Let's play: Gray Matter 021
We head to the library, because you can get books there!
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Added: 1 year ago
[Samantha Everett enters the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, but she needs an ID card to activiate the turnstile in order to get in]
SAM: [to herself] Damn, you need a student ID to use the library. Whatever happened to freedom of information?
[the player selects "Helena Beaugard" (who is studying at one of the tables in the main reading room), so Sam calls over to her from the entranceway]
SAM: [whispers] Helena, Helena!
HELENA: [whispers] What are you doing? Why don't you come inside?
[cut to Helena standing at the entranceway to speak with Sam, as the player selects "Borrow ID"]
SAM: I left my ID in my room. Can I swipe yours?
HELENA: No. You'll get me expelled, goth girl. Besides, walking is good exercise.
[the player selects "Borrow ID!" again]
SAM: Come on! Just one swipe ... I'll do it so no one can see.
HELENA: No! I had to go twice to get a decent picture on my ID. I'm not going to risk getting it confiscated.
[the player selects "Redoing ID"]
SAM: You can do that? Get your ID redone?
HELENA: I told them I lost it ... What can they say? I had no choice, the picture was hideous.
[the player selects "Why is she here?"]
SAM: I didn't expect to find you in the library. How hard can art history be?
HELENA: Hard enough. But if you want to know why I'm here ... Charles Ettington.
SAM: Well! Good luck with the stalking ...
[the player selects "Let me see the picture"]
SAM: That bad, huh? Hard to believe. Do you still have the old ID? Let me see.
HELENA: It's awful.
SAM: Let me see!
[Helena takes out both of her IDs and places them on top of the turnstile]
HELENA: The second one is much better. Don't you agree?
[cut to a closeup of the two cards ("Helena Beaugard Student I.D., St. Edmund College"), as the player highlights "Helena's old ID card" and selects "Can you put a paper bag over that picture?"; "You look like you're on drugs"; "You should charge that photographer with libel"]
HELENA: God! I didn't think it was that hideous! I'll burn it when I get back to my room.
[the player highlights "Helena's new ID card" and selects "Now that's a good picture"; "You look cute in this one, better than in person"; "You look like a top model on this one!"]
HELENA: Well, I think the new one is much better ...
[she takes the cards and puts them back into her pocket, then cut back to Sam by herself at the entranceway, as the player selects "Magic Tricks"]
Several things a professional magician needs to remember:
In the first place, you need to choose the right trick according to your situation. Browse through the book to find it.
Once you have made your choice, mentally prepare yourself to pull it off. Consider the moves you need to make and remember to line up the right amount of steps.
If you make a mistake, you will have to go back to the last correct move. So beware losing your concentration!
When you have the right sequence memorised, you're ready to perform the trick.
A professional stage magician employs simple moves:
"Load" an object from your inventory to a secret location on your body.
"Palm" an object from the inventory or from a location on your body.
"Vanish" an object from a hand to a pocket or a sleeve.
"Move" an object from hand to hand.
"Take" an object from the environment into a hand.
"Plant" an object from a hand into the environment.
"Manipulate" an object in your hand.
"Misdirect" your audience.
[the player goes to the list of available tricks and selects "Destroyed and Returned Ring Trick"]
SAM: [to herself] I could use that trick. But I need to place something in the environment first.
[the player selects "?", as Sam walks towards the paper shredder located in the entranceway]
SAM: [to herself] I could use that paper shredder in tricking Helena. But I need to put the right prop in it.
[the player goes to his inventory and selects "Shredded paper noisemaker", as Sam places it into the machine]
SAM: [to herself] There.
[the player selects "Magic Tricks" again, as the scene changes to the "Magic Tricks" screen (featuring an image of Sam looking directly at the camera)]
"The Destroyed and Restored Ring Trick"
There's nothing that will get people upset like destroying a treasured heirloom!
Gradma's cameo, perhaps? Or sis's brand-new engagement ring? For this trick you will need a cheap remote-controlled noisemaker that makes a crunching/grinding sound.
1. Before your victim shows up, place the noisemaker inside your kitchen sink's garbage disposal. A paper shredder will work if you're at the office.
2. Palm the noisemaker's remote control in your left hand.
3. Lure your victim close to the garbage disposal or shredder. Get them to give up their ring for inspection. Take the ring in your right hand.
4. Manipulate the ring, pretending to throw the ring overhand into the sink or shredder. Misdirect your victime by watching the "trajectory" with your eyes.
5. Manipulate the remote control in your palm to set off the noisemaker.
6. While your audience is panicking, you can vanish the ring up your right sleeve.
7. Later you can "restore" the ring at your convenience. Ha ha! Good times!
[the player selects "Noisemaker remote" and places it in Sam's left hand, then selects "Helena's old ID card" and places it in Sam's right hand]
[the player selects "Manipulate right item"]
[the player selects "Misdirect"]
[the player selects "Manipulate left item"]
[the player selects "Helena's old ID card" and places it in Sam's right sleeve]
1. Palm Noisemaker remote in Left hand
2. Take Helena's old ID card in Right hand
3. Manipulate Helena's old ID card in Right Hand
5. Manipulate Noisemaker remote in Left hand
6. Vanish Helena's old ID card in Right sleeve
[cut back to the library, as Sam calls to Helena again]
SAM: Helena! Helena!
[cut to Helena standing at the entranceway to speak with Sam, with the two cards on the turnstile]
HELENA: [annoyed] What?
SAM: I actually like the first photo better. It's the way you were sitting.
HELENA: You're hallucinating ... Show me.
SAM: No, it was a trick of the light ... The first one really is awful. God!
SAM: You're right. You should burn it. In fact ...
[she takes the old ID card and pretends to throw it into the paper shredder (palming it with her right hand while using the remote control in her left hand to activate the noisemaker)]
HELENA: Why did you do that?
SAM: [innocently] You said you were gonna burn it ... I'm sorry. Did you want it?
HELENA: So kind of you to spare me all that tedious labour ... God, you're a freak! And I thought I was bad.
[cut back to Sam alone at the entranceway, as the player selects "Look"]
SAM: [to herself] It's a paper shredder.
[the player checks his inventory and selects "Helena's ID"]
SAM: [to herself] That will have to do for now. Luckily, the library card reader doesn't care what the photo looks like.
[Sam uses the card to swipe it through the turnstile and enter the library]
["Achievement unlocked - Sam gets carded" appears on screen, as the player walks up to the bookshelves and selects "Books"]
SAM: [to herself] If I had to search through all this, I'd never see daylight again. There must be a way to look up something specific.
[the player selects "Busts"]
SAM: [to herself] Probably some famous graduates.
[the player walks up to the reference desk and selects "Paper stack"]
SAM: [to herself] Stacks of blank paper. I don't need any right now, but it's nice to know Oxford is generous with office supplies.
[the player selects "Reference librarian", as Sam walks up to the elderly female librarian sitting at the desk]
REFERENCE LIBRARIAN: How may I be of service?
[the player selects "Oxford professors"]
SAM: Where can I find information about the professors here at Oxford?
REFERENCE LIBRARIAN: Ah, that depends. To whom do you refer?
SAM: Doctor David Styles. Neurobiology.
REFERENCE LIBRARIAN: Mmmm. Start with the library catalogue. You can access it on the computers, over there.
[the player selects "Computer terminals", as Sam walks over and accesses the catalog]
[cut to a closeup of the OLIS (Oxford Libraries Information System) on the computer screen, as Sam types in "David Styles"]
* David Styles
* Jean-Paco Styles
[Sam clicks on "David Styles", then clicks on the entry under "November 1996"]
SAM: [reading] "The London Times, Royalty and Other Distinguished Gentlemen. The big event of this past weekend was the Eggerton soiree, an annual event not to be missed by the rich and fabulous. The star of the evening was to be Prince Charles, who arrived at the party solo. He seemed to be quite enjoying his newly divorced status. But in truth, all of the single dames were not lining up to meet the Prince of Wales but the Prince of Oxford, Doctor David Styles. As if being devastatingly handsome and the scion of a wealthy family weren't enough, he's a shooting star at University. He's become a well-known figure thanks to his popular articles and TV appearances, doing for Neurobiology what Stephen Hawking did for Physics. This reporter can't help but wonder how he'll find time to fit in his lectures with all the party invitations he's been receiving."
[the player clicks on the entry under "May 1997", as the screen displays the message "'Extraordinary Powers of Ordinary Minds' is not available. Please see the reference librarian for access to the periodical archives."]
SAM: [to herself] That's the article I got from David's filing cabinet.
[the player clicks on the entry under "5 May 1997"]
SAM: [reading] "The London Times, Spring Is for Lovers. Romance is a hot topic in the Spring. All creatures, great and small, get that loving look in their eyes and pair off to do what comes naturally. Frederica Friedmont and Jeremy Stanton were seen canoodling over drinks at a posh London nightclub. Actress Marie Laurel and businessman Domick Durst were 'outed' when they were caught red-handed in Hyde Park. But the biggest 'It' couple this Spring has to be Doctor David Styles, the Oxford neurobiologist who has been considered the bachelor of the season, and his new flame Laura Edmondthorpe, the beautiful daughter of Lord Edmondthorpe. The pair have been inseparable since meeting at a New Year's Eve celebration and they don't seem to care who knows it. Ah, young love."
[the player clicks on the entry under "18 May 1997"]
SAM: [reading] "The Oxford Student. Styles, Hopkins Tops in Student Poll. This year's OxStu students' choice poll ranked Christ Church and Queen's as the favourite colleges among Oxford students. 'Favourite local restaurant' went to Stew Pot on St. Giles. Fitzgerald's won for best Oxford pub, smoking the nearest competitor by ten to one. Among professors, Felix Hopkins, who teaches Medieval History at Queen's, and David Styles, of the Radcliffe Neurobiology Department, drew this year's top honours. A favourite part of Hopkins's Crusades lectures is a battle re-enactment in Christ Church Meadows, which has become a great hurrah for participants and spectators alike. Styles is a fave thanks to his 'fresh and exciting approach' to the study of the mind and human potential."
[the player clicks on the entry under "August 1998"]
SAM: [reading] "The London Times, Fairy Tale Weddings. August weddings were bigger and bolder than ever this year. The Marquise de Charlforte and her American husband, Frank Lovetts, overflowed Winchester Cathedral with white roses and created quite a spectacle for their three-hundred-plus guests. Garish? It's all a matter of taste, darling, and money! When it comes to understated elegance, nothing topped the union of Laura Edmondthorpe and Doctor David Styles in Westminster Abbey. The bride was a radiant blonde beauty in a plain white stain sheath - all the better to create nail biting envy over her long and lean figure. David Styles created quite a contrast with his striking dark looks and black tux. Two white horses pulled their carriage off into the sunset ... and no doubt into a perfect future."
[the player clicks on the entry under "23 October 2002", then cut to a cutscene as Sam looks at the headline "Car Accident Claims the Life of Prominent Socialite"]
SAM: [reading] "Doctor David Styles and his wife Laura Edmondthorpe-Styles left a fund raising dinner in Oxford last evening and were driving home when ... when their car was hit broadside."
[cut to a closeup of a photo of the car wreckage]
SAM: [reading] "According to eyewitnesses, the second vehicle was hurtling down a crossroad at a tremendous speed. It ran a give way sign and plunged into ... "
[cut to a closeup of Sam's face]
SAM: [reading] "Laura Styles was pronounced dead on the scene, and David Styles was rushed--"
[she closes her eyes, then cut to a flashback of Sam (as a little girl) as an older woman enters the room]
WOMAN: Samantha, please ... They're not coming home.
[cut to another flashback of young Sam being picked up by an older man]
MAN: Come on, kid ... Time to go.
[cut back to Sam in the library, as the player is able to read the article in full in the Bodleian library archives]
SAM: [reading] "The London Times, Car Accident Claims the Life of Prominent Socialite. Doctor David Styles and and his wife Laura Edmondthorpe-Styles left a fund raising dinner in Oxford last evening and were driving home when their Bentley was hit broadside at a junction. According to eyewitnesses, the second vehicle was hurtling down the road tremendous speed. It plunged into they Styleses' vehicle as it was going through the junction. David Styles, who was at the wheel, was thrown from the car on impact. Laura Styles was trapped in her seat as the car was consumed in flames. Laura Styles was pronounced dead on the scene and David Styles was rushed to the Accident and Emergency facility at John Radcliffe Hospital where he is reported to be in stable condition."
Gray Matter is a point-and-click adventure video game designed by Jane Jensen, renowned for the Sierra Entertainment Gabriel Knight series. The game was developed by Wizarbox and published by dtp entertainment for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360. It was released on November 2010 in Continental Europe and in English-speaking territories in 2011.
The game takes place in Oxford and, to a lesser extent, in London. It follows the story of Samantha Everett, a street performer and magician, and Professor David Styles, an acclaimed and mysterious neurobiologist.
The opening scene of the game depicts Sam riding her motorcycle in the rain in the countryside while traveling to London, and accidentally being redirected to Oxford because of a broken street sign. Her bike breaks down, forcing her to take shelter in Dread Hill, a nearby mansion where David resides. She poses as an Oxford student responding to Styles' request for a research assistant.
Eventually, Sam is ordered to recruit six students as test subjects for David's research. Through clever manipulation and magic tricks, Sam manages to find four students willing to volunteer for the experiment. The professor recalls her to Dread Hill, letting her know that he found a fifth candidate and making Sam herself the sixth.
As the game progresses, Sam learns about the professor's past, his research on the paranormal, the prestigious members-only Daedalus magic club, a series of bizarre events that take place at Oxford University, and how these elements are connected.
Sam gets carded:
St. Edmund Hall: See the student volunteers. They exchange cell phone numbers and talk about the experiment.
Sam is to check more about the experiment and Dr. Styles at the library. She will meet them back here at noon.
Bodleian Library: Jump to the library. Sam finds out that she needs a student ID to use the library. Look around.
Helena: Talk to Helena sitting at front table. Learn that she has 2 IDs because the first one is hideous.
Helena shows both ID. Select 3 bad comments for Helena's old ID card. Select 3 good comments for Helena's new ID card. Helena takes the cards and sits down.
Select the magic trick: Right click the magic book in inventory and then click on Helena.
Open the magic book and turn the pages to The Destroyed and Restored Ring trick.
Click on The Destroyed and Restored Ring trick page to select the trick.
Prepare for the trick: Sam says she needs a noisemaker first.
Jump to Town Centre and then go to Black Wand Shop. Enter the shop.
Look close at the store shelf at right. Pick up the shredded paper noisemaker at middle left shelf. Exit the store.
Jump back to library.
Place the shredded paper noisemaker in the paper shredder beside Sam.
Trick: Use the magic book on Helena to get the preparation frame.
Place the noisemaker remote from inventory on left hand slot.
Place Helena's old ID in right hand slot.
Manipulate Helena's old ID.
Manipulate left item - remote control.
Place Helena's old ID on right sleeve slot.
Click on magic wand.
Watch Sam do the trick and get Helena's old ID.
Use Helena's ID on the turnstile to enter the library.
The Mysterious Dr. Styles:
Computer search: Talk to the Reference Librarian about Oxford Professors. She refers Sam to the computer.
Go to the computer terminal on the table left of Helena. Automatically a search is done.
Click on the dates at left and read the newspaper articles. Learn how popular Dr. Styles was.
An article "Extraordinary Powers of Ordinary Minds" is not available.
Learn about the romance between Dr. Styles and Laura Edmonthorpe and subsequent wedding at Westminster Abbey in 1998.
Sam reads about the car accident that killed Laura on 23, October 2002.
Sam gets a flashback of when she was a child waiting for her parents and taken by the State.
Talk to the Reference Librarian about the not available Scientific American article. There are 2 journals but both are missing.
Dread Hill House:
Jump to Dread Hill House.
The phone rings. Sam answers the phone and fields the question about a new assistant.
Mrs. Dalton: Go to the kitchen. Now we know why the calendar on the noticeboard is on October 2002.
Talk to Mrs. Dalton.
Sam's bedroom: Go upstairs to Sam's bedroom.
Use the wild flowers on the glass beside the photo of Sam's parents.
Sam plays lab assistant:
Basement Hall: Go down to the Basement Hall. Look around.
Main lab: Enter the main lab. Look around.
Look at the desk at left. Use the wild flowers on the dead roses on a vase beside the photo of Laura.
Check the appointment book beside the picture.
Read the Note of Instructions left by Dr. Styles.
Read the note from Susan Whittier of Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals. She wants the contractor's report of the donated equipment.
File cabinet: Go to the file cabinet beside the exit door. See a close up of the instructions and the folders to be filed.
File: File folder by the first letter except for his publications which should be filed under P and those about Oxford to be filed under O.
Click on the file cabinet the folder is to go in to.
MRI, Published 1999 is to go under P.
Search: After filing, click each cabinet to check the contents.
Under E, check-read the Scientific American article "Extraordinary Powers of Ordinary Minds".
Under F, take the fMRI delivery (donation) receipt.
Under F, read the Linkweller article.
Under N, take the Neurobiology Dept. Staff (phone) List. It has the names and office and phone numbers of the Staff in 2001.
Episode V: Venerable Repository of Knowledge
And so we discover that Dr. Styles and Samantha might have more in common than we thought. Will the shared tragedies of their lives bring them together?
Librarian: How may I be of service?
["Scientific American" article]
Sam: There's an article I need from a magazine. The computer said to ask you.
Librarian: Name of publication and the date, please.
Sam: Scientific American, May 1997.
Librarian: I apologize, we had two copies of that issue, but both are listed as missing.
Sam: Missing? How does that happen?
Librarian: They might have been misfiled. They might've been stolen. In any case, I can't help you ... You might try the Central Library in London.
Sam: How convenient.
Not much left to do ... besides finishing the background check on Styles.
Let's return to Dread Hill House and check David's lab for that article!
Mrs. Dalton: Oh hello, Sam. Can I get you anything?
Sam: Not right now, thanks.
We have been specifically asked not to mention the accident. So let's discuss it in excruciating detail.
Sam: I ... I just found out what happened to Laura.
Mrs. Dalton: Everyone knows about the tragedy.
Sam: Well, I'm new to Oxford, and I didn't know. I'm really sorry.
Mrs. Dalton: You didn't ask him, did you? I hope to heaven, Samantha, that you weren't asking any painful questions!
Sam: No ... no.
Mrs. Dalton: Well don't. The poor man doesn't need to be reminded. Not that he isn't every day of his blinkin' life. He can't stand people talking about it. That's why he won't let anyone come over here.
Sam: But this house is full of reminders! Laura's pictures are everywhere. Even that calendar is still set to 2002.
Mrs. Dalton: He won't let me change any of it.
Sam: I get it. He wants to be reminded of her, for his own self, but he can't bare to hear other people talk about it because there's no way they can possibly understand, and anything they say just seems idiotic.
Mrs. Dalton: Maybe that's right, I don't know. In any case, I thank you to avoid the subject with him completely. Doesn't he have enough troubles on his mind already?
Okay, let's head for David's lab in the basement and check the file cabinet.
[L drawer - "Linkweller's Article"]
Sam: Something written by Doctor Abram Linkweller. This might be interesting.
"Ordinary Powers of Extraordinary Minds"
Some of my misguided colleagues have claimed that the
human brain will develop "extraordinary abilities" in the
future, going as far as to insist it will happen in the next 50
years. This is the worst kind of pseudo-science and magi-
cal thinking. The truth is, there is no evidence that our
brains have undergone any serious evolution since we
hunted with bow and arrow and drug our kill back to the
The drive for shelter, food, sex and security are as funda-
mental to our society as they ever were. And we solve
problems in the same way - not be developing supernatu-
ral powers but by good old-fashioned cogitation. When
our modern world made swift travel over long distances
desirable, did we evolve the ability to fly? No! We used the
same mental thought processes that invented the wheel to
invent the airplane.
The scientific reality is that the brain is well understood.
It doesn't have any "extraordinary powers" and doesn't
need any. The ordinary brain is miraculous enough.
Sam: This certainly is bluntly written, but I think I'm missing something. I need to find some of Doctor Styles' articles.
Linkweller ridiculed Styles' more ... non-conventional approach to neurobiology.
What exactly did Styles write to make Linkweller so angry, though?
[E drawer - "Extraordinary Powers of Ordinary Minds"]
Sam: This should be enlightening.
"Extraordinary Powers of Ordinary Minds"
by Dr. David Styles
We've all heard the news that we only use one tenth the capacity of our brain. But why
is that the case, and what intriguing possibilities lay in those dormant sections of gray
There are billions of neural connections in the brain. When an infant is born, their neurons are
still 'sending out test flares' to other neurons and gauging the response. Our brains 'prune' con-
nections that aren't productive and 'strengthen' connections that are. The early years in which
we experience our world sets our neural wiring for life.
There are entire networks of potential connections that are unused because, in our infant life,
we did not find a need for them. We find proof in a few extraordinary cases such as the boy who
was blind from birth and developed a bat-like ability to sense objects. He could ride his bicycle
at terrific speeds despite his lack of sight.
And our species continues to evolve new mental capabilities. Scholars believe that the ancient
Greeks did not see as many colors as we do today. An early Christian historian commented on
how brilliant St. Augustine was because when he read to himself you couldn't see his lips move!
Fields outside neurobiology give us clues to the potential of the brain. Physics has shown that
our brain has a special relationship with the world of matter. When we are not perceiving a sub-
atomic particle, it is a wave, but when the human brain turns its attention on it, the particle
changes form, behaving like solid matter. In the areas of Psi research, scientists have demon-
strated that the brain is capable of abilities that have no explanation according to the currently
understood picture of the brain or even that of time and space.
In the next fifty years we will begin to discover just how extraordinary our minds might be, how
deeply interconnected our brains are to physical reality and vice versa, and how we can awaken
new potential within the human mind.
Sam: Doctor Styles writes well, but I don't believe in Psi powers or the paranormal or any of that stuff.
Those are umm ... progressive theories.