Level of the Month
Each month, we take a closer look at excellent Enigma levels. Excellent levels are those with the highest average user ratings and the greatest number of ratings altogether. Thus it is your vote that determines the Level of the Month. So please rate the levels you play and do not forget to submit your ratings together with your scores at the end of each month. You can find all previous Levels of the Month in our archive.
March 2008: “Psycho Pushing” by Sven Siggelkow
Dear Visitor, please do not make any unnecessary noises as we enter Enigma's mental asylum. As you know, today's lunatic not only has a split personality, but a Cantor set of multiple identities. Our March Level of the Month bears this in mind. As you will see, each of our four buildings is split into two separate cells for our guests. Don't worry; most of them are quite harmless, sedate inhabitants of our institution. Just take care that you don't end up committed here as a psycho as well, when you try to push the patients into their beds. Welcome to “Psycho Pushing!”
Enigma V # 45 - Psycho Pushing
Not much has changed during the last month in the user ratings; indeed, all ratings were stable, with “Island Labyrinth” and “Quadropolis” jointly leading the list. “Psycho Pushing” enters at position 11, just behind “Big Adventures”.
“It took Tarim back to his student days”
Yes, our stones in Enigma have a pretty hard time. Being pushed around by careless marbles, falling forever into dark abysses, having to hide objects the marble is desperately searching for, going postal already as a young seed, or floating forever in cold water … and whenever something goes wrong, it's their fault. And although most stones tolerate this treatment in their own stoic way, in “Psycho Pushing”, Sven Siggelkow took care of those stones, who just couldn't take it anymore.
“Psycho Pushing” is Sven Siggelkow's beautifully designed study in compressed perplexity. Eight tiny Sokoban style puzzles, and each one impossible, no matter how you look at it—until, finally, that moment of inspiration dawns. It took Tarim back to his student days. Moving home involved shifting all his furniture into a spatially-challenged room and then re-arranging it while all the time leaving space to stand in. And, when he was finally finished, still being able to get out of the door to go to the pub.
Not being fleet-of-mouse, Tarim didn't even think of racing to follow the boulder into TopLeftOne from the switch. There had to be another way … The wand in TopLeftTwo must be the answer! But getting that involved solving TopLeftOne—unless Tarim could extricate a couple of wood blocks from TopRightTwo and sneak across the flooded back-door of TopLeftTwo. Such was the power of this level in making Tarim believe the impossible could be made possible—this was the way he eventually solved it …
If you hurry up, you can see the warden entering the first cell of our complex. Two guards secure the cell while the warden is inside. The three inmates of this cell suffer from amnesia from being hit too hard, and always forget where their beds are. In the cell on the right, we have three kleptomaniacs, who had to hide objects below them in some unnamed nightmarishly level. Please be careful, you never know what items they might have brought here. Last time they managed to hide a snowman in their cell, which consequently melted … please take care not to slip on the wet floor.
“'Psycho Pushing' became one of my favorite levels”
The next cell is inhabited by some compulsive gamblers on detox. Oh, they are nice fellows, they worked as turnstiles some months ago. Bring along something round for them to play, and you'll be welcome. And take care not to run into the other warden. The inmates of the next cell however, are pyromaniacs, former walls, that had to stand near explosives for too long. Let's hope they did not mix those cleaning agents again … they always try to escape this way.
In the years since I started playing this level, no other level has caused me such conflicting emotions.
First I became simply frustrated as I was not fast enough with my marble to enter the upper left puzzle before the seeds close the gate. I saw all these nice, challenging sokoban-like puzzles, but I had to go back improving my skills on the many other levels that I still had to solve.
After quite a time I returned to this level. I no longer had any major problems entering the puzzles and I really enjoyed them. “Psycho Pushing” became one of my favorite levels.
But then I discovered some shortcuts to some of the puzzles. I really got disappointed. All these nice puzzles and you must circumvent some of them to get a low score? I thought that the shortcuts have to be fixed.
BANG, BOOM, BANG!
But with the time I found more and more shortcuts. I started wondering if they were an intended alternative solution. Detecting and thinking about how to combine the shortcuts became a challenge of its own. Looking at my world record score in easy mode you may imagine that I did not solve many of the 8 mini sokobans by pushing. Can you guess how many? - Just one and a half! A half? Yes, as I do not have the need to push all stones onto the triggers I need a just fraction of time.
Finally Sven did fix the shortcuts after admitting that they are quite interesting. So if you like to investigate this unplanned alternatives do it at once. You will likely be much faster than me in pushing and rushing through the puzzles! But nevertheless I am looking forward to the fixed version. Congratulations and thanks to Sven for this challenging level.
The inmates of the first cell on the Southern side of our asylum must remain locked up, as they suffer from dementia. They once were boulder stones, and still tend to wander around, until they suddenly get astray and don't know where they are. Thus we better keep them in their cells, so they don't get into troubles. Which happens quite easily, their neighbors being overly aggressive Borderline personalities. They once worked for the security firm Knight, until an &hellip accident at work … forced them to retire. Perfectly armed to face all possible kinds of irruptions (e.g. with an it-hammer), they all had to surrender to an it-sword wielding marble. They are still convinced of their invincibility, and are totally unable to cope with this trauma. Since then they live in the delusion, the encounter would have been a draw. This immense inner conflict between delusion and reality causes an abnormal, latent aggression. Please be very careful when you speak to them, one step into the wrong direction and their impulsive emotions and actions might injure you.
“'Psycho Pushing' resulted from studying the old Oxyd levels again”
The seventh cell is for those of our guests, who are abnormally claustrophobic. They worked in Sokoban levels once, but have been deliberately pushed into some unreachable corner. We made the cell from glass, with large inner spaces, and it seems to work quite well. We even replaced the door by some kind of bridge system, so they don't have the feeling of being locked away. Their neighbors &hellip a severe form of dissoziative identity disorder. They think of themselves being other types of stones, and mimic them. That's what often happens to stones that don't fit to their surrounding design, very tragic. Please don't ask why there are four beds for only three inmates: Sometimes one of them hides so well that we can't find him anymore …
And now, some words from the director and founder of this intricate institution:
Wow, it really is a long time ago that I created this level. I had to think it over for a while, but then I remembered: It was back in July 2003 that I finished “Psycho Pushing”. It was published besides 16 others of my levels with the 0.81 release of Enigma.
Oh, an extra life, very good;
those walls are somewhat frightening …
I came to Enigma through the original Oxyd by Meinolf Schneider. I devoured every Oxyd game on my old Atari ST about 20 years ago. Besides having to seek for the magic codes in the book, most of the disappointment I experienced while playing the games, was coming of the restriction to play the levels in a given order. Only after having finished one level, you were allowed to play the next one.
I always preferred the link game, in which you have to solve the level together. I am looking forward to see this feature in Enigma, because it really is a most unique experience.
After having played the old games several times, I stumbled across a very early version of Enigma, and I decided to share my Oxyd knowledge in the form of bug reports to the developers. I was very tempted to bring the project forward, but how?
“Psycho Pushing” and many of the ideas for my other levels resulted from studying the old Oxyd levels again. All of them were just one screen in size like the 6 meditation landscapes for instance, of which I myself find “What's the problem” most remarkable. With “Psycho Pushing” which was only just the third level I created, I tried to develop “a bigger than one screen” level with several different floors, items and stones. Maybe, that's why I hid several useless items under the stones near the border. And only one of these items, the umbrella, makes these shortcuts possible, mentioned by Ronald a short while ago. But of course, only sly foxes can profit from this.
I lost sight of Enigma, but recently I inspired my six year old daughter to play Enigma. With a little pride I can tell her that some of the levels are made by me. Since I got enthusiastic again, it is possible that you will see some more levels by me.
Many thanks to the DEV-team: Continue with your good work und keep your tail up!
And many thanks to you, Sven, for this fabulous level, with its eight ambitious challenges! And for making us the greatest gift: A new fan!
Finally, a word in personal matters. On behalf of Harry and myself, I want to thank all of you, our faithful readers, out there for being with us through the last year. Together with Clifford, with Yuriy, and Joe, we managed 12 articles about the best levels in Enigma. However, I'm sorry to announce that this LotM will be the last LotM penned by me for a long time. I will now “return to the source”, as Enigma 1.1 is desperately trying to hatch, and help Ronald and Raoul to make this happen. And to write some new levels myself, something I lost sight of during the last year. Harry decided to spend more of his time with the real important things in life like further investigating into “The Golden Path Of Level Solving” or studying “The Marbler's Guide Through The Level Packs” - or taking care of his towel collection. Nothing can be more frustrating - besides playing “Worse Nightmare” - than missing a starship trip because one's towel's not in good shape. But as long as he's crawling on this planet's face, he has offered his services to the Enigmian Community as a member of the editorial staff. And there to support and to advise future authors, and once in a while to contribute a comment or an article hisself.
Which means: We will provide an editorial staff to publish articles and players' comments from you, our readers. If you love Enigma, and love to write, please, send us an article about the level you most admire, or can identify yourself with. You can send it to us in English, German or Russian. And there's no obligation for you for further articles, of course. However, dear reader, please remember: If you don't write this article, noone will.
If you can't decide which level you want to depict, here are four levels, which have very high ratings and would have become the next Levels of the Months:
Please, send articles and comments to us, as a gamer as well as an author of such a great level, to:
Thank you for your commitment, the future of the LotM depends on YOU!