The Let's Play Archive

Head AS Code

by Mix

Part 42: Lexicon

Over the course of the game, you might have seen some names or words in a different color. Those are entries being unlocked in the Lexicon; I didn't show any of them until now because the game usually goes on to explain the thing on its own, but here is the Lexicon in full for those interested. There's no visual element to it at all so, uh, sorry for it basically just being nothing but text! :v:

A/AGNOS [Character]:
Physical: This man is easily the eldest in the group. He seems extremely physically frail, and he harbors no otherworldly capabilities. The way he dresses is very strange, as if he was some sort of old knight with shoulder pads. Always with him, his bag carries his necessities. In it, one could find pencils, paper, erasers, scissors, and so on.

Psyche: This old man is never without some sort of smile. He is reticent to speak first, as he prefers gauging his approach based on a situation already in development. He calls himself a “knight of justice” and he's a good mediator.

Notes: Nobody knows if the stuff he wears is made of real gold. Maybe he's rich, maybe he's not. You decide.

Boy or Girl Paradox [Pseudoscience]:
Family #1 has two children. The older child is a girl. What is the probability that both children are girls? Family #2 has two children. At least one of them is a boy. What is the probability that both of them are boys?

To fully understand this paradox, you have to imagine both cases as a table, where the first column would be “older child” with “younger child” as the second. The first question only has two possible cases: Girl+Girl and Girl+Boy, making it 1/2. In the second, all of these are possible: Girl=Boy, Boy+Girl, and Boy+Boy, due to the wording leaving ambiguous which one is a boy. Some argue Girl+Boy and Boy+Girl are the same... which is the core of the paradox. It gets worse if you add more children...

Braille Pens [Fiction]:
A set of 26 pens used to print braille upon a uniform surface. The writings are transparent, as the pens only solidify the matter within the air in order to create the configuration for each letter. According to the old man, these pens also had punctuation versions, but he doesn't have them with him. In truth, these pens are highly advanced technology. Extremely tiny mechanical arms work tirelessly within the pens to modify the ambient air on a molecular level until they find a configuration that allows for solid matter. If you don't like that explanation, feel free to imagine little fairies living in the pens making them all work.

Cloud Technology [Reality]:
The cloud technology, or cloud computing, is named that way after a metaphor illustrating how the information accessed by a third party is kept in another location entirely, making it available by any third party so long as they have access rights. The data may not exist on the third party device (computer, phone, laptop, etc.), but so long as the “cloud” is maintained, it is still accessible. Think of it as some sort of remote installation containing all sorts of information or data. Some people believe that this is also how the “mind” or the “soul” operates, as if the body was only a terminal for the senses. Has nothing to do with spiky haired guys wielding big swords.

E/Emily Fiction [Character]:
Physical: This girl is 27 years old. She looks quite frail and it is said that she is both blind and deaf. Despite her disabilities, she doesn't seem too fazed by the world around her. The dress she wears is a stark contrast with the headset she has, something more lifelike versus the technology she has on her head. Her hair is a strange color.

Psyche: She's a gentle and caring soul. She usually weighs her words very carefully, because she's afraid of saying the wrong thing. She's a lot smarter than she appears. Regardless of her pleasant company, she remains shrouded in mystery.

Notes: Simon qualifies her voice as “nice to hear” or even “melodious” despite it being average.

EMILYs [Fiction]:
Emily says it stands for 'Electro-autonomous Memory-driven Informal Library”, but in truth, even that acronym is a little bit of a lie. First of all, EMILYs are arguably as alive as real people, as they are a person's programming (memories and experiences) printed into a complex biotechnological brain. While they may not be artificially created without some kind of disastrous result, the memories and experiences contained within each person can be replicated by making a perfect copy of a brain's construct. Being machines, they also have unbelievable strength, as they lack any sort of limiter upon their functions. They are matured within special vats, which are more akin to 3D printers.

Ending Letters [Fiction]:
Each ending of the game is listed as a letter, beginning with the letter “A” for the first ending, and “S” for the final one. This is a stupid way of marking them, and Emily should know better, because this means she could have only labeled 26 attempts. Then again, she probably didn't expect to need so many of them, so perhaps the thought didn't occur to her.

In ending G, the twin with the Smiley helmet proclaims that “G has failed” which refers to “Attempt G” (or Ending G) and not to the other twin. Additionally, this game is named “Head AS Code” partially because it is formed of the first ending, “Ending A: Head” and the last, “Ending S: Code”.

Escape Rooms [Reality]:
The “escape the room” genre is usually referring to games containing an enclosed location where the goal is to find a way out. Various objects generally can be collected, combined, and used to achieve the escape. It is a subgenre of “adventure games” and is often used for point-and-click games. The genre was popularized with online flash games back in the 2000s. Sadly, in this game, while there are “escape the room” segments, they do not provide the ability to fully explore them manually, collect objects, and combine them to use them in various creative ways. At least Simon and the others are solving them, as they are part of the setting!

Gambler's Fallacy [Pseudoscience]:
This fallacy is the mistaken belief that you have a higher chance of turning a different result the more another particular event happens, as it is believed to be less likely to occur due to its higher frequency. For example, to someone who believes such, if you flipped a coin a dozen times, and it always landed on heads, the next toss would “most likely” be tails due to the cumulative percentage of the event not having happened yet. In reality, it is always a 50% chance in the case of a coin toss (so long as the coin is considered a 'fair coin'). For a set of dice with the probability of 1/216 to give your outcome, it will always be the same 1/216 each attempt...

God [Pseudoscience]:
The subject of God has been heavily debated among many, many minds, and over many, many years. Some say He exists, some say He does not, and the debate is primarily centered around Catholicism. The intent of this entry is not to revive that debate, but rather mention that one's definition of “God” can vastly differ between multiple accounts.

In the context of this game, “God” refers to the outside viewpoint observing the world in which it's been brought to. You could like it to the “player” or, perhaps more accurately, the “amalgam of information” by which the world exists. This is something to consider since it's mostly left unclear, and yet all things must have an explanation...

G/Greta [Character]:
Physical: This twin is a teenager. She's about as fit as you'd expect, and she doesn't have any otherworldly capabilities. Her dressing habits are the same as her sister: the two of them do so similarly on purpose. Even if she likes jeans a lot, she keeps her wardrobe varied. She keeps her hair in pigtails, as if playing up her youth.

Psyche: She's slightly shier than her sister, but while she's more innocent-looking, she still harbors an intelligence that is not to be underestimated. She's capable on her own, and the fact her sister doesn't believe that annoys her.

Note: While the twins are students, due to the month, it's expected they've reached graduation by now.

H/Hannah [Character]:
Physical: This twin is a teenager. She's about as fit as you'd expect, and she doesn't have any otherworldly capabilities. Her dressing habits are the same as her sister: the two of them do so similarly on purpose. Even if she likes jeans a lot, she keeps her wardrobe varied. She keeps her hair in pigtails, as if playing up her youth.

Psyche: She's far more hotheaded than her sister. Even if she has her own share of issues stemming from her past at school, she doesn't seem to care about it. She's the kind of person who only looks forward, and harbors a great desire to protect her sister.

Note: While the twins are students, due to the month, it's expected they've reached graduation by now.

Headset & Faceplate [Fiction]:
It is said that the headset and faceplate act as slightly painful “recreators” for the human senses. They would thus be reconstructing the hearing and vision based upon one's DNA sequence, in order to cure even absolute deafness and blindness. You could liken them to small 3D printers, even if being directly “printed” working body parts out to be numbingly painful and extremely precise.

In truth, the headset and faceplate Emily wears don't do anything by themselves, and only exist as a trick, as she is neither blind nor deaf. Their entire purpose was to do the opposite: it was to make her blind and deaf in order to not witness anything until she could “see” and “hear” again, in the good ending she planned to have.

Infinite Monkey Theorem [Pseudoscience]:
A monkey hitting strings at random on a typewriter would almost surely reproduce anything that has ever been typed, assuming it does so for an infinite amount of time, regardless of the absurdly low percentage of such an event to occur. This theorem has been subjected to rigorous examination in the past. Of note, the term “almost surely” is a mathematical term with precise meaning, and the “monkey” is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for some sort of force, device, or other that would be taking the role of the monkey. Of course, if the thought of a monkey with a typewriter floating in space long after the heat death of the universe amuses you, feel free to imagine that too.

Jasmine Caron-Bernier [Character]:
Physical: Jasmine is 24 years old. She's not especially strong, and she does not have any otherworldly capabilities. Her eyesight is fine even without her glasses, which is why she rarely looks through them. She likes to wear classy outfits doubled with a cute appeal, and she generally dyes her hair pink.

Psyche: Jasmine is as caring and supportive as a big sister. She has a good head on her shoulders, and can easily analyze someone's limits to avoid pushing them too much. She rarely hesitates, making her a truly ideal candidate for leadership.

Notes: The extent of Simon's affection towards her is unclear, but he certainly misses her after four years.

Law of Truly Large Numbers [Pseudoscience]:
Given enough samples, anything outrageous is likely to be observed. Take a thousand cats: there's a good chance, if they were all taken at random among all cats of the world, that you would find at least one that would be a black cat. Take a stroll outside every day: there's a good chance that you witness a scandal at least once in the tens of thousands of walks you'll have taken by the time you draw your last breath. Browse all millions of games on a digital storefront: there's a good chance you'll find one that you'll enjoy, such as this one.

Littlewood's Law [Pseudoscience]:
According to this law, an event with the odds of one to a million (defined as a “miracle”) can be experienced roughly once every month as a result of the observation of one event per second from an awake, alert human. However, events are not similar in nature, and the state of a common event is largely unchanging from one second to another. Also, if the change of such an event to occur is zero, it will not occur. Part of this belief can lead to confirmation bias, which is the tendency to recall only events supporting one's claim. The fact this game exists is a miracle, and it took years to make, not a single month!

Many-Worlds Interpretation [Pseudoscience]:
This vertiginous interpretation says that all possibilities split the world into a multiverse, instead of changing the course of time as it is whenever someone makes any kind of decision. It is “vertiginous” as it implies that every single microsecond of every day, the universe splits into another image of itself as a result of every single choice made by everything that has ever been, ever. This would mean the universe would exist a number of times we might not even begin to comprehend. What is the likeliest possibility? 'The universe exists an infinite number of times' or 'there is only one universe'? And if you can never get to those universes, do they really exist?

Marco Martin [Character]:
Physical: Marco is 24 years old. He's not too weak, yet he doesn't harbor any otherworldy capabilities. He generally wears a shirt with some advanced concept or another on it, always custom-made, and he never goes out without his authentic jacket. He also highly enjoys his piercings and tattoo.

Psyche: Marco can't place two words without thinking of a stupid pun or a dumb joke. In contrast with his joking nature, he's still fairly smart. He has a master's degree in a complex scientific field, which is no easy feat. Despite that, he's also very lazy.

Notes: He's been Simon's roommate for 3 years, and might harbor feelings for him, yet they are unrequited.

Marco can, and should, do better. :v:

Metro [Reality]:
The Metro of Montreal is a subway comprised of four colored lines: the orange line, which is the longest line, made of 31 stations and shaped like the letter 'U', the blue line which is made of 12 stations connected to the orange line and shaped like a lightning bolt, the green line which is made of 27 stations going across the orange and yellow lines, and the yellow line made of 3 stations mostly to connect to a city on the other side of the river. Naturally, it's impossible to include all of those stations in the game.

There are plans to add a pink line to this complex system, but those plans haven't been finalized as of 2020. If the pink line exists by 2022, apologies for the inaccuracy between reality and fiction! Feel free to imagine its existence.

Montreal [Reality]:
Situated on an island and surrounding a small mountain (Mont-Royal, from which Montreal takes its name), it is one of the biggest cities in Quebec, Canada. It's a melting pot of cultures and languages with many different ethnicities living in the same space. Its many sights such as the Old Montreal, the Botanical Garden, the Notre-Dame Basilica, St. Joseph's Oratory, and more make it a nice place for tourism. There is also the Fine Arts Museum, which Simon has visited a few times... even if he fails to understand exactly what's so great about fine arts despite studying in the subject.

Noematics [Pseudoscience]:
If you search it on the internet, you'll find that the word “noematic is an obsolete adjective relating to the understanding of something or another (more noematic/most noematic). However, that is not the primary meaning in this case. It also comes from the word “noema”, which is derived from a Greek word meaning “the things thoughts are made of” or simply “thought”. Any intentional act such as the perception of something, what one means when they do or say something, what one means when they do or say something, judging something, etc. are all noematics, and the object targeted by them is the noematic correlate. In other words, it's primarily a fancy way of saying, especially in the context of this game, “noematics are one's will and those affected”.

Perception of Existence [Pseudoscience]:
According to the Anthropic Principle, the universe exists in the way it is because there is life to observe its existence. The perception of existence draws upon that fact, but it also goes even further: for something to exist at all, it must be witnessed. There is an old saying that asks: “if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one to witness it, did it really fall?” The answer will be “no” for those who adhere to this theory. If something must be seen or heard in order to exist, then there needs a way for the observer to exist too. The question is... who is the observer?

And the answer is, naturally, God. In the context of this story, God does not willingly create: God creates by witnessing.

Placebo Effect [Pseudoscience]:
A placebo is basically a lie. Generally used in medicine, a placebo is supposed to make you believe that your body is getting better, and encourage its chemical processes to fight the symptoms of a disease. Other times, a placebo exists solely to reassure you, and the disease will be naturally extinguished. The placebo effect is the difference on the body between using a placebo and not using one.

Don't tell anyone, but Ray's medicine is a placebo, which is why it's so miraculous. In reality, he does not have a brain disease: that is, also, a placebo. He has made a placebo to fight a placebo. Interestingly, if he didn't make the medicine, he might have died by now, even if both are placebos. The power of beliefs sure is strong, don't you think?

Quantum Immortality [Pseudoscience]:
You know Schrodinger's Cat? Of course you do. Quantum Suicide, and by extension Quantum Immortality, is Schrodinger's Cat seen through the eyes of the cat. If there is an observer inside the box when the killing device triggers (or doesn't trigger), then there are two possible outcomes: one in which the observer will die (and be unable to observe), and one where the observer will survive. The former is impossible, as the universe requires an observer to exist, guaranteeing that the cat will remain alive until “event X”, which is indeterminate. This is the core of the Quantum Immortality: it means that, no matter what, the one who houses the universe's observer will not be allowed to die... or else the universe will end.

Ray [Character]:
Physical: Ray is about 50 years old. Built like a truck, he's a very tall and imposing man even if he has no otherworldly capabilities. He has an issue finding clothes that fit him, and even the suits he wears look slightly undersized. The grey growing in his hair is slowly covering the fact he's a redhead.

Psyche: Ray is a very irate man. Whenever he speaks up, he always talks harshly and directly, much to the displeasure of everyone else. In a way, that makes him reliable, since if he doesn't like you, you'll be very aware of it. Despite that, he's a teacher.

Note: He always carries around a flask with a suspicious drink. It might be alcoholic, which would explain his constant bad mood.

Schrodinger's Cat [Pseudoscience]:
Also known as the “cat box experiment”, this particular thought experiment was first brought up by Erwin Schrodinger in 1935 to make fun of quantum mechanics. Due to its popularity, you will be spared yet another explanation of the Copehagen interpretation, which is the proper name behind this theory. Instead, let's delineate the problem brought up by the cat and box problem: the point of observation (which is what measures the state as one or the other) is not properly defined. In other words, while the experiment itself outlines almost exactly how the Copenhagen interpretation functions, there is another important fact to take into consideration. What of the cat? Can't it perceive as well?

Ship of Theseus [Pseudoscience]:
Imagine an old ship. It has many travels on the sea, and requires constant repairs. The parts that are replaced eventually cover the entire ship. The question is, is this the same ship as the one you started with? Additionally, consider what to do with the spare parts now that they have been taken from the ship. If they are used to rebuild the first ship entirely, which one is the real ship: the one which had its parts entirely replaced over time, or the one made of the old parts? Are both the same ship? Was a ship cloned? Many questions, very little answers, as this depends on one's own perception. Naturally, this becomes an existential nightmare when applied to people...

Simon Fourier [Character]:
Physical: Simon is 24 years old. He's your very average guy without any otherworldly capabilities whatsoever. He actually started losing weight after beginning his work for Pizza Huit, since he eats smaller meals now as a result of it. If there's one physical thing he excels at, it's running away.

Psyche: Simon is quite the cowardly guy. He's usually struck with indecision and uncertainties, and he very often imagines worst case scenarios which only feeds into that. Regardless of his nature, he maintains his composure well even if he's a wreck.

Note: Yep, that's me. You're wondering how I got into this situation, huh? Guess anything can happen to normal guys like me...


SMILEY [Character]:
There is no one. Look elsewhere.
They have died, no longer there.
A different person? Who?

Me, or you?

No one can tell, under the smile.
Intentions well, really just vile.

Time damages all endlessly.
Time breaks all, ultimately.

You may explore,
but never escape.

I'm all the same,
under this cape.

The Anthropic Principle [Pseudoscience]:
This principle states that the universe exists in the way it does, because it has to exist this way in order to bring life into it. This makes the assumption that living entities may only be carbon-based, but it's one of the possible explanations for the universe being this exact way: if it had not been, then the universe wouldn't have life, and thus, would be unobservable. This is tangentially related to the perception of existence, but not exactly the same. This is more about the universe's “will” to exist, as it has to rely on something else in order to do so; if it was just on its lonesome, it wouldn't work. There has to be two: the observer and the observed. Can't go on a date alone, right?

The Collars [Fiction]:
Each collar has a number:
#1 Is worn by the gentle twin.
#2 is worn by Simon.
#3 is worn by Marco.
#4 is worn by the old man.
#5 is worn by the other twin.
#6 is worn by Ray.
#7 is worn by the enigmatic girl.
#8 is worn by Jasmine.
All of them can behead if a rule is broken.

Additionally, collars emit data in the form of electromagnetic waves which are captured by nearby EMILYs. Those EMILYs then gain the digitized memories and experiences within each of their structures. They can also be used to create fake knowledge, although it's prone to errors as memories and experiences are not so simple.

The Dating Game [Fiction]:
A deadly game organized by someone who only makes themselves known as “Smiley” in which the objective is to escape. The solution inferred by his monologue is to find the ninth person of the group, who is assumed to be hidden somewhere among the stations.

Yet, there is no ninth person within the first iteration of the game. What Smiley said is explained as such: the additional person is another one in the group, which explains why everyone has to head out in duos. Each pair of numbers adds up to 9: that is where the “addition(al person)” and “dating” parts come from. It can also be interpreted as “taking place on multiple dates”, as in multiple days on the calendar, since this game repeats as many times as Smiley wills it.

The Empty S [Fiction]:
A vile organization, who uses humans for various experiments, all of which are horribly dangerous and unethical. They are convinced that what they're doing is for the greater good, and they diligently follow a religion centered around some kind of all-seeing God. Their emblem is a strange cross, though it is said that it is not their only symbol. In truth, this organization is said to be large enough to have as members many, many exceptionally gifted individuals from all over the globe. It is separated in smaller factions, which all have a different emblem. As of 2022, their largest branch was arrested, leading to their disbanding, yet a few of their adherents remain at large.

The Magnificent Zachary [Character]:
He is an illusionist who specializes in the art of hypnotism. For many years, he's been accused of fraud as many believe his shows to be fake. As of recently, he has ceased giving shows altogether, uncertain if he will ever return on stage. Apparently, at his peak, his shows were very popular among teens. Did you think he would be anybody else? No, he's just a magician.

The MTS [Reality]:
The MTS, or the Montreal Transport Society, is the company which has a task to regulate the trains and buses in Montreal. That's pretty much it. They do good work and are almost always on the clock. Godspeed!

They have absolutely nothing to do with “The Empty S”, which is a completely different thing altogether. This acronym is simply a phonetic equivalent to Empty S, which is why Simon misunderstands Marco's words when he mentions them that one time in the story.

The Real Jasmine [Fiction]:
Hannah said that she didn't know where the real Jasmine was, and that's completely correct. Simon does not know either, and that is the case for everyone else. If that's the case, what is Jasmine like in reality, and where is she located? The answer to the former is pretty much what you've seen so far. The Jasmine in this story, even if it's really Hannah, does have the manners and personality of the real Jasmine as of the day the brain scan used to copy her was taken. As for the other question... Wouldn't you want to know?

Types of Vats [Fiction]:
Not all vats are equal. Some vats are used to bring something to maturity, while others are used to preserve instead. Some of them work on humans, others only work with objects. It's quite complicated technology, so I'll spare you the details. The most important part is that these vats can't be owned by the common people. So who, then, could possess such things? What about the reactor? What exactly could cause all of this to happen? Could one person really do it alone?

This kind of technology is fascinating, because it makes cloning essentially possible, if one was willing to wait, as it takes 12 years for the EMILYs to be produced. Otherwise, the other kind of vats can sustain someone- or something- for hundreds of years.

University of Montreal [Reality]:
The University of Montreal is a public research university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is located on the northern slope of Mount Royal and has thirteen faculties, more than sixty departments and two affiliated schools. It is the largest university in Quebec, and it offers well over six hundred programs, including over seventy doctoral programs. It is where Simon has studied in Fine Arts, and where Marco has studied for his master's degree. The two of them live nearby in an apartment within the neighborhood of Outremont. It is based on a real school, which has a very similar name translated from French.