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MacRumors
Aug 24, 2013, 12:27 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/08/24/dystopian-text-based-puzzler-blackbar-arrives-in-app-store/)


Developer Neven Mrgn (http://mrgan.tumblr.com), one half of The Incident (http://bigbucketsoftware.com/theincident/) developer Big Bucket Games, has released his new text-based dystopian sci-fi game, Blackbar (http://mrgan.com/blackbar/).

The game, which was co-developed by James Moore of Panic (http://www.panic.com), has similar traits to old text-based adventure games and interactive fiction. Players will become Vi, deciphering a series of letters from Kenty, an employee of the fictional Department of Communication. Letters are filled with blacked out words that must be filled in to progress through the game, eventually leading to a larger conspiracy. Blackbar is a text game: a sci-fi story of a dystopian future told through the medium of word puzzles. Reminiscent of text adventures and interactive fiction, it has a unique mechanic centered around the concept of censorship. Censorship is frustrating, but the human spirit can beat that frustration by turning it into a game.

You'll pick up and understand Blackbar instantly; however, its challenges will keep you searching, thinking, and trying for days.http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2013/08/blackbar.png
Our sister site TouchArcade played Blackbar and thought (http://toucharcade.com/2013/08/23/check-out-blackbar-a-new-text-based-adventure-from-one-of-the-creators-of-the-incident/) it was a fun and "incredibly interesting" game:
I'm expecting many more twists and turns throughout the story, all based around deciphering the censorship you're being subjected to. It's incredibly interesting so far. As strange as it sounds, just trying to discover what the censored words are is actually really fun too.Blackbar (http://appshopper.com/games/blackbar) is available for $2.99 for the iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blackbar/id672002602?mt=8)]

Article Link: Dystopian Text-Based Puzzler 'Blackbar' Arrives in App Store (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/08/24/dystopian-text-based-puzzler-blackbar-arrives-in-app-store/)



gage006
Aug 24, 2013, 01:02 PM
Vi? Rather play as Emacs.

fredfnord
Aug 24, 2013, 01:50 PM
Vi? Rather play as Emacs.

That'd be no fun. You just C-x M-c M-unblank-text and it gives you all the answers.

Frign
Aug 24, 2013, 02:13 PM
Vi? Rather play as Emacs.

VI VI VI :eek:

Join the Church of Emacs!
There is no system but GNU, and Linux is one of its kernels.

Toppa G's
Aug 24, 2013, 04:31 PM
I thought this game looked fun. I downloaded it and seem to have come to the end within only a couple hours of noncontinuous play...a bit spendy at $2.99 if that's really the end. :confused:

iphonehype
Aug 24, 2013, 07:39 PM
Anyone help with this?

Stuck!!

Edit: department...solved! Gosh this game is addictive!!

TheManInBlack
Aug 24, 2013, 10:44 PM
I thought this game looked fun. I downloaded it and seem to have come to the end within only a couple hours of noncontinuous play...a bit spendy at $2.99 if that's really the end. :confused:

I got to a screen that said "the end" with button to "play again" after about an hour or two. It was fun, but I agree one should be able to get more than an hour or two of gameplay out of the game that's $2.99

arian19
Aug 24, 2013, 11:00 PM
I'm stuck! Help!

TheManInBlack
Aug 24, 2013, 11:15 PM
I'm stuck! Help!

Do the same

ArtOfWarfare
Aug 24, 2013, 11:40 PM
I got to a screen that said "the end" with button to "play again" after about an hour or two. It was fun, but I agree one should be able to get more than an hour or two of gameplay out of the game that's $2.99

If it's good, $2.99 isn't bad for an hour or two of gameplay. At that price, I'd expect it to yield about 5-10% as much gameplay as a console game. Console games normally take 20-50 hours, so I would expect 1-5 hours of (excellent) gameplay for $2.99.

Personally, this doesn't look like my type of game.

Ramychan
Aug 25, 2013, 03:26 AM
I'm stuck! Can anyone help?

Watabou
Aug 25, 2013, 03:42 AM
Vi? Rather play as Emacs.

Why would you download a whole another operating system to play the game. Just use vim. :cool:
iOS even has Vim on the App Store!

batchtaster
Aug 25, 2013, 04:43 AM
The stupidly-capitalized text on the right could be written by any idiot teenager on Facebook.

EDIT: scratch that. Not enough spelling errors.

iphonehype
Aug 25, 2013, 08:09 AM
I'm stuck! Help!

Do the same

----------

I'm stuck! Can anyone help?

Think protection in America.

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Anyone help with the riddle ?

andyw2004
Aug 25, 2013, 08:22 AM
I'm stuck! Can anyone help?

weapon

seamer
Aug 25, 2013, 12:25 PM
Vi is for people who never grasped the awesome that is pico. :D

OtherJesus
Aug 25, 2013, 12:46 PM
.99 cents and I'm in. Not $3.

kas23
Aug 25, 2013, 01:37 PM
Man, I can't even get past the word after "silly", where is says "Just _____!"

whooleytoo
Aug 25, 2013, 05:02 PM
Vi? Rather play as Emacs.

Eggsackly.. I'm not a Vi, I'm a free man!

Wondering if people will get the reference...

iphonehype
Aug 25, 2013, 05:14 PM
Man, I can't even get past the word after "silly", where is says "Just _____!"

Screen shot ?

quantumbyte
Aug 25, 2013, 06:23 PM
I've been trying for 24 hours with no success to find one single 4-letter word. I don't want to spoil it for anyone (hence no screenshot), so if you're already there you'll know. I'm on the one with the "correctional levity" and for the life of me I can't find the word that goes into:

"there was nothing but pain for her on this ____ of consciousness."

It's a 4 letter word, anyone feeling charitable?

I even downloaded a list of 4 letter words for scrabble and tried a few dozen (in addition to several dozen I tried before) and then I just came here, looking for friendly advise. :)

TheManInBlack
Aug 25, 2013, 06:31 PM
I've been trying for 24 hours with no success to find one single 4-letter word. I don't want to spoil it for anyone (hence no screenshot), so if you're already there you'll know. I'm on the one with the "correctional levity" and for the life of me I can't find the word that goes into:

"there was nothing but pain for her on this ____ of consciousness."

It's a 4 letter word, anyone feeling charitable?

I even downloaded a list of 4 letter words for scrabble and tried a few dozen (in addition to several dozen I tried before) and then I just came here, looking for friendly advise. :)

The word you're looking for starts with the letter 's'.

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Man, I can't even get past the word after "silly", where is says "Just _____!"

In a few places in the game there is more than one word that you can enter in the spot that is considered correct. Such as on the first page both the words censored and redacted will work in spot.

I had a little trouble finding the Place where you were talking about because I use the word crazy instead of silly.

The word you're looking for starts with a 'K'.

iphonehype
Aug 25, 2013, 08:47 PM
Finally game completed. If you needs hints post pics. My brain is seriously damaged after this game so can only refer to pics for help. Sorry lol.

quantumbyte
Aug 25, 2013, 08:50 PM
[QUOTE=TheManInBlack;17786963]The word you're looking for starts with the letter 's'.[COLOR="#808080"]

Thank you! That made all the difference! And thanks for not just giving it away :)

I reached the end. I must echo the sentiment that I wish it had more chapters.

adnbek
Aug 25, 2013, 10:14 PM
I wish they had made the font bigger for ipad... such a waste of space.
Now I wish I had started on my phone instead. :p

Stuck here. Any help?

talmy
Aug 25, 2013, 10:24 PM
Stuck on "At the very least, I'll xxxx xxxx xxxx xxx to come down and see mom." Just two many words in a row. Help?

Ramychan
Aug 25, 2013, 11:33 PM
Think protection in America.

weapon
Thank you both! :D

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Stuck on "At the very least, I'll xxxx xxxx xxxx xxx to come down and see mom." Just two many words in a row. Help?

When you go on vacation you "xxxx xxxx xxxx xxx" from work. Does that help? ;)

TheManInBlack
Aug 25, 2013, 11:46 PM
I wish they had made the font bigger for ipad... such a waste of space.
Now I wish I had started on my phone instead. :p

Stuck here. Any help?


Three well known English idioms, each phrase contains a digit where the x, y, or z is in the sentence. The answer is the three digits in order.

(The third idiom is from the bible, the book of revelation, though depending on which translation you look at it may not be phrased exactly like that)

trilaemasu
Aug 26, 2013, 02:29 AM
I've gotten stuck on the one with two three letter words censored and a picture of two women in swimsuits.

adnbek
Aug 26, 2013, 06:17 AM
Three well known English idioms, each phrase contains a digit where the x, y, or z is in the sentence. The answer is the three digits in order.

(The third idiom is from the bible, the book of revelation, though depending on which translation you look at it may not be phrased exactly like that)

Ah I see. Thanks!

Nomar
Aug 26, 2013, 07:47 AM
[QUOTE=TheManInBlack;17786963]The word you're looking for starts with the letter 's'.[COLOR="#808080"]

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Need another hint on this one please!

talmy
Aug 26, 2013, 07:50 AM
Thank you both! :D

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When you go on vacation you "xxxx xxxx xxxx xxx" from work. Does that help? ;)

Thanks, that did it!

Just a general observation -- some blanks can be filled in with different words. I quit the program and restarted and some blanks had different words than I used. So there is some flexibility.

RichTF
Aug 26, 2013, 08:11 AM
Stuck on:
“Starting today my job title is no longer Department Listener, but --------- Department Listener …”

Something along the lines of “junior” or “deputy”, but 9 letters…? Or am I on the wrong track completely? :confused:

abooty94
Aug 26, 2013, 08:15 AM
Stuck on:
“Starting today my job title is no longer Department Listener, but --------- Department Listener …”

Something along the lines of “junior” or “deputy”, but 9 letters…? Or am I on the wrong track completely? :confused:

Assistant :)

iMerik
Aug 26, 2013, 09:17 AM
Thanks, that did it!

Just a general observation -- some blanks can be filled in with different words. I quit the program and restarted and some blanks had different words than I used. So there is some flexibility.
Good observation. So you weren't the mostest right on some of them?

talmy
Aug 26, 2013, 10:02 AM
Good observation. So you weren't the mostest right on some of them?

Looks that way! An example: the word "censored" while an obvious(?) choice in a story about censorship should actually be "redacted". I had some others as well.

Why does the "Stranger and Friend" with an uncensored communication channel have words redacted? And aren't we (as Vi) being stupid to discuss with Kenty about the censorship, which ironically is her job, in violation of article D-1099? Seems about as dangerous as discussing rewriting news articles with Winston Smith.

hobbbz
Aug 26, 2013, 11:01 AM
I thought this game looked fun. I downloaded it and seem to have come to the end within only a couple hours of noncontinuous play...a bit spendy at $2.99 if that's really the end. :confused:

A latte at my local coffee shop costs $3.85. That drink entertains me minimally for about 45 minutes.

This game which 2 people put months of work into costs $2.99 and is playable for a couple hours and really tickles your brainparts.

iMerik
Aug 26, 2013, 11:58 AM
A latte at my local coffee shop costs $3.85. That drink entertains me minimally for about 45 minutes.

This game which 2 people put months of work into costs $2.99 and is playable for a couple hours and really tickles your brainparts.
Very good point that should be made over and over again. Or maybe they could have made it free with iAds at the bottom and even filling the whole screen once in a while so you accidentally click one and get taken to Safari.

I know I would likely buy more games and other apps if I could demo them first. It doesn't have to be much of a demo at all; just enough to give me a feel for what I'm paying for that the screen shots and reviews can't do.

RichTF
Aug 26, 2013, 12:19 PM
Assistant :)

Dammit, of course! Thanks very much. :)

arian19
Aug 26, 2013, 02:59 PM
Three well known English idioms, each phrase contains a digit where the x, y, or z is in the sentence. The answer is the three digits in order.

(The third idiom is from the bible, the book of revelation, though depending on which translation you look at it may not be phrased exactly like that)


But x is the 15 character in the first sentence... and each one has a double digit... you only have 3 digits you can put. What am I not seeing?

Toppa G's
Aug 26, 2013, 03:11 PM
A latte at my local coffee shop costs $3.85. That drink entertains me minimally for about 45 minutes.

This game which 2 people put months of work into costs $2.99 and is playable for a couple hours and really tickles your brainparts.

I was comparing to other iOS games, not other forms of entertainment. I can count on one hand the number of games I've paid more than $1.99 for on iOS. The other games in this category for me were much more involved graphically and took far longer to play through, and thus would have required far greater resources on the creation side than this game.

That said, I did enjoy the game, but I was simply surprised at the short amount of time it took to reach the end. Based on the description saying "its challenges will keep you searching, thinking, and trying for days," I was hoping for something that I could pick up and play for a while over a longer period of time, and this game did not deliver that.

----------

But x is the 15 character in the first sentence... and each one has a double digit... you only have 3 digits you can put. What am I not seeing?

In the idioms, "x", "y" and "z" are stand-ins for single-digit numbers.

Heyi886
Aug 26, 2013, 06:33 PM
Apology in advance, on my phone at the moment so I can't post a screenshot.

Stuck on

"My commanding officer is ... Hard to please picky tough (9 letter word)"

Thanks anyone for the help

TheManInBlack
Aug 26, 2013, 08:40 PM
I've gotten stuck on the one with two three letter words censored and a picture of two women in swimsuits.

you probably won't find anyone who will help you with this one it's close to The End.

Replica33981
Aug 26, 2013, 09:47 PM
Apology in advance, on my phone at the moment so I can't post a screenshot.

Stuck on

"My commanding officer is ... Hard to please picky tough (9 letter word)"

Thanks anyone for the help

I'm also stuck on this one..

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Difficult lol

hobbbz
Aug 26, 2013, 09:58 PM
I was comparing to other iOS games, not other forms of entertainment. I can count on one hand the number of games I've paid more than $1.99 for on iOS. The other games in this category for me were much more involved graphically and took far longer to play through, and thus would have required far greater resources on the creation side than this game.

That said, I did enjoy the game, but I was simply surprised at the short amount of time it took to reach the end. Based on the description saying "its challenges will keep you searching, thinking, and trying for days," I was hoping for something that I could pick up and play for a while over a longer period of time, and this game did not deliver that.

Here's what i put on reddit about it:

If I put my hours into a piece of work, I charge for it.
the only way to change the 99c glut in the app store is to change it. I charge what I do for my work mostly because that's what it's worth and partly to keep away anyone who would pay less.

Heyi886
Aug 27, 2013, 02:03 AM
I'm also stuck on this one..

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Difficult lol

Yeah I just got it as well lol I kept thinking its word related to bastard or something

pfb
Aug 27, 2013, 10:12 AM
Really???

Will all the oBSeQuiouS reviews, I expected so much more. There is little to no mental imagery in this text game, combined with odd language usage that reads like a Nigerian scam letter and an abrupt ending that gave me the impression the writer did absolutely as little as possible before publishing the app.

Puzzle solutions vacillate between obvious and obscure, rarely causing any more mental challenge than guesswork. Upon figuring the correct answer, my reaction was more often "Really,? That was stupid..." rather than "Wow! That was clever!”.

Total ██ ██ ██ ██ ██ ██ ██ waste of time (and $3).

Author should go play some old-school text games and learn how it’s done…

THE END.

talmy
Aug 27, 2013, 11:26 AM
Really???

Will all the oBSeQuiouS reviews, I expected so much more. There is little to no mental imagery in this text game, combined with odd language usage that reads like a Nigerian scam letter and an abrupt ending that gave me the impression the writer did absolutely as little as possible before publishing the app.

Puzzle solutions vacillate between obvious and obscure, rarely causing any more mental challenge than guesswork. Upon figuring the correct answer, my reaction was more often "Really,? That was stupid..." rather than "Wow! That was clever!”.

Total ██ ██ ██ ██ ██ ██ ██ waste of time (and $3).

Author should go play some old-school text games and learn how it’s done…

THE END.

I agree! Having just finished, it fails because it's almost completely linear (only one branch), is inconsistent (messages on clear channels still have censored parts, and censored parts aren't necessarily worthy of censorship based on the explanations given by the Department) and has a weak ending.

Really good text adventures, and you have to back to the 1970's and early 1980's to find them, have vivid descriptions, varied puzzles, and many alternative paths to the finish. They take a great deal of time to craft and debug.

This one? Well, you basically write a story, and remove some random words.

adhoc13
Aug 27, 2013, 02:29 PM
People have already posted on here that you have to be an idiot to figure these out. Well, I'm not an idiot and I need help figuring them out. Can someone help? Thanks so much loves.

talmy
Aug 27, 2013, 02:51 PM
People have already posted on here that you have to be an idiot to figure these out. Well, I'm not an idiot and I need help figuring them out. Can someone help? Thanks so much loves.

Most of these can be discovered with use of a thesaurus and websites giving quotations. It also helps that the writing style is uniform. Short ones you can figure out by trial and error. Then there is always the ultimate resource, Google search for "Blackbar walkthrough". :)

adhoc13
Aug 27, 2013, 06:19 PM
Talmy I should have referrenced the subject line of my post. I have the grasp of the general "game" play, but I'm puzzled on the "safe" channels and the code that appears to be there. I know it can't all be guess and check... or maybe it is. Im stumped. Help?

talmy
Aug 27, 2013, 06:29 PM
Talmy I should have referrenced the subject line of my post. I have the grasp of the general "game" play, but I'm puzzled on the "safe" channels and the code that appears to be there. I know it can't all be guess and check... or maybe it is. Im stumped. Help?

It is all guess and check.

ahbiteme
Aug 29, 2013, 12:56 AM
I got to the screen where I had to enter the character's first name to comply and did so. I thought the ending was pretty weak.

But then I went back and instead of putting in Vi, I put in "NO".

Try it.

talmy
Aug 29, 2013, 11:48 AM
I got to the screen where I had to enter the character's first name to comply and did so. I thought the ending was pretty weak.

But then I went back and instead of putting in Vi, I put in "NO".

Try it.

IMHO, the ending is still weak. The Department is pretty lame if they don't follow through with any threats.

ahbiteme
Aug 29, 2013, 10:53 PM
IMHO, the ending is still weak. The Department is pretty lame if they don't follow through with any threats.

True, but it makes me wonder if there are other branches that might not have been discovered yet. It's still far less complex than the great text-based games of the 80s and thereabouts, but it's not a terrible game. However, if we haven't missed anything along the way, then I agree with previous commenters that it's expensive for what it is. But still, for $3, I got a few hours of entertainment out of it. Can't get much else that lasts for hours for $3 these days.