Thimbleweed Park theories

This thread will probably be full of spoilers, but I think that lots of us have the need to discuss the “open questions” that the game lays out. Who killed Franklin? And Boris? Who is the kidnapper and what’s going on with the flashback where one of the detectives is in the coroner’s office? What part of the game is controlled by the AI/Chuck, the game developers and us?

Going around the world after finishing the game and re-playing certain episodes makes these a bit clearer. But it’s still subjective, so it’ll be good to share theories and crazy ideas.

Yes this is a very good topic to have. The thoughts I had so far:

The Sheriff/Coroner/Hotel Manager is not a real person, it’s created by the “evil” part of Chuck inside the pillowtron. Things that point to this:

  1. Chuck mentions in his diary he fired the coroner, but the city has to have one so he says he has perhaps a solution
  2. The sheriff is manipulated by Chuck to prevent Ray & Reyes to reach the pillow factory (he’s on the phone with him when he says he will take care of the two)
  3. The sheriff can move too fast around the city
  4. The killer/kidnapper is showed as a ghost, perhaps Chuck modifying the sheriff for the purpose

The phone ringing is either Chuck modifying the game, or some external entity modifying the game, possibly “delivering” the packets for Ray & Reyes


It’s a game imitating real life.

So: you can die. But, you are a character in a game, so you come back. It’s like having multiple lives. For some reason, at one point the other agent died. So he/she is on the coroner’s table, dead. But, as a playable character, you should have multiple lives, so you jump up the table and hit the streets once again.

The Game is played by Chuck. Chuck subconsciously controls things to drive characters to shut him (and the game) down. So… there.

My theory revolves around how in the current iteration of the game, it’s all a fight between Chuck (taking over the AI that makes the game possible) and the Devs.

Chuck wants Delores to understand what’s going on
The game devs want you to not realise what’s going on

I think the ringing phone and modem sound was the Japanese game company hacking into the game. The same modem sound was heard when they uploaded Ray to the Upper World.

1 Like

Yes that’s true. But I think it’s the same sound when Delores connects to MMucasFlem server?

  1. They all look like Chuck :joy:

Yes! I noticed that too!!!

1 Like

I will post my (incomplete) “theory” here.

So, here we are.
Please be aware that:


  2. I think I got the main idea, the essence of the “secret” of Thimbleweed Park

  3. I don’t think it’s just an opinion, since I am no genius indeed, but the “secret” is pretty much written in plain and in sight.
    Only, you can REACH THE END of the game forgetting the clues and the details.

  4. I am surely wrong about many details

  5. I am surely missing lots of details

Ready to go?

The graphic adventure “Thimbleweed Park” which we are all playing is a covering for the videogame characters, all set up as a red herring for us.

As soon as Chuck realized that they were living in a videogame,
he also realized about the implications and limitations of their lives.

He says it, he writes it in his diary. Free choice and linear existence were at stake:
he realized that gamers limit their actions (in fact, they control them) and, worse of all, they REBOOT the game,
so they ciclically relive the same things over and over.
Chuck says it in his diary:
he managed to build a tube which is un-coupled from the Thimbleweed Park reality,
a simple reset-counter. And he saw it increasing: he discovered that his reality was resetting.
And RESTARTING also, so that in his diary you can see that the log entry numbers sometimes jump BACKWARD.

So, game by game, as in a loop, he gained more and more consciousness about this fact (he began to feel resets by himself without the tube), and un-coupled himself from that reality.
He himself IS the main “AI” he discovered, calling himself from “outside” to discover the truth.
By uncoupling himself, he was free from the slavery of the TWP reality, played again and again by us, players, and probably also tampered and tweaked by developers.

So Chuck’s diary is one of the keys (obviously, and it’s all in plain sight!).

The other master key is the Text adventure.
Chuck says in the diary that he crafted the text adventure as a perfect hiding.
So he hides in it. AND BEGINS TO SAVE THE OTHER CHARACTERS, by leading them to this new HIDDEN level of reality (the text adventure, Colossal Cave II).
In that hidden reality, they are all free. They are still videogame characters, but no one will be controlled by any player, by any developer, anymore.

As Zak Phoenix McKracken conveniently defined:

  • our level of reality can be called “level 1” (players, developers)
  • Thimbleweed Park point’n’click graphic adventure is “level 2” of reality (fake)
  • Colossal Dungeon Cave Adventure II is “level 3” (where videogame characters can be free)

We people of level 1 are NOT supposed to discover the underground reality (level 3), otherwise we may discover the videogame characters and force them away from their freedom.

Boris is “killed” because any re-starting of the pillow factory could reveal part of the secret,
but also possibly to be abducted to this deeper level of reality.
Reyes is “killed”/“abducted” at some point of the game, because his father is ALIVE in level 3, and wants him safe with him in level 3.
He is alive, you can see him moving his clock in the picture in the security office of the abandoned factory. (looking several times at the picture)

So Reyes is abducted very early in the game, and set up free to the “level 3” world.

So? Who is the Reyes we have been playing since the “coroner+Reyes+lady(mother?) in the morgue” cut scene?
He is a replica. A fake Reyes, not knowing to be a replica.

To preserve the secret world of the text adventure, Chuck decided to implement replicas of the videogame characters he wanted to save from “level 2”. It’s in plain sight!!! You can see the pillow factory building them in the underground: the factory is building “humanoid” robots! To replace the missing characters (freed up, and brought to level 3).

Also Thimbleweed Park county is fake when you play the game! It’s not existing in the paintings all around in the game.

But we are supposed not to discover this!

So we are all misled by Chuck (and by all the other freed videogame characters) to believe that the “real” underground is the underground of the factory, and that we should shut down the pillowtron and the “level 2” reality.
So that we would be satisfied, complete the game, and go to sleep.
While they are hidden, free in “level 3”, which is not rebooting, nor controlled by any player.

Maybe I am forgetting to write several things I have noticed, but that’s not a problem.
I still need to better understand:

  • the floppies being installed a virus in the factory. Possibly, those infected floppies are intended to hide the Text adventure in Chuck’s office computer at each reboot of TWP game, and un-couple it from reboots (once you reboot the factory AI, you can’t play the text adventure anymore, so that the characters in level 3 are free and safe)
  • the signals
  • if Delores can be saved to level 3 (Chuck says he left several clues to make her understand, but he does not want US to discover. WE ARE his enemies; not the feds, not the foreing investors, no one else)

Final details I wish to add:

  1. in the Text Adventure, you can see some graffiti depicting videogame characters being chased by video-gaming humans. That’s what Chuck wanted to put an end to.

  2. in the Text Adventure, you can see a beam of light, AND THE SOUND OF A RIVER to the north. The cave is the hidden world! Level 3!
    The level 2 world is the “upper” world, fake TWP world, and you can hear the sound of a river coming from it: it’s the river of the very first location of the game, the bridge/railway/river/corpse location!
    So, if you go in this location full to the right, there is the “end of trail” hot-spot. This MAY BE the entrance to level three, the hidden world of free videogame characters. Which built the level 2 world to mislead us.

I don’t think we can enter there. Maybe we should just leave the huge rock on that entrance, and let them live happy, free, in peace.


Fascinating theory. I am missing the part where Chuck saves the TWP characters into the game. How did you come to that conclusion?

I feel like Delores being a game developer has to be important to the secret underpinnings of a story about a game rebelling against its developers. Especially since the post-credits bit shows us what is apparently the machine that the developers are developing Thimbleweed Park on, and it’s a C64 just like the one Delores uses. Maybe it just is Delores’ computer; maybe Delores is one of the developers. Or, to put it another way, maybe the Delores you play in the game is an authorial self-insert character for one of the developers of the fictional Thimbleweed Park for C64.

I’d say Chuck is not dead.

The sheriff, coroner and receptionist are the very same person - Chuck.

You can only see one of them at a time.
No matter if you switch between characters.
If these characters where robots/AIs, why not just make three of them?

I have a theory: I failed playing the game and lost. Chuck very clearly states that in order to stop the madness, I must shutdown the simulation and destroy it.

But… after having Delores shutdown the simulation, I didn’t destroy the game from my computer (i.e., I didn’t move the app to the trash) – I instead watched the entire credits roll by and gave enough time for the simulation to be restarted.

I am now playing a second second time. I have failed the people of Thimbleweed Park. I am so very sorry… but I cannot bring myself down to uninstalling the game and destroying it. :frowning:

1 Like


Fascinating! It’s close to what I was thinking, although you provide some additional details I didn’t notice. To me, it was rather clear from Chuck’s Journal, that he was somehow getting rid of the people in town and replacing them with replicants.

This to me was reinforced by Nikki’s comment of how, from a very popular baker shop, all of a sudden people stopped buying cakes one day, but went crazy purchasing tubes (because they are robots!).

When I saw the scene with Reyes in the Coroner’s office-a-hoo, my wife and I both got the impression that he was just then being replaced with a replicant – like a Twilight Zone episode or something.

Like you, I picked up on the journal’s comment about having “a solution” for replacing the Coroner. I thought that was a hint to the fact that the Coroner and Sheriff were just copies, reusing the same robot mold or something.

Intriguing! :slight_smile:


I read a lot of fascinating theories, but I’m not convinced.

I don’t have my own “theory of everything”, but I’m playing the game again keeping in mind what I know about the ending. A thing I always thought was that the b/w monitor cutscenes were seen from Chuck’s eyes, who was still in control of everything. However, I replayed the game and got a new cutscene I didn’t see on my first play - that is, Chuck in his office turning to the monitor and saying something like “I did what you wanted”.

So, I’m now thinking that the monitor scenes are seen from the eyes of the developers. Let’s borrow the level metaphor - we are level 1, level 2 is the wireframe, level 3 is twp, level 4 is the text adventure. The developers are in level 2, I’m not talking about the level 1 devs like Ron.

We are told by Chuck that the developers noticed he was going to blow the game and they’re trying to stop him. So he leaves level 3, hides in level 4, but continues to interact with level 3 to save everyone.

With that in mind, the fact that Ray/Reyes blacks out, and we see it with the dev’s eyes, can be interpreted like that - the devs, seeing that the characters are coming closer to the solution, tried to modify the game by removing one of the characters. However, the coroner (which is controlled by Chuck) with help of Ricki Lee (which is a vacuum tube expert) are able to bring her/him back to the game.

I want to play more to have a better understanding of the modem sounds, the Reyes’ picture in the factory and other small things.

At this point I don’t even care anymore about who killed who.

But the most unsettling thing for me is what Chuck says in the end - Delores needs to destroy the level 2 computer because the devs are trying to reboot the game and keep the characters in their Limbo, in their loop of non-life…


WE LOST, GUYS. THE LEVEL 2 DEVS WON! The game HAS been rebooted, and we’re still able to play it. The Level 3 characters will NEVER win.

1 Like

I know! We are supposed to uninstall and destroy the game before it reboots. We failed! :frowning:

1 Like

So interesting… What about the game devs being in Thimblecon? How does that fit with the theory?

And… the real developers must be laughing their assets off reading these… It’s what happens when you don’t provide clear closure! :smiley:

All of Thimbleweed Park is just a room of The Cave and after the game is over Delores brings her trinket to the reception and meets two other characters (each starring in a future game).


If we all delete our Thimbleweed Park games, Ron, David and Gary will die!


@Guga I think that scene with the monitors might be referring to Chuck talking to the AI, as mentioned several times in the first part of the diary (the AI asking him to do things, like getting rid of Franklin)