I will post my (incomplete) “theory” here.
So, here we are.
Please be aware that:
*** SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS ***
I think I got the main idea, the essence of the “secret” of Thimbleweed Park
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.
I am surely wrong about many details
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:
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.
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.