A year ago, I played around six hours of the brilliant puzzle game The Witness. Then I stopped. Last weekend, I decided to go back and play some more. It’s been a rude awakening.
My memory of those first six hours is pretty hazy. (My memory of everything from January 2016 is pretty hazy.) What I remember: I drew some lines, opened some doors, found some weird shit I didn’t understand. I found a few lines I could draw on the environment. Some glitter went into the air. I listened to an Einstein quote. I found a boat with a map that drove around the island.
Upon returning to the game, I found myself standing in front of the treehouse in the pic up top. It looked like once upon a time, I figured out how to open the door.
I went through the door to the next puzzle and tried making a few lines. Then it… opened? I have no idea why. I don’t quite get why this is the solution:
I went through and found a few more similar puzzles. I even solved the next one, still without understanding what I was doing. What do these stars do? Was the knowledge I needed to solve this located somewhere else?
I wandered off and took the boat back around to the main docks on the island. There was so much that I didn’t remember. Had I already solved an environmental puzzle with that windmill? What did it get me? Had I figured out how to open the door next to the trellis, or what that cloud-tree was all about? And what do the tetrominos mean?
If playing The Witness is like learning a new language, playing The Witness after taking a year off is like returning to high school French after summer vacation. I feel certain that at one point I was building on a solid foundation, but I’ve lost my footing. I should probably just start over.