Hello, hello!
Zip here to help you out!

Before we zip ahead of ourselves, make sure that you already put the jigsaw puzzle together. Oh, you did? That's great!

So then I bet you either need hints, or you already decoded Riley's message and want to check your answer. I sure hope it's that last one!

Oh my, I am so excited to see what you came up with. To check your answer, type it into the box below and hit the button. If you are wrong, I will let you down gently without giving away the correct answer.

Oh dear, I am so sorry, that is not right. Keep at it and I just know you will get there eventually.

Oh dear, I am so sorry, that is not right. "Always Obey The Power" is indeed what our tech-savvy freedom fighters made those city screens spell out, but that is just a starting point. You will need to do something more clever to figure out what the ?'s should be. Keep at it and I just know you will get there eventually.

Holy moly, that is correct! You did it! Hooray for you! Let's patch Riley in here to give you the full rundown.

You seem to be having a little trouble decoding Riley's message. If you want me to patch Riley in to tell you the answer and explain the whole thing, just let me know.

Roger that! Whenever you need a nudge along, just click a hint below.

  1. Look at what our ragtag group of tech-savvy freedom fighters made those screens spell out: “Always Obey The Power”. We are not talking about that bozo with a cape though. Look at what our ragtag group of tech-savvy freedom fighters made those screens spell out: “Always Obey The Power”. We are not talking about that bozo with a cape though.
  2. Riley and I are proud of our nerdy comrades, cleverly wiring up all those city screens. The Power might think the message in the upper half of the city is an homage to him, but what we are really trying to say to our allies throughout the city is: Follow the power, or electricity, through the wires to discover the real message in our encampment below. Riley and I are proud of our nerdy comrades, cleverly wiring up all those city screens. The Power might think the message in the upper half of the city is an homage to him, but what we are really trying to say to our allies throughout the city is: Follow the power, or electricity, through the wires to discover the real message in our encampment below.
  3. We hacked that first screen at top left to display an “A” by connecting it directly to that other one already displaying an “A”. Easy! We hacked that first screen at top left to display an “A” by connecting it directly to that other one already displaying an “A”. Easy!
  4. Are you getting the drift? Plain old wires simply pass the electrical signal for a given letter straight through. But getting all those other screens to display the right letters was more difficult. So we built all these electrical boxes to modify the signals going between the screens. Are you getting the drift? Plain old wires simply pass the electrical signal for a given letter straight through. But getting all those other screens to display the right letters was more difficult. So we built all these electrical boxes to modify the signals going between the screens.
  5. There are five different types of electrical boxes. Ones that are the same color with the same symbol do the same thing to the letter signals passing through them. To an observant onlooker, the upper half of the city could actually serve as an example to deduce what they each do. If you need help with a specific one, click the type of box giving you trouble. Or just keep asking me for more hints below. There are five different types of electrical boxes. Ones that are the same color with the same symbol do the same thing to the letter signals passing through them. To an observant onlooker, the upper half of the city could actually serve as an example to deduce what they each do. If you need help with a specific one, click the type of box giving you trouble. Or just keep asking me for more hints below.
    1. The signal for the O in OBEY goes through one before turning into the P in POWER. So what might we have engineered the to do? The signal for the O in OBEY goes through one before turning into the P in POWER. So what might we have engineered the to do?
    2. In a real circuit, that bumpy symbol on the is called an “inductor”, which has the ability to induce a higher voltage in a circuit. In a real circuit, that bumpy symbol on the is called an “inductor”, which has the ability to induce a higher voltage in a circuit.
    3. The increases a letter signal by 1. So an A would become a B, a Y would become a Z, or in this case, an O would become a P. The increases a letter signal by 1. So an A would become a B, a Y would become a Z, or in this case, an O would become a P.
    1. The signal for the Y in OBEY goes through two before turning into the W in POWER. Any guesses as to what that one does? The signal for the Y in OBEY goes through two before turning into the W in POWER. Any guesses as to what that one does?
    2. In a real circuit, that zig zag symbol on the is called a “resistor”, which has the ability to decrease the current flowing through a circuit. In a real circuit, that zig zag symbol on the is called a “resistor”, which has the ability to decrease the current flowing through a circuit.
    3. If the Y signal only went through one , it would have become an X... If the Y signal only went through one , it would have become an X...
    4. The decreases a letter signal by 1. So a B would become an A, a Z would become a Y, or a Y going through two of them would become a W. The decreases a letter signal by 1. So a B would become an A, a Z would become a Y, or a Y going through two of them would become a W.
    1. The signal for the Y in ALWAYS goes through one and turns into the B in OBEY. Then the signal for that B goes through another and turns right back into the Y in OBEY. Did you look up what that triangle with a circle symbol is called? The signal for the Y in ALWAYS goes through one and turns into the B in OBEY. Then the signal for that B goes through another and turns right back into the Y in OBEY. Did you look up what that triangle with a circle symbol is called?
    2. In a real circuit, the triangle/circle symbol you see on the is often referred to as an “inverter”... In a real circuit, the triangle/circle symbol you see on the is often referred to as an “inverter”...
    3. An inverter is used in electronics to flip an electrical signal. If a voltage going in were low, it’d come out high. If it went in high, it’d come out low. An inverter is used in electronics to flip an electrical signal. If a voltage going in were low, it’d come out high. If it went in high, it’d come out low.
    4. If an A went through a it would become a Z. If a Z went through one, it would become an A. If a C went through a , it would become an X. If an X went through one it would become a C. If an A went through a it would become a Z. If a Z went through one, it would become an A. If a C went through a , it would become an X. If an X went through one it would become a C.
    5. The flips the letter signal around to the other side of the alphabet. So an A would become a Z, a Y would become a B, or an M would become a N. The flips the letter signal around to the other side of the alphabet. So an A would become a Z, a Y would become a B, or an M would become a N.
    1. The signals for the L in ALWAYS and the H in THE both go into a before being merged into the T in THE. This one’s tricker than ones with only one input plug… math for the win! The signals for the L in ALWAYS and the H in THE both go into a before being merged into the T in THE. This one’s tricker than ones with only one input plug… math for the win!
    2. In a real circuit, that half-circle symbol on the is called an “and gate”, which takes both of its inputs into consideration before creating a single output. In a real circuit, that half-circle symbol on the is called an “and gate”, which takes both of its inputs into consideration before creating a single output.
    3. L is the 12th letter of the alphabet, H is the 8th, and T is the 20th... L is the 12th letter of the alphabet, H is the 8th, and T is the 20th...
    4. The two input signals to the get added together to form the output. L is the 12th letter of the alphabet and H is 8th, so an L and an H going into a would produce the 20th letter of the alphabet, or T (12 + 8 = 20). The two input signals to the get added together to form the output. L is the 12th letter of the alphabet and H is 8th, so an L and an H going into a would produce the 20th letter of the alphabet, or T (12 + 8 = 20).
    1. The input plugs to the are colored differently, and it matters which wire goes into which plug. Try to use the one that creates the R in POWER to figure out what it does. But only if you already know what the and do! The input plugs to the are colored differently, and it matters which wire goes into which plug. Try to use the one that creates the R in POWER to figure out what it does. But only if you already know what the and do!
    2. In a real circuit, that zig zag symbol on the is called a “resistor”, which has the ability to decrease the current flowing through a circuit by a set amount. That symbol on the ? It’s called a “variable resistor”... In a real circuit, that zig zag symbol on the is called a “resistor”, which has the ability to decrease the current flowing through a circuit by a set amount. That symbol on the ? It’s called a “variable resistor”...
    3. The signal from the E in OBEY goes through a and becomes an F before going into the lightly colored plug of the . The signal from the Y in OBEY goes through a and turns into an X before going into the dark colored plug of the . X is the 24th letter of the alphabet, and F is 6th. What is R? The signal from the E in OBEY goes through a and becomes an F before going into the lightly colored plug of the . The signal from the Y in OBEY goes through a and turns into an X before going into the dark colored plug of the . X is the 24th letter of the alphabet, and F is 6th. What is R?
    4. X is the 24th letter of the alphabet, F is 6th, and R is the 18th. X is the 24th letter of the alphabet, F is 6th, and R is the 18th.
    5. The signal going into the lighter input plug of the gets subtracted from the signal going into the darker input plug. X is the 24th letter of the alphabet and F is 6th, so an X going into the darker plug and an F going into the lighter plug would produce the 18th letter of the alphabet, or R (24 - 6 = 18). The signal going into the lighter input plug of the gets subtracted from the signal going into the darker input plug. X is the 24th letter of the alphabet and F is 6th, so an X going into the darker plug and an F going into the lighter plug would produce the 18th letter of the alphabet, or R (24 - 6 = 18).
  6. Try to find a path from one letter to another that only passes through one type of box to more easily deduce what it does. Then find another path that only goes through that type of box and one other in order to isolate unknowns. Rinse and repeat. Try to find a path from one letter to another that only passes through one type of box to more easily deduce what it does. Then find another path that only goes through that type of box and one other in order to isolate unknowns. Rinse and repeat.
  7. Note the arrows on the electrical boxes’ plugs! Some wires are inputs and some are outputs. Power only flows in the direction of the arrows, so do not get caught up trying to go backwards. Note the arrows on the electrical boxes’ plugs! Some wires are inputs and some are outputs. Power only flows in the direction of the arrows, so do not get caught up trying to go backwards.
  8. Note the connection points between wires and from wires to screens. Some wires branch off from each other (carrying the same letter signal) and others might pass near screens but do not actually plug into them. Note the connection points between wires and from wires to screens. Some wires branch off from each other (carrying the same letter signal) and others might pass near screens but do not actually plug into them.
  9. Note that some electrical boxes have two inputs instead of one. In those cases, the box takes both inputs into consideration at the same time in order to create a single output. Note that some electrical boxes have two inputs instead of one. In those cases, the box takes both inputs into consideration at the same time in order to create a single output.
  10. If you are an electrical nerd—or robot—you might recognize some of the symbols on our electrical boxes from circuit diagrams, but do not get too caught up on that. They only behave kind of similar to what they do in a real circuit. If you are an electrical nerd—or robot—you might recognize some of the symbols on our electrical boxes from circuit diagrams, but do not get too caught up on that. They only behave kind of similar to what they do in a real circuit.
  11. For security purposes, I replaced the letters on the screens in our encampment at bottom with question marks. But once you use everything you have learned about our brilliant wiring job, you should be able to figure out what would go there anyway—and uncover our powerful message to The Power. For security purposes, I replaced the letters on the screens in our encampment at bottom with question marks. But once you use everything you have learned about our brilliant wiring job, you should be able to figure out what would go there anyway—and uncover our powerful message to The Power.
  12. Oh dear, are you still stumped on what our electrical boxes do? Head back to hint #5, click the box you are having trouble with I will give you some more help. Oh dear, are you still stumped on what our electrical boxes do? Head back to hint #5, click the box you are having trouble with I will give you some more help.

Riley here! I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat to find out how our plan went. Well, drum roll please!

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Yesss! RESISTANCE!

Did you like what we did there? I thought the way we made our rebellious message to The (Soon-To-Not-Be-In) Power was very clever, using their mind control screens against them.

Not following? Let me catch you up.

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Our ragtag group of electrically-minded freedom fighters was hard at work the past few weeks, building all those electrical boxes you see around the place.

The gist is, we wired up the screens throughout the city with our boxes to carefully modify the electrical signals going between them. That way, we could control what letters each screen would display. If you look at how things work in the upper half of the city, you should be able to sleuth out how each box works. Then using that information, you could figure out what letters should replace the question marks on the screens in our encampment below.

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Here’s how to get going. Look towards the top, where The Power is spewing nonsense to his brainwashed followers. We first connected things up to make the screens display something the self-obsessed bozo would think is an homage to him: “ALWAYS OBEY THE POWER”. But what we were really trying to say to you and our allies throughout the city is: Follow the power, or electricity, through the wires to discover our real message.

So that was your hint to focus on all the screens, wires, and electrical boxes. To the untrained eye, our wiring job may look like a chaotic jumble, but just take it piece by piece.

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First, see that screen all the way at top left? Notice how we hacked it to display an A by connecting it directly to that other one already with an A... Get it? Plain old wires simply pass the electrical signal for a given letter straight through.

That is, until they hit one of our electrical boxes.

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Now, you see how there are five different types of boxes, right? Well, you’d be smart to guess that ones with the same color and same symbol do the same thing. And when I say that they “do” something, what I mean is, they change the letters passing through them. In goes one letter, out goes another.

I’ll get into the nitty gritty about how you should figure out exactly what each box does, but first, some pro tips...

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Pro Tip #1: See those arrows on the plugs? It means some wires are inputs and some are outputs. Power only flows in the direction of the arrows, so don’t get caught up trying to go backwards.

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Pro Tip #2: Also, don’t get thrown off by the connection points between wires or from wires to screens. Some wires simply branch off from each other (carrying the same letter signal) and others might pass near screens but don’t actually plug into them.

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Pro Tip #3: If you’re an electrical nerd like us, you might recognize some of the symbols on our electrical boxes from circuit diagrams. They’re small hints about what the boxes do, but also not super necessary, so don’t get too caught up on it. The boxes only behave kind of similar to what those symbols do in a real circuit anyway.

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Alright, so again, you should use the upper half of the city as an example to work through what each box does, then figure out what the question marks should be at bottom. Your high level strategy here should be to find a path from one letter to another that only passes through one type of box (so you can more easily logic out what it does). Then, find another path that only goes through the type of box you just figured out plus one other type to keep it simple. Rinse and repeat.

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Let’s start with the red box.

Notice how the signal for the O in OBEY goes through one red box before turning into the P in POWER. So you’d be wise to guess a red box increases a letter signal by 1. Meaning, if an A went in a B would come out, if a Y went in a Z would come out, or in this case, if an O went in a P would come out.

Our nerdy engineers wanted to label it with something appropriate, so they chose that bumpy-looking symbol. In a real circuit, that symbol is called an “inductor”, which has the ability to induce a higher voltage in a circuit. So you can see why it kinda makes sense here.

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Now let’s tackle the blue box.

Here’s a good path to start with: the signal for the Y in OBEY goes through two blue boxes before turning into the W in POWER. So the blue box decreases a letter signal by 1, see? Meaning, a B would become an A, a Z would become a Y, or a Y going through two of them would become a W.

In a real circuit, that zig zaggy symbol is called a “resistor”, which—through it’s property of “resistance”—has the ability to decrease the current flowing through a circuit. Which makes sense for our wiring, but also makes our message to The Power all the more appropriate. (I know, I know, we’re hilarious.)

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Purple box time.

The signal for the Y in ALWAYS goes through one purple box and turns into the B in OBEY. Then the signal for that B goes through another purple box and turns right back into the Y in OBEY... If that’s not enough of a hint, here’s another tip off: in a real circuit, that triangle-with-a-circle symbol is called an “inverter”, which flips an electrical signal from high to low or low to high. So this box flips the letter signal, too, from the start of the alphabet to the end. So, an A would flip to a Z, a Z to an A, a C to an X, or an X to a C.

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On to the green box.

This one’s a bit different since two wires go into it instead of just one. But all that means is the output letter is based on two input letters instead of just one. Like, notice how the L in ALWAYS and the H in THE both go into a green box before coming out as the T in THE. Since L is the 12th letter of the alphabet, H is the 8th, and T is the 20th, you should get that the two inputs get added together to form the output (12 + 8 = 20).

In a real circuit, that half-circle symbol is called an “and gate”, which similarly combines both of its inputs into a single output.

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And last but not least, the yellow box.

There’s also two input plugs here, but they come with a final twist: they’re colored differently. And yup, it matters which wire goes into which plug.

Here’s the path you should focus on. The signal from the E in OBEY goes through a red box and becomes an F before going into the lightly colored plug of the yellow box. The signal from the Y in OBEY goes through a blue box and turns into an X before going into the dark colored plug of the yellow box. With X being the 24th letter of the alphabet, F the 6th, and R the 18th, you get the idea here: the letter going into the lighter input plug gets subtracted from the letter going into the darker input plug.

In a real circuit, that box-with-an-arrow symbol is called a “variable resistor”, which decreases the current flowing through a circuit—much like a regular resistor—but by a variable amount. Like how our yellow box decreases one letter signal by another, instead of just 1. So again, maybe this was kinda helpful for you, but also no biggie if it wasn’t.

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Once you work out what all the boxes do, it’s just a matter of rolling up your sleeves to follow things through to the question marks. Do that, and you’ll see the screens in our encampment spell, RESISTANCE—both our rebellious message to The Power and a nod to this city’s electrical roots.

When a bunch of engineers make nerdy references during a call to action against a crazy techno-dystopian leader, you know we’re not messing around. And with a little luck, this tech-fueled city will soon be back in the hands of my very capable buddies.

We’re not sticking around though. Nah, we’re ready for our next adventure. I double-assured Zip it’ll just be a casual vacation this time. No getting involved. Promise.

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