Hello, and welcome to the Journey version 2.0!
The Journey is the first of three documents detailing everything we've learned about the AI mystery so far. These documents are: The Journey, The Guide, and the Trail. The Journey is designed to give you gentle clues with which to solve the game's puzzles. The Guide is designed as a walkthrough: step by step instructions detailing how to learn everything we know about the game. The Trail is an encyclopedia, detailing every last bit of information we have learned in a comprehensive format.
While the Guide and the Trail are "spoilers," which give away or "spoil" the puzzles, the Journey is designed differently. The premise behind the Journey is that you could use it to solve all of the puzzles by yourself.
The Journey clues are initially hidden, and are revealed one by one as you click on them. The hope is that you would click on one clue, then go back and think about the puzzle for a little while before revealing the next clue. The Journey will start by telling you where to look, then go on to tell you how to think about the puzzles before you, and then, ultimately, spoil the answer.
If you, like many others, feel that The Journey is more important than the destination, then this document is for you. But there are disadvantages to playing this way. The most important disadvantage is that that the AI mystery is real time, and changes often. Things *happen* in this game. Characters move and change and grow and die. If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest goings-on in the game, then this document may not be for you.
Also, since the Cloudmakers mailing list is a spoilers-only board, if you're on the Journey, you shouldn't read or post to the list. Most content on the Cloudmakers list will not be aimed at you. You may get confused and frustrated by jumping into discussions about the newest puzzles. We especially ask that you not post old questions or material that is already covered in the Guide or the Trail.
Since you cannot use the list while you are on the Journey, you will be working largely without the community of other Cloudmakers, which now numbers in the thousands. If you're on the Journey, you are truly on your own.
If you are on the Journey, we encourage you to return to this page often, and not to agonize over puzzles for weeks before "giving up" and revealing another hint. No one has come anywhere close to solving all of these puzzles by themselves. Aside from the clues hidden in at least eight different languages, some of these puzzles require sound/image analysis software, a familiarity with HTML programming, and the capacity to recognize one line fragments from the great works of the Western Canon. Do as much as you can by yourself, but then return and help us nudge you along. You can't do all of this by yourself.
You'll also need to watch out, because there is another document in the game, not written by the Cloudmakers, which also gives away the answers to some puzzles. That document is "The Story So Far." If you want to find things out for yourself and not have them spoiled for you, don't read that document!
In the original version of the Journey, we had intended to model the Journey on the basis of the Guide, so that Episodes in the Journey would loosely match up with Recaps in the Guide. Since then, we've decided that this would be too difficult, so we're trying something else.
The first part of the Journey is called "Getting Started." It gets you familiar with the game and the style of the Journey.
The second part of the Journey is called "Site-Seeing." This part of the Journey helps you to find every website in the game on your own. The only puzzles that you solve in this section are the puzzles you have to solve in order to have a complete bookmark list of every website in the game.
The next step is just to explore all the sites you've found. Learn as much as you can, solve whatever puzzles you can. Then come back here and try revealing some clues. The clues won't explicitly instruct you to do so, but each time you solve a puzzle, read and explore what you find. Try to solve the mystery yourself in your head, and use the clues before you in your speculation. Linger before moving on to the next puzzle.
The final part of the Journey, and the most substantial part, is the Map, which covers the puzzles themselves. (The Journey lets you speculate on their significance for yourself.) You can access the questions in any order, though some clues will inform you that a given puzzle cannot be solved until you've solved another puzzle.
In many cases we will add fake questions along with the real clues to the game. That way, the mere presence of a question will not be a spoiler. Since you, honest traveler, will only reveal a clue if you are stuck, you need never reveal the answers to these fake questions.
Good luck! The Journey begins here!
-Dan Fabulich and Andrea Phillips
Since version 1.0, too much has changed to begin to count. A lot may be wrong. Most of the funny questions are missing. In the future, I hope to include some of the currently unsolvable puzzles, including a mock-up of the ARM Rally puzzles. For now, however, I'm going to bed. - Dan.