How linear is Anchorhead? (100% SPOILERS !)

I am moderately ashamed to say that I have only made any meaningful progress in Anchorhead using a walkthrough. I love how huge the game is, and if you think it should be smaller or more simple then you are wrong, but when I played it I lacked the patience to figure anything out on my own.

I definitely cheated myself out of a lot of fun, since a walkthrough connects all the dots and solves all the mysteries (all the critical-path mysteries anyway), and I’ve probably also stuck myself with a skewed idea of the gameplay. I know that you have to hit certain sequential plot points to make time pass and move on to the next day, but my personal experience of Anchorhead is of everything happening in a very specific order, and I’m not sure whether the story would make sense otherwise.

Is anyone familiar enough with Anchorhead to remark on this? Are there any sections that can be tackled early, or late? I do remember there are some things you can miss on the first or second day and make the game unwinnable. I can’t remember what they are.

But that’s not what I’m asking about. I’m asking about linearity.

My recollection is that the opening is quite narrow, that a fixed set of objectives need to be completed in each day in order to advance time, and that there are lots of sequences that are pretty linear; but that within each day there’s a fair bit of freedom about what order you accomplish things in. But it’s been a while.

As I recall, there is more than one way to open the puzzle box, although to my mind one is much more satisfying than the other. And it might be possible to win the game without stealing Michael’s card, but you’d miss out on a lot.

Apart from that, I recall the game being fairly linear, but only in the sense of “Section A - Section B - Section C”. Within each section there are goals to be achieved, but since your freedom to move about is often unimpeded and exploration is a key theme, it always feels as though you can solve these goals in any other, in more than one way. This is mostly illusory, but it’s a damn great illusion.

I didn’t steal the card- but it’s ok as you find his wallet lying in the woods a bit later.

Ahhhhhhh. I had no idea. Do you get the same amount of points by getting the card this way? In other words, are you rewarded by stealing it in the first place or are you rewarded by NOT having stolen it?

I think it’s the same number of points, though I might be wrong. I can’t remember if I got 100% in the end (as it was an interesting conclusion to the story that I was after).

So if you feel bad about stealing your husband’s wallet while he’s otherwise occupied, the game allows you another opportunity to get the library card, not breaking mimesis and allowing you to keep in character. Yet another good design choice from Mr. Gentry.

Yeah it’s ace, and the effect of finding your husband’s wallet abandoned in the woods is suitably unsettling.

Yeah, very clever! Thanks for the info.