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Grandma Bethlinda's Variety Box


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Rating: 4.3/5 (38 votes)
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grandma-bethlindas-variety-box

Lori.hCongratulations! You've found Grandma Bethlinda's Variety Box! Why, what does it do? You haven't the faintest idea. But when curiosity killed the cat, satisfaction brought it back, so start poking around. All you can do is discover and have fun in this interactive fiction puzzle game by Arthur DiBianca. It starts off with a simple, plain looking box. But the more you poke, pull, crank, and solve, the more entertainment arrives out of it. With no way to fail besides giving up, this box is a treat for all players who can read and type. With its cute descriptions and sassy display screen the box is equipped with, you'll wish Grandma Bethlinda left even more behind. Find your way to the surprise inside by interacting with what is presented to you. Things are ever changing and you'll realize that this simple little box is holding a lot more than you could ever have imagined.

I have a love/hate relationship with text based games. Most are filled with amazing adventures and brilliant stories and run on your imagination, but the freedom of actions that are based on what you type is what brings to me endless frustration. Do I "push" something or "shove" it? Did the synonym of the word cause it to not work, or is it just not the right object I was looking for? Is that not the right command, or did I just spell something wrong!? Ahh! The frustration! But Grandma Bethlinda's Variety Box fixes this issue with only letting you do four things; Examine ("X"for short), Look ("L"), Wait ("Z"), and "Undertake to Interact With" ("U" ...thankfully). Some may at first think this really limits the game, but I politely say "Not at all!". There is a lot to investigate with this box, and when you think it must be wrapping up it keeps going. You just try different things and be aware of the cause and effect changing at times. But you will never be stuck long enough to find you're not having fun anymore. If something is tripping you up, you just begin your list of commands with what you can see before you. If you're new to text based adventures, then this is a perfect start. If you are a fan, then you definitely don't want to miss out.

Play Grandma Bethlinda's Variety Box

Walkthrough Guide


(Please allow page to fully load for spoiler tags to be functional.)

Walkthrough:

Getting started:

U BOX
U CRANK 4 times
U DISPLAY 2 times
U WHITE BUTTON (or just U WHITE)
U GRAY (Spelling matters, commonwealth players!)
U BLACK
U DISPLAY

The Black Cylinder:

Rotating the rings on the cylinder to one of the four possible combinations (up-up, up-down, down-up, down-down) and then pulling the rope will cause the name of an animal to appear on the display.

The box has provided a statue of an animal...

... but causing HORSE to appear on the display doesn't make anything else happen on its own.

Once the display shows HORSE, U STATUE.

Any time that the display says, "Rotator re-engaged!" it's a sign that the current sub-puzzle has been completed, and it's time to U CRANK again.

An Evening at Home:

Once you have "repurposified" the buttons, U WHITE (BUTTON) to turn on the lights behind the window, and reveal a tiny stage setting.

First, we need the tiny man to fall asleep.

U GRAY (BUTTON) to dim the lights, and then wait until you hear a soft snoring.

U BLACK (BUTTON) to turn the lights off completely, and send our little man right off into the land of nod. If we wait now, it's clear that something is happening, but we can't see as the lights are off.

You will need to wait until just the right moment to turn the lights back on. If you turn them on too soon, or too late, you can just restart and send the little man off to sleep again.

The best time to turn the lights back on is when, "you hear a soft click, followed by rustling."

A Change of Managment:

Keep Using the TREE until there is "an uncomfortable clank inside the box." once the display shows, "UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT", U TREE, U DISPLAY, then try Using the other parts of the box.

Once the box has shut itself up, Use the DISPLAY until you are told the secret plan.

Now just WAIT (Z) until you hear a soft "moo" sound, then U BOX.

Now U TREE until the display reads "Please activate LLAMA."

Wasn't that one of the animals that was shown when we were mucking about with the cylinder rings earlier?

Yes, except now when we set the rings to that combination, the rope retracts into the box! Is there some other way to move the rings?

Using the WHITE BUTTON makes the rope wiggle, but the BLACK BUTTON has an interesting effect on the rings...

Set the rings to the correct position (up-down), then U BLACK (BUTTON) once to flip the rings, and again to flip them back. If you're quick, you'll be able to U ROPE before it retracts again.

Waving the flag:

The obvious thing to do now is Use the FLAG, but it seems to be on the fritz. We need to Use the CRANK to enable the FLAG, but before that we have to Use the STATUE to engage the CRANK, although first we must Use the BELL to unlock the STATUE. Except the BELL seems to be broken.

If we WAIT (Z) long enough, the tiny actor will have a suggestion for us.

Sometimes, the dumbest solutions are still the best; just keep Using the BELL until it works!

The Portrait of Granny Gray:

The unusual PORTRAIT will change its colours if we Use the raised items (HAIR, EYES, PENDANT). But to what end?

Play around with the PORTRAIT for long enough, and the DISPLAY will show a hint.

OK, now we have the correct colour combination, so how do we set the colours? Using the HAIR changes the colours of her HAIR, EYES, and PENDANT, Using the EYES changes only her eye colour, and Using the PENDANT changes the colour of her HAIR and PENDANT. But that means that there's a problem...

It doesn't seem to be possible to change the colour of her HAIR without also changing the colour of her PENDANT, and they start out of synchronisation with the correct combination.

Is there another way to change either the colour of her hair or pendant? Some other item on the box that might relate to one or the other?

It turns out that the BUTTONs now change the colour of the hair on the portrait. Just U PENDANT until the PENDANT is the right colour (DIAMOND in my game), then U EYES until the eyes are correct (BROWN for me), then Use the BUTTON which corresponds to the correct hair colour (mine was GRAY).

The Marble Pyramid:

If we Use the PYRAMID, the DISPLAY tells us that we need to warm it up. Perhaps one of the other items on the box will help us with this?

Using the CRANK then touching the pyramid again reveals that it's slightly less cold than it was before.

Keep Using the CRANK until it stops moving.

Uh-oh, now we're in trouble! Or so it seems. But not to worry; it's only a matter of time until things cool down.

Cookies from Strangers:

Usually, I wouldn't recommend eating food that comes from strange boxes, but in this case it's quite safe. Once the cookies have been removed, we can see that the PLATE bears a short inscription, and the DISPLAY offers a clue to decoding it.

If "D is for DING", then it seems that the first step is to U BELL, and then the other letters should also stand for sounds. But what sounds can we make with the box?

Well, there are items which PURR, WHINNY, and TOOT, which seems to match the inscription.

After Using the BELL, then U TREE, U STATUE, and U WHISTLE.

The Blue Bird of Puzzlement:

After a few more manipulations, we're facing a blue egg, with the DISPLAY hinting that we need to figure out what kind of egg it is. Wasn't there a bird in amongst those animal names earlier?

No rope tricks this time; just set the rings appropriately (down-down) and then U ROPE.

Mini-me:

Now it looks like we're going to have to open this BOXLET to continue. Fortunately, it's pretty easy for a while, as long as we make sure to Use the miniature version of each item which pops out (e.g. U CRANKLET rather than U CRANK).

Uh-oh, the FLAGLET doesn't seem to be working. Perhaps eXamining it will provide a hint as to how to progress?

A MOUSE? But didn't the FLAG in the main box show a LLAMA? This seems important.

Manipulate the RINGs on the CYLINDER into the correct positions (up-up), and U ROPE. Now the FLAGLET will respond.

A few more manipulations, and you're done!

15 Comments

This was a great little game. Some of the puzzles were a bit counterintuitive:

Especially regarding the cylinder and the rope when the display read LLAMA. I still don't know why whatever I did worked. I almost got permanently stuck right after the mouse flag showed up.

Reply
Dingding321 October 22, 2015 3:20 PM

Was stuck at the exact same place trying to get the display to show "LLAMA" for the longest time. For those stuck there:

Hint: Unlike last time, this has almost nothing to do with rotating the rings, as long as you realize that the rope disappears when you rotate the rings in the previous "LLAMA" combination. So what else can you fiddle with in the box?
Examining the box gives you your list of nouns that you can play with.

I wonder what those buttons do now...especially that white one...

Press the white button when the rope is down, and you'll hear a fast ticking sound. If you wait until the ticking sound stops, the rope flies up.

Pull on the rope before the ticking stops to proceed.

Hope that helps!

Reply

I gotta say, dingding, I think you're smoking something. I figured out the

cow thing

and now I'm being asked for the second time to

make the display say LLAMA

but none of the

4 possible ring combinations

work. Specifically, I get

HERON for DD, no rope for UD, HORSE for DU, and MOUSE for UU.

So, for those options that do work, I

push the white button, which causes the rope to wiggle a bit. That's it. That's all I'm getting. No ticking, no reactions. I've tried it on all combinations of switch rings-pull rope-push button-pull rope (to change the display to reflect the new ring settings BEFORE I try the button trick) and switch rings-push button-pull rope (to leave the display on the previous setting.)

Nothing.

Reply

OHHHHH, Now I see. Some clarification was in order. Ask yourself,

What do each of those buttons do? Since the ring combination you want to use is not available, is there another way to make the rings do what you want?

The BLACK button switches the states of the buttons, and THAT is what starts the ticking sound, NOT the WHITE button.

Reply

Do I have to be a grandma to buy on of these boxes or can I just get one for myself?

Reply

Totally stuck a lot earlier than everyone else seems to be:

I'm at "An Evening at Home." I change the light, and the scene in the little room changes, but I can't get anything new to happen. Waiting does nothing that seems helpful, and tapping the window at various times does seemingly nothing at all. A hint, please?

Reply
TheNerdWonder October 22, 2015 10:54 PM replied to Lysana

Try playing with the buttons and waiting for a bit to see what happens.

Reply

I've done that in as many combinations as I can think of. Thanks, though. Maybe I'll get it another time. :)

Reply
throwawayx3t October 22, 2015 11:39 PM

Aaagh! It says I'm done but then says there's more I can do. Can't ... stop ... till I find ... everything ........

Reply
Patreon Donator Reka October 23, 2015 12:01 AM replied to Lysana

"An Evening at Home"

The white button turns on the light; the gray button dims it; and the black button turns it off.

If you turn on the light, the man starts reading the paper. If you dim the light, the man gets drowsy.

Turn on the light and wait for the man to sit down on the couch and start reading. Dim the light and wait for a yawn, then silence. Turn off the light. Now wait for something to happen.

If you wait just until you hear something and turn on the light, you wake up the guy and he goes upstairs to bed; you can start things over by pressing the white button. If you wait a little bit longer, you will see something happening, but the man won't, and you will have to restart with the white button again. But if you wait long enough...

Wait until you hear the burglar open the grandfather clock (it won't say so explicitly, but I forget what it says exactly), then turn on the light. The man and the burglar will scuffle, the man's wife will join the fray, the police will come, and you'll move on to the next stage.

Reply

Walkthrough:

Getting started:

U BOX
U CRANK 4 times
U DISPLAY 2 times
U WHITE BUTTON (or just U WHITE)
U GRAY (Spelling matters, commonwealth players!)
U BLACK
U DISPLAY

The Black Cylinder:

Rotating the rings on the cylinder to one of the four possible combinations (up-up, up-down, down-up, down-down) and then pulling the rope will cause the name of an animal to appear on the display.

The box has provided a statue of an animal...

... but causing HORSE to appear on the display doesn't make anything else happen on its own.

Once the display shows HORSE, U STATUE.

Any time that the display says, "Rotator re-engaged!" it's a sign that the current sub-puzzle has been completed, and it's time to U CRANK again.

An Evening at Home:

Once you have "repurposified" the buttons, U WHITE (BUTTON) to turn on the lights behind the window, and reveal a tiny stage setting.

First, we need the tiny man to fall asleep.

U GRAY (BUTTON) to dim the lights, and then wait until you hear a soft snoring.

U BLACK (BUTTON) to turn the lights off completely, and send our little man right off into the land of nod. If we wait now, it's clear that something is happening, but we can't see as the lights are off.

You will need to wait until just the right moment to turn the lights back on. If you turn them on too soon, or too late, you can just restart and send the little man off to sleep again.

The best time to turn the lights back on is when, "you hear a soft click, followed by rustling."

A Change of Managment:

Keep Using the TREE until there is "an uncomfortable clank inside the box." once the display shows, "UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT", U TREE, U DISPLAY, then try Using the other parts of the box.

Once the box has shut itself up, Use the DISPLAY until you are told the secret plan.

Now just WAIT (Z) until you hear a soft "moo" sound, then U BOX.

Now U TREE until the display reads "Please activate LLAMA."

Wasn't that one of the animals that was shown when we were mucking about with the cylinder rings earlier?

Yes, except now when we set the rings to that combination, the rope retracts into the box! Is there some other way to move the rings?

Using the WHITE BUTTON makes the rope wiggle, but the BLACK BUTTON has an interesting effect on the rings...

Set the rings to the correct position (up-down), then U BLACK (BUTTON) once to flip the rings, and again to flip them back. If you're quick, you'll be able to U ROPE before it retracts again.

Waving the flag:

The obvious thing to do now is Use the FLAG, but it seems to be on the fritz. We need to Use the CRANK to enable the FLAG, but before that we have to Use the STATUE to engage the CRANK, although first we must Use the BELL to unlock the STATUE. Except the BELL seems to be broken.

If we WAIT (Z) long enough, the tiny actor will have a suggestion for us.

Sometimes, the dumbest solutions are still the best; just keep Using the BELL until it works!

The Portrait of Granny Gray:

The unusual PORTRAIT will change its colours if we Use the raised items (HAIR, EYES, PENDANT). But to what end?

Play around with the PORTRAIT for long enough, and the DISPLAY will show a hint.

OK, now we have the correct colour combination, so how do we set the colours? Using the HAIR changes the colours of her HAIR, EYES, and PENDANT, Using the EYES changes only her eye colour, and Using the PENDANT changes the colour of her HAIR and PENDANT. But that means that there's a problem...

It doesn't seem to be possible to change the colour of her HAIR without also changing the colour of her PENDANT, and they start out of synchronisation with the correct combination.

Is there another way to change either the colour of her hair or pendant? Some other item on the box that might relate to one or the other?

It turns out that the BUTTONs now change the colour of the hair on the portrait. Just U PENDANT until the PENDANT is the right colour (DIAMOND in my game), then U EYES until the eyes are correct (BROWN for me), then Use the BUTTON which corresponds to the correct hair colour (mine was GRAY).

The Marble Pyramid:

If we Use the PYRAMID, the DISPLAY tells us that we need to warm it up. Perhaps one of the other items on the box will help us with this?

Using the CRANK then touching the pyramid again reveals that it's slightly less cold than it was before.

Keep Using the CRANK until it stops moving.

Uh-oh, now we're in trouble! Or so it seems. But not to worry; it's only a matter of time until things cool down.

Cookies from Strangers:

Usually, I wouldn't recommend eating food that comes from strange boxes, but in this case it's quite safe. Once the cookies have been removed, we can see that the PLATE bears a short inscription, and the DISPLAY offers a clue to decoding it.

If "D is for DING", then it seems that the first step is to U BELL, and then the other letters should also stand for sounds. But what sounds can we make with the box?

Well, there are items which PURR, WHINNY, and TOOT, which seems to match the inscription.

After Using the BELL, then U TREE, U STATUE, and U WHISTLE.

The Blue Bird of Puzzlement:

After a few more manipulations, we're facing a blue egg, with the DISPLAY hinting that we need to figure out what kind of egg it is. Wasn't there a bird in amongst those animal names earlier?

No rope tricks this time; just set the rings appropriately (down-down) and then U ROPE.

Mini-me:

Now it looks like we're going to have to open this BOXLET to continue. Fortunately, it's pretty easy for a while, as long as we make sure to Use the miniature version of each item which pops out (e.g. U CRANKLET rather than U CRANK).

Uh-oh, the FLAGLET doesn't seem to be working. Perhaps eXamining it will provide a hint as to how to progress?

A MOUSE? But didn't the FLAG in the main box show a LLAMA? This seems important.

Manipulate the RINGs on the CYLINDER into the correct positions (up-up), and U ROPE. Now the FLAGLET will respond.

A few more manipulations, and you're done!

Reply

Thanks, Reka and Nezuji. I finished! :)

Nejuzi, great walkthrough, by the way. I hope they feature it.

Reply
fuzzyface October 25, 2015 5:37 AM

Very cute game.

Reply
https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkEXUQyuOdzqjNjb7CbWDAJ8ufF6vv2bug October 31, 2015 1:13 AM

That is weird but completely adorable. Do play around after you win!

Reply

The game is no longer loading. Anyone got a link to a working one?

Reply

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