Spot the Difference
You know, games teach us a lot of things. They teach us to kill everything we see, to ignore the rules of society and to pick off our victims from the shadows, like a strangely intelligent and rabid bat. Sometimes, I'm a bat with a sniper rifle. And that's why it's illegal for me to go outside on Halloween.
Maybe the most important thing that games teach us is to think critically and examine everything we see carefully. That's the strength of Spot the Difference, the latest offering from the dream team of Brian Mooney and Sean Hawkes. Personally, I've been following their exploits for years, ever since I first discovered One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others in high school. Needless to say, they don't disappoint with their newest game.
Spot the Difference features an innovative dual-screen interface. On one side, a picture. On the other, the same picture — or is it? That conflict drives the whole game, just like the decision of whether or not to kill the Little Sisters drove Bioshock. In fact, Bioshock's influence is really obvious at times, as Spot the Difference is just as ethically complex. As the game goes on, you'll find yourself doubting your own senses, wondering if you can trust the game's reality. In fact, the only flaw I encountered was that sometimes this existentialism went a little far; often I found myself staring at the screen for hours, eventually clicking on a pixel that seemed to move before realizing that it was the reflection of my own face in my monitor.
I was particularly impressed with Hawkes' UI. The game clones your mouse pointer, so that your mouse movements are reflected in both windows. Like chess, Spot the Difference is easy to pick up and hard to master. The number of differences still in the pictures is always shown in the top left corner of the panel: later in the game, you'll find yourself clicking frantically to get all the differences before, well, you'll just have to see for yourself. The walkthrough is always available from the bottom of the screen, glowing like a reassuring pumpkin in the October night. But you won't need it after the first level, because the gameplay will grip you like a vise.
The game's story is subtle and engaging, communicated entirely through differences in the images you're given. At first, it's just a test of your perception. But after a particularly tricky river-themed level, you're contacted by Alana, your mute character's female counterpart. She, too, is trapped in a room, being forced to spot the differences between pictures — but to what sinister end? I don't want to spoil the ending, so I'll say nothing more than this: April Fools.
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Spot the Difference Walkthrough
First, some general tips:
Examine every picture carefully. You never know what almost-hidden object might be different or even absent.
Careful where you put your mouse. It's easy to lose things underneath it. I found my keys while playing this game.
The ads are provided as a training session for the game. Be sure to inspect each one carefully.
If you go out for Halloween, don't spend your time in a clock tower. People get the wrong impression.
This is a somewhat challenging beginning, so don't get frustrated if you stare at it for ten minutes or more, like I did.
Here's a hint: the difference is in a grouping of balls that is a prime number.
It's also next to a purple one.
The key difference in this one is in the shadows. Scrutinize them carefully. It will lead you to the hotspot.
If you're colourblind, get a friend or pet to help you.
Another hint: the fan expresses the Golden Ratio. The Golden Ratio is a ratio found throughout nature, and some scientists say it's mostly responsible for our perception of beauty. Is the pinwheel beautiful?
This one should be obvious. Look at the skyline.
Still don't get it? Ask your pet to look at it again.
Another hint: George III once shook hands with a tree.
This one's tough. Something to think about: Mars lacks the electromagnetic field to have a proper blue sky. Theirs is kind of mauve.
Something strange about that mountain? Remind you of a certain Stephen Spielberg film?
Last hint: It's on the ground behind the Mars Rover.
Okay, this one isn't that bad. All you have to do is remember one thing: People who drink coffee are insanely consistent. Breaking a coffee fiend from his routine is more dangerous than baiting a tiger. Also, this page is optimized for the reflexes of a caffeinated person; click each difference as fast and as often as possible, like checking Facebook and Twitter.
Cafes are generally very diligent about keeping their seats from being replaced with banana crème pies.
The sound system is not according to fire code.
That family has one too many members. (two clues)
The transdimensional mirrors are not working properly, instead functioning as the more prosaic reflective mirrors.
There are four thousand rocks in this picture. The hotspot is one of them - and not the one you'd think at first. I fell into that trap too.
Follow the Fibbonaci method of counting. Breed some rabbits and use them to predict the hotspot.
If you don't get this after ten minutes, Alana shows up for the first time. Follow her instructions and you'll bypass the level.
After the riverbed scene, Alana connects you to the feed outside of her room. Listen carefully to what she says.
The key here is the difference between the fingerprints on the keypads. There's a pattern to the guard's code.
After freeing Alana, it's a short but difference-filled ride to the exciting conclusion. The differences from here on are fairly obvious, so I'll leave it to you to find them. Feel free to email me if you're still stuck.
Posted by: Karl | April 1, 2010 11:43 AM
Spot the Difference Walkthrough
The number in the upper left corner indicates the number of differences left to find.
Each section in this walkthrough will also let you know the number of differences.
The differences can be subtle, so look closely.
The rounds become more difficult as they progress.
A few of the differences are color based, so there will be directions for the colorblind.
The candies are in rough "columns".
Third "column" in from the left, fourth candy down. One candy is blue, the other green.
One of the petals in the artificial flower is different.
The petal in the 9:00 position is blue in one picture, violet in another.
On the branch in the foreground is a bird.
The bird on the left is yellow, the bird on the right is red.
In the foreground on the left, there is an object just below the horizon on the right. This is a mars rover.
In the same position on the right picture is a child.
This one is on a timer, so click quickly.
The five differences are:
There is an extra chair at the table at the lower left of the picture.
On the table in the lower left of the picture, there is an extra coffee cup near the corner.
At the bar, the chair farthest to the right has a different colored seat.
Above the mirror behind the bar is a circular mirror, which is blacked out in the picture on the right.
Above the bar mirror, there is an extra speaker in the right picture, just to the right of what looks like a CD player.
I told you to click fast.
Faster than that.
As fast as is humanly possible.
This one is subtle, so look closely.
Look closely in the upper left of the left picture.
You are looking for the symbol Eka derived from the Devangari numeral system. It's faint, but it is there.
The symbol came to modern usage originally from India to the North African Arabs, and finally to Europe.
That would be the number 1.
But you don't press the 1, it is just a clue, since there is a 1 in both pictures.
Think Fibonacci, since the number 1 is the only number in the Fibonacci sequence that repeats twice.
Apply a Fibonacci spiral to the picture, it should lead you to the hotspot.
If you can't find the spot, remember to wait 10 minutes for Alana to show up, and she will point out the hot spot.
You do know it's April Fool's Day, right?
Posted by: grinnyp | April 1, 2010 2:03 PM