Navigation on the Notpron WebsiteIt seems a silly thing to explain how to navigate the webpage that is going to lead you to the "hardest riddle on the internet", but I suppose it'll be good to know where to go for things. You'll be tempted to go straight into the game, but who knows, you may have to come back here eventually.
The front page of Notpron is fairly simple. Don't hit the start button yet!
Scroll down and it'll show you some interesting stats about the game, and give you a choice of three languages: English, German and Chinese. Presumably if you are reading this blog, you'll be using the English version, but keep in mind the creator of the game is German, and there are a few puzzle solutions based on this. Clicking on the flag will lead to various helpful and interesting pages. You don't have to go into the pages right now, but be aware they exist.
You can access the forums through this and the forums will have a thread opened of every level, which as mentioned before is helpful to go through.
Even a person trying out this game with no idea of what they're in for should be able to get past this level in a matter of seconds, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about here. Since this is the first level, it actually establishes quite a few things that will hold true for most levels in the future.
A notpron "level" generally consists of an image on a black background and not much else that is immediately obvious. Sometimes you'll have some extra text at the bottom of the screen, but other than that, most of the hints are going to be hidden away somewhere, and that will be explained pretty soon. But pay attention to what you're already given here.
The picture has a number in the corner. This is obvious, but it's one of the few things you can trust in this game to not be misleading. I don't believe there's ever a level in this game where the number lies to you (ie, making you think you skipped a level, or hit a dead-end, or anything like that), and if I'm wrong, I'll point that out if it happens.
There's also some background noises. It's actually a slowed down clip of the audience cheering in an Elvis concert, but it's fairly creepy. Most browsers should play the sound automatically, due to semi-recent changes in the html. It used to only work on Internet Explorer, so if you see any pages saying that only that browser is recommended, you can mostly ignore those. Feel free to mute the sound, but every time you reach a new level, it's a good idea to at least make sure the sound is still there, because you never know when it'll change up on you.
Another thing to keep an eye out while playing levels is the title of the page in your browser. This one is named "something was in his way". If you try and click on the door again, you'll see what that means.
This level has actually four solutions. Since these are the first few levels, giving the answer here isn't really frowned upon, but try and figure it out on your own. This is a good way to really learn what Notpron is about and how you go about dealing with solutions. If you wish, you can highlight the next paragraph to see the solutions.
- "Trick it" is what the popup says. Tricking the popup basically means to run your mouse over the doorknob, keep it there and then close the popup without moving your mouse by hitting either space or enter.
- An alternate way of tricking it is using the TAB key to highlight the clickable objects on the screen. Anything that is clickable will have a line surrounding it, and then you can use the enter key to trigger the page without causing the popup to appear.
- The last way is to pay attention to the hand in the picture. It is pointing up towards something. The popup does mention something about an address. The URL, or address as it's commonly called can be changed manually to "level3.htm". Just replace level2.htm. Fairly standard for Notpron.
- The last solution is not one that the game even teaches you can do yet. If you aren't a computer person, this will be taught later, but we're putting this here for completion's sake. You can view the source code and click the link to the next page that way.
If the last level was meant to wean you off the point-and-click solutions, this one eliminates that mindset entirely. The third solution listed for the previous level (if you haven't read it, go back and do so. I only used spoiler tags so you could try to figure it out on your own) is actually going to be the method used to progress in the majority of levels from this point on. It's not just as simple as replacing a level number though. If it was, there would be no puzzle here. At this point in the game, things are still pretty easy, but only compared to what lies ahead. Don't feel bad if this one takes you a while to figure out.
So let's analyze the clues given here. The page title, "Turn me ON!", is actually a remnant of the solution to the old version of this riddle, which was more complex. You can read more about that in the official walkthrough book mentioned in the first post if you want to get into that, but that's another story entirely. You can basically ignore that hint. If you know where to look for further hints, you can do that here, but it's not a required step yet, so I'll go into that once it's necessary.
That leaves one major hint here, and that's the flashing text in the image. If you're having trouble reading it, remember that you can take a screenshot of your current computer screen with the Print Screen (or prt scrn, as it's usually abbreviated) button on the keyboard. Just hit the button when the text flashes, paste the image into Paint or any other image software, and there you go. Just think about what the hint tells you to do, and look at the url carefully. Saying any more at this point would probably give it away, so just give it a couple minutes if it doesn't immediately make sense and I'm sure you'll get it. It's not unusual to spend many hours, days, weeks, etc on a single puzzle once you get deeper into this, so just keep that in mind.
Two new things are introduced in this level, the Google bar and the password authentication field.
The Google bar indicates that you more than likely will have to look up information to pass this level. Without very specific knowledge that most people won't know offhand, Google will be your friend. The Google bar in the pages is meant to include the "-notpron" search tag to avoid spoilers, but you are free to use Google in a new tab if you wish, just be aware that spoilers may exist especially if you are searching for a very specific phrase. This level you won't have to worry about that.
We said earlier that the game has weaned you off of point and click solutions as the main thing to do, but that doesn't mean you don't ever have to do it. A very obvious click hotspot is here in the form of a gold clock. Click on that and you'll find the password field. Don't forget to use your combined knowledge of past levels, such as reading the name of the page.
Password fields don't mean that you have to sign up for anything (indeed, the only thing you'll want to ever sign up for is the forums), but you will have to input two specific words or phrases in the username and password field. The text at the bottom of this page goes over the specific rules for the password fields that you may want to remember. The popup field should give a hint, but it might not all the time, so keep that in mind. Also note that when mousing over the item you have to click, it will show you the URL to the next page, but this is never a hint to the solution to the current page.
Another thing to note is that in these earlier levels, pictures do help to solve the puzzle, but in later levels, they sometimes have nothing to do with the solution. It is always helpful though to search through the picture carefully.
So putting together the hints you have at your disposal on this page, let's tally them up and see if we got the same things:
- The name of the page "Look in the dark..."
- Taking that hint, we can look in the darkness of the picture and notice a pattern shown on the dresser on the left of the screen. Look familiar? Yep, Morse Code. This is one of those situations where an average person would probably know what Morse Code is, but not how to read it. Everyone has different exposure to things though, so if you don't know what it is immediately, searching for something like "dots and dashes" would probably lead you in the right direction. Most of the puzzle solutions are things that most people would be at least vaguely familiar with though.
- In the password field you'll see "Light this place now". This I feel isn't needed as a clue, but the original picture of this level had very hard to see Morse Code, which David changed so people could see it better.
At this point, these clues are really all you need to solve the puzzle; finding the username and password.
Accompanying the picture underneath is "What was the name of this song again?". Remember your Notpron knowledge--check the page name and notice that a google bar is here, which means you must search for something in google.
The username/password field is a bit more well hidden here, but a quick tab in the window will show you the clickable spot, otherwise you can watch your mouse turn into a hand over the proper spot.
This level is actually a bit of a step down from the previous one. It uses the same general solution, but not as obscure of a subject. At least with the clues given in the picture and on the page. Let's compare the clues again, and see if you get all of them along with me.
- Page name, "Light your torch", prompting to look in the darkness again
- The password popup has the clue "live"--not sure offhand actually if that is relevant to anything. Welcome to notpron, where you never know!
- The name of the CD "Big Bad Voodoo Daddy"
- In the darkness of the picture you'll see (quite clearly, honestly) "eyes like an angel smiles like a devil"
- Text under the picture "What was the name of this song again?"
This should be more than enough to get you your answer. On a side note, the band on the CD is actually really fun and nice to listen to, I have some of my favourite songs in my car. Just if you want to try something new!
And that's levels 1-5 of Notpron. Next time we will discuss 6-10. At this point, any direct answers to solutions will stop, and we will merely try and guide you as best we can while still teaching you what you need for the latter levels of Notpron. Hopefully this helped you with the basic understanding of Notpron and how it works, and what it expects out of you.