(Cross-posted from another place, because someone asked me why I wasn’t putting them here, and I have no good reason)

Last time I got a new flat, I flooded the floor and roasted the manual to the new oven.

This time, nothing in the flat is new.

And this time, I have an Easy To Use Boiler.

It has no instructions or labels. It has icons.

It has:

  • A dial of the numbers one to twenty four, with pegs around it in the state of Up or Down.
  • A rotary dial with an icon of a square wave.
  • A rotary dial with an icon of a set of ineffective staple removers.
  • A three state dial with the following possible values: Snowflake, Null, Lightbulb.
  • An icon of a crossed out flame, next to a red light, which is off.
  • A button.
  • An Exciting Rotary Monitor with a black line and and a red line, with the scale in degrees centigrade, in black.

In the state when I arrived, all the dials around the clock are in state Down, square wave is all the way left, staple removers are somewhere in a middle, and we are in state lightbulb. There is no hot water.

Also, I’ve been moving boxes for two days, I need a shower. So. I recognise this, for I’ve played graphic adventures before. This is a Puzzle.

Now, I’ve solved part one of the puzzle, which was that the two rotary dials only have one actual turny-thing between them, and I had to repair the other broken turny-thing with bluetac (acquired as part of a previous puzzle). Traditionally, I should work out what they symbols represent, realise the connection between them, and set the machine to the perfect settings so the hot water happens and I can move into the next location.

Right. Experimentation time.

In state lightbulb, changing the state the pegs around the current time appears to do nothing, as does moving the square wave dial. Nothing I do changes the Exciting Rotary Dial.

Okay, trying with state Null. Still nothing. Must be on the wrong track. The solution is hot water, so let’s try…

So, moving to state Snowflake gives me hot water, so long as the current time pegs are down and the ineffective staple remover level is high. Mucking around with the staple remover settings gives me tepid water.

This is, obviously, a machine for the apocalypse. Lightbulb obviously represents the gods of Knowledge, whose effectiveness is – by the state of the world – currently very weak. Therefore the machine is obviously a torture device, set to cause pain and suffering to those it is pointed at.

The gods of Knowledge are weak to high pitched noises, so playing with the square wave makes their life worse, but it’s hard to know what happens when you torture a god of knowledge, so nothing appears to happen.

The snowflake setting represents the ice gods, trapped in whatever dimension this thing points at. The only way to damage them is with staple removers, which – having been invented after they were incarcerated – is the only thing they have not made themselves unharmable by. Torturing an ice god releases heat – this is thermodynamics – and applying more staple removers creates more heat.

Thus, the torture of immortal beings provides my nice hot shower.

I was hoping for a cut scene, but instead I was thrown straight into another puzzle involving shower controlled by a mixer tap.

Sometimes I wonder why I play these games at all.