Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Game 363: Gertrude's Puzzles

Gertrude's Puzzles, Rocky's Boots, and Robot Odyssey form a tidy little lineage of puzzle games, graduating from abstract logic puzzles to computer logic and programming, all of them running on an engine by Atari alumnus Warren Robinett highly reminiscent of Adventure on the Atari 2600.

Puzzles opens with cleverly-designed optional tutorial. If you already know how to play, it's easily skipped.

Just like in Adventure, you move a square around a blocky one-tone world and can pick up and drop stuff, one item at a time.


Gertrude's room is a hub to three types of puzzles.

Take her to a puzzle room to get started.

'Box puzzles' task you to complete an array of shapes where each column and row must consist of pieces all different shapes and all different colors. If the 3x3 one is too easy, a 4x4 array waits one room beyond.

Each completed puzzle grants you a prize.

'Loop puzzles' call back to Moptown Clubhouse, as you try to guess the rule for which shapes are allowed inside each loop. You can and must use trial and error here.

The intersection follows Venn diagram logic.

One room beyond is a triple-Venn diagram.

Though with only two dimensions, nothing can ever go in the centermost overlap

Finally, in "network puzzles" you must place shapes in graphs connected by lines. Single-line edges mean the shapes must differ by one trait, double-lines mean they must differ by two.

Plan ahead or you might run out of options.

That's all of the puzzles, but there are a few more rooms.

My prizes, for six completed puzzles

Sick of triangles, squares, and octagons? The storeroom can change them.

You can make your own too.

Once again, I'm skipping the GAB for this children's edutainment game, but I want to mention two related games.

Gertrude's Secrets

Released alongside Gertrude's Puzzles was Gertrude's Secrets; an easier version targeting younger children.

Arrays expect common colors/shapes per row, making the puzzle far easier

Loop puzzles come in single-loop and double-loop variants, but no triple-loops.

Networks become linear 'trains.'

Hooray, I'm a secret master!

Logic Tools


This unreleased, unfinished game surfaced on Archive.org in 2015.

"Turn and Match" is the most mysterious option here.

Wander around an Adventure-like world where each room contains one big icon, and a bunch of little icons you can pick up and drop.

The spacebar flips your icon (implying this reverses direction of rotation), and the joystick button picks things up and drops them, but I couldn't find a way to rotate the objects, or anything to do.

"Logic Arcade" is clearly a mostly-complete prototype for Gertrude's Puzzles.

Gertrude's room is still a puzzle hub. I don't know what the fishhook does.

The storeroom shows every shape which includes outlines and solids

The triple-Venn is a bit less readable here, but all facets are used.

The final mode "Logic Gates" is an early Rocky's Boots prototype, consisting of a sandbox of components for creating simple logic circuits.

Head too far south, though, and you'll face the stuff that nightmares are made of. A sewer maze with alligators that walk through walls.

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