird device to deflect their shot, the player can now exit the tower! Or at least, if Tucan remembered to have the guard object #die they could. You have to ?ZAP past him. I still have no idea how these two really obvious bugs weren't found, especially for a game which had an updated release!

Time to see the mystery of the lavender tower revealed in the game's ending

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