# Zero Time Dilemma

## byDKII

### Part 40: Anthropic Principle (2 of 2)

Part 40: Anthropic Principle (2 of 2)

We actually have three puzzles we can solve right now. One easy one, one medium one, and one hard one. I'll start with the easy one, the chessboard.

The letters here look a lot like 5564X, if I were to place a X over the "c". Like, say, if I were to hit it with this hammer I'm now holding.

Maybe if we hit the "c" with this hammer...

A wooden cylinder pops out, and the chessboard is now able to open.

A cylindrical piece came out.

Ah, so this was how the chess board was locked. That was pretty tricky.

Let's see if we can do something with it.

We also gain the cylinder as an inventory item.

Examining it lets us input three chess pieces. But what three inputs do we need?

Hmm, if only we could get these marks right. We might get something.

Now that I think about it, wasn't there something written on the chess board?

Looking at how these arrows are going, is this how each piece moves?

Now that the chessboard is open, we can see all three sets of marks on it. Combining this image with the booklet from way back at the beginning of the room (or some rudimentary chess knowledge) gives 1 = rook, 2 = bishop, 3 = king. Here's the solution input at double speed:

A coin, and a note with numbers on it. Well done, Carlos.

Hey, we got our first coin! Also, a note:

We can't officially solve the medium puzzle I mentioned earlier without this note, but it's easy to figure out anyway. We saw those same four numbers circled on the roulette table, and now we know the order to put them in after we decode them.

To think we had to use chess to get it. Though that makes sense seeing what room we're in.

The coin looks like the same type that D-Team found in the Trash Disposal Room. And proceeded to use to unscrew a grate.

Clicking on the chessboard again explains the puzzle. Except the first piece wasn't the pawn at all, it was the rook. Good thing we weren't relying on that piece of dialogue.

But just one doesn't do anything. The case is still locked.

Might as well pop the coin into the machine that wants them.

Here's the hard puzzle, or at least obtuse one. There is a bunch of crap sitting in our inventory with no apparent use.

I mean, if we're given matches, we might as well set something on fire with them.

Just seeing a fire in a fireplace during winter makes you feel warm...

Hmm let's click on the fire again.

A fire is burning in the fireplace. Maybe we should put someting in it?

Oh, I know. Let's get some sweet potatoes. It's the perfect season for them.

Maybe not, Akane. We'll forget the serious situation we're in if we do that...

Throwing an important flammable inventory item into a burning fire seems like a reasonable thing to do, right?

The wooden box! Are you going to burn it in the fire?

I was just wondering what would happen. But the contents inside would burn too...

Could I see it for a sec? ...And in you go!

J-Junpei?! No...! Why did you do that?!

You just gotta have faith with these things, or you'll end up never moving forward.

One thing I like about the puzzle rooms in this series, is that it's not possible to get yourself stuck in an unwinnable state by missing out on picking up something, or accidentally destroying something or using it in the wrong place. Older puzzle-adventure games were much less forgiving that way.

I sat here for awhile, expecting something else to happen on its own. But our box is just happily burning away and will continue to do so for as long as we leave it in there. I tried clicking the fire again to see what would happen.

The wooden box is burning.

I wonder if something's in there. But I can't take it out with my bare hands.

Sounds good, let's use the fire hook then. It didn't disappear when we used it to open the floor panel, so we must still need it for something!

Hmm... We can use this fire hook to pull the box out.

But the fire's really strong. Maybe we should put it out first, just in case.

Fair enough. Good thing we picked up that bottle of water earlier.

I can't really see much in there, let's just try and pull it out ourselves.

I can see the ashes of the box there inside the fireplace.

But it's still really hot. We can't get at it with our bare hands.

Okay, now I can use the fire hook.

If we use this fire hook, we can poke around inside the fireplace.

Hey, is that a coin underneath the ashes of the box?

Guess tossing that box in was the right thing to do after all. Let's grab it.

All that for another coin.

Why would Zero go through all that trouble just to have us burn the box up in the end?

I dunno, just to see if we would I guess?

The glass still hasn't moved. We need to fill the other 3 holes.

Two down, three to go.

Next, the roulette wheel. Here are the circled numbers.

Here's the note that maps these numbers to letters.

I used the second page of the memo pad to write down each letter as I translated it, then used the second note to put the letters in order. It's nice how the memo pad is an overlay of the current view, so I can just write on top of the puzzle in this case. I also played around with the different colors, as you can see.

Just have to put in these letters at the roulette wheel...

It turns out the roulette wheel is a self-propelled vertical-takeoff drone. It starts flying around the room and harasses Junpei.

What? The roulette wheel detached. This must mean...

No way. I just put in the first thing I thought of.

Or the roulette wheel just comes loose and that fact is shown in a very weird way. Not sure why the game thinks we cheated or got lucky there, I took meticulous notes using the clues the game gave us.

As if Zero would go through the effort of making a hat. I might die from how stupid it is.

So rude. Anyway, remember any spots in the room with a prominently-displayed blank circle? Maybe on top of a non-functional machine?

Don't forget to pick up the coin here.

There's something here under the wheel.

It's a coin.

Coins are so tantalizing. Whenever you have a lot of them, you just feel happy.

Well, they are shiny, and remind you of money.

I was probably supposed to click on the roulette table again to make the game give me a hint about using the decoder note or something. Oh well.

The rest of the room is pretty linear.

The roulette wheel fits nicely in here, turning on the slot machine.

Well, let's give it a pull then!

Jackpot! Let's grab all the coins and get out of here!

What?! Three 7s on the first spin? Jackpot?!

Oh, something small came out of the machine.

Hey, those aren't coins at all!

So this is what came out of the machine...

Looks like puzzle pieces. Too bad it's not coins.

What can we use these for...?

We can probably make a shape with them, but it's going to be hard with them all different.

Make a shape, you say...

Like, say, a heart?

Maybe we can make a heart shape with these pieces here.

This puzzle is actually pretty hard. The pieces all look the same, and there are red diagonal lines all over the picture. Most if not all of the pieces can go into multiple locations, so it's hard to find a good starting point without hitting a dead end. Even with a guide I had trouble getting the solution done quickly enough to shove into an animation (my final run still took almost 2.5 minutes). Here it is at 4x speed:

Not my best work - I was still fumbling around a lot in the middle, and even at the end had a couple pieces in the wrong spot, throwing me off.

Something came out at the bottom.

A coin...and a card calendar?

We actually have to click on our winnings to receive them.

We got a coin and a card calendar by completing a heart.

The coin's pretty obvious, but what do we do with a calendar?

The puzzle pieces ended up being useful, so let's just take it with us.

I wish it'd given out more. It WAS a slot machine after all.

The feeling of having the tray overflowing with coins... It must feel good.

The coin is pretty obvious, as Junpei said. But what about the other thing?

January Ace, November Jack, and December Queen... It works, but it's still strange.

I wonder why the first letter is emphasized... And there's this weird barcode on the back.

Just showing off the barcode on the back.

The card is not just an inventory item, it also gets put in as a file. Another dual-use item in this puzzle room.

Maybe we can get more coins out of this slot machine.

Hey, hold on. Why isn't this thing working? The power's still on, right?

It's likely programmed to only spin once and hit all 7s.

You're probably right. Hard to believe Junpei would hit the jackpot on the first try.

Yeah, he's not exactly a "lucky in life" type.

Let's look at this wonderful heart that we made.

I think we did a pretty good job.

I saw you were struggling a little there, Carlos.

Oh, and you're an expert at these types of puzzles?

Nope, I suck at them. Too much stress on my brain. I hate those puzzle rings especially.

We don't have to go very far with this card, it slides right into the nearby jukebox.

Hey, that card calendar we got from the slot machine... Think it'd work here?

Music: Ustulate Pathos (VINTAGE Ver.)

It went in... And the jukebox started playing music.

Nice touch that the game started playing a different background track here. And an old-sounding version of an existing track, at that. It keeps playing for a couple of minutes even after leaving to go elsewhere in the room. The game only switched back to the regular track after I went back to the menu after looking at a file.

Oh! Look, those buttons that look like dice fell out.

Yup, those dice buttons are sure gone all right.

Just three holes where the dice were...

I didn't think turning the machine on would cause the dice to fall off.

Who comes up with all these gimmicks?

I hope you noticed that the dice weren't actually added to our inventory, or that they're sitting on the floor here. It's very easy to miss them, and you'll be stuck without them.

I wish we could relax and play board games with these, but let's just take them with us.

They're often used in gambling and gaming.

My sister used to always con me into playing board games with the family.

As you might expect, the dice fit nicely in these three slots on the card table.

You know, I think the dice will fit here. Let's find out.

There's a click as the dice go in, but that's it. Let's click them again.

These dice fit perfectly, but nothing's happening.

It shows three digits, so maybe it's like the locker and we need certain numbers?

We should try some combinations then, Carlos.

The locker? Did you remember something from the Infirmary, Akane? (I think it's just a translation error, and should say "a locker".)

We can move the dice around to make a three-digit number using only 1-6. Apparently 1-1-1 was not the right answer. Darn.

Must have something to do with these cards, right? Let's see if they have any more hints for us.

This card equation... Why would only the Kings be ripped up?

The cards then only go up to Queen. Maybe it's saying the numbers only go to 12?

Only to 12... Hmm.

Nope, can't figure it out, give me another hint.

The Kings are ripped so the highest card is the Queen. So the numbers go to 12.

Only up to 12... Sort of like the months in a calendar year?

Oh, you might be right! Didn't we just find a calendar?

Guess it's the last file we haven't used yet. Or, at least, the information on it hasn't been used. We used the card physically to turn on the jukebox. But what does it mean, got any more hints for me for clicking on the cards yet again?

The first letter of each month is emphasized on this calendar...

You're right. Maybe the card numbers match the corresponding month.

Then the cards can form some kind of word!

I don't really blame them for putting so many hints on this puzzle, if you don't see it right away when you look at the file it can be hard to figure out.

Anyway, here's the file again. See how the first letter of each month is larger and in red? Translate each card into the corresponding letter, and you get...

So the first word is JAM? Wait a minute, didn't we see that somewhere else?

Yup, it's on the word-number pair hint list! Ok let's get the rest of the words and translate them into numbers:

JAM - ODDS + SANDMAN = 100 - 35 + 570 = 635. Three digits from 1-6, let's go mess with the dice again.

We were right. The correct combination caused something to happen.

Uh, we kind of made a mess searching for this hint. I'm glad it was worth it.

The coin is automatically picked up this time.

Did you ever gather coins as a kid?

It was never just coins. Anything shiny would catch our attention.

Marbles, bottle caps... You know, that sounds a lot like what crows hoard. Huh.

I never put in the coin from the slot machine, so the one we're already holding from the card table goes in first.

Then I forget to go grab the other coin before clicking on the machine again. I know we only need one more, I already have it!

So putting those coins here DID open the case.

Let's push the big red button. I'm sure we won't blow up or release a death-constraint chair or pour acid on the other teams or anything like that.

Thank God. We can FINALLY push this button.

But does it really open the door?

You know, you're right. It could be a trap.

It always happens in movies... The bad guys rush to push the button...

Uh, Carlos. It's the, um, leader's job to do this kind of thing.

What?! You're the one who wanted to push it so badly... ... I guess it's probably not going to explode or anything... Okay. I am the eldest here, so I'll do the pushing.

Probably...

That's a good sign...right?

Music: Consternation 2nd Mix

...What.

Chimes, and computer lady is going to explain just what the fuck is going on.

The Decision Game...

Rules?!

For some reason, in this scene the camera tends to move between characters rather than just cutting to them. I'll capture the rest of the ones like this.

So these, then...

[Computer Lady:] To begin this game, each player must take one die and roll them together on the dice table.

All "1"s? On three dice? That seems...unlikely.

There's a heartbeat sound as each player is shown. But it's not quite that time yet.

More shocked reactions from everyone, each accompanied by something that sounds like a single drumbeat.

Roll the dice or die. Well, roll the dice and die, most likely.

What're the odds?

Do they matter? You have to roll the dice anyway, right?

Huh?

The odds we'll get all the dice to roll a 1!

Oh, umm... It's 1/216, so...

Akane just has 6-cubed memorized.

And can carry out long division in her head, too.

0.46...?!

Just roll them!

Missing Lip Animations: 31

And this fragment was doing so well, too.

Okay then, here we go!

Come on!

Pray hard! If we pray, then it's gotta--!

More heartbeats. This time it's for real.

Music: Moral Dilemma (Annihilation 3rd Mix)

Wait a minute! This isn't a decision at all! We're just rolling dice and hoping for a good (but extremely unlikely) outcome!

I seriously debated whether I should end here with a one-option poll that just says "Roll the Dice", but I guess I'm not that mean. Let's just keep going.

I'm not sure if where you click matters, but anywhere will result in a dice roll. I tried to throw them on the floor to see if anything funny would happen. Alas it's just a normal dice roll...

...with predictable results.

I chose to roll poorly, I guess.

More shocked faces, each accompanied by a drumbeat.

Music: Strain 2nd Mix

Wait, wait wait wait wait. That one doesn't count!

Uhhh, looks like they're locked in...

Guess you're not the mulligan type...

Carlos looks around frantically.

Hurry!

There's a metallic clunk as each suit of armor turns and locks into place. Guess hiding isn't a great option when they can track you...

The music stops as the sound of the machine guns spinning up is heard instead.

Cries of pain from all three characters as the machine guns fire. The bar might've worked better as cover if there wasn't a suit of armor sitting in the corner behind it...

Music: Glacial Solitude

The machine guns retract.

The smoke slowly clears. The bar held up pretty well, all things considered. Maybe we made it out ok?

Suddenly, the chimes are heard again.

[Computer Lady:] Q-Team: Q, Mira, Eric

Oh.

Words left unsaid...

C-Team gets all the best scenes.

Well, only Phi was left alive there. Q-Team being gone would line this fragment up with the Infirmary, which would put D-Team in the Trash Disposal Room. The outcome that had only Phi living through that was the "Shoot: Live" scenario, where Diana shot Sigma and then herself.

Indeed, the global flowchart confirms that theory. Is that another lock?

Well, we overshot the mark on that one. Eight people dead. Phi escapes, maybe. We can replay this fragment, and I'll take us down the other branch (hint: it won't actually require hitting a 1/216 chance). Or we can go back to one of our many other options. Select the story fragment.