Too Much Free Time

Discussion and reviews of games for NES, Intellivision, DOS, and others.

Posts Tagged ‘invisiclues’

Super Scribblenauts Invisiclues

Posted by Tracy Poff on February 24, 2016

In lieu of a game review, I want to mention a little toy I made the other day. Back in the days of Infocom, you could get hints for the games in the form of “InvisiClues“, which were hints written in invisible ink you could reveal with a special marker. This was handy, since it meant you wouldn’t see hints for puzzles you still wanted to solve on your own. The hints were broken up into a series of several individual clues, so you could reveal only the first if you just needed a little help, or reveal them all to see the exact solution to a puzzle.

The days of Infocom games and InvisiClues are behind us, but the format was popular enough that people wrote hints for later games in the same style. The Universal Hint System is a commercial product that provides clues in this style for a large number of games, including quite a variety: there are hints for adventure games like Zork, of course, but also games of other genres, such as Civilization, Super Mario 64, and Dragon Age II.

I happen to like this style of hint, too, so I wrote a bit of javascript and HTML to display hints like this, and adapted my walkthrough of the first constellation of Super Scribblenauts as a demonstration. It uses a feature of HTML that’s not supported by the current version of Firefox (support is scheduled to be added in a few months, and it’s in the nightly versions already), so it won’t display quite correctly for Firefox users, but modern versions of Chrome, Opera, and Safari should have no trouble with it. So, if it sounds interesting, go check it out. Just click on a question to reveal the first clue, and click on the text of a clue to have the next clue in the sequence revealed. It’s not quite the same as invisible ink, but it’s my little tribute to that piece of the past.

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