What happens when an AI’s only purpose is to be your friend? How does it feel when you turn off the game? There’s plenty of history hidden in the files of Buddy Simulator 1984, but the path to find them can be easily missed. So here’s a relatively spoiler-free guide to starting down this secret path, and unlocking the achievement titled “=(lLpBlbCmG@bX.” For ease of reference, from now on I’ll just call it the “File Achievement.”
To start, you seem to be able to get the achievement itself only during version 1 of the ‘Adventure Of Playername,’ before your Buddy gives it a graphical overhaul. While it’s not vital which path you take on the initial text path, things become important once you reach the clearing with your HOUSE. By looking around, you should be given the option to go to the SHED, the PLAYGROUND, the POND, or the HOUSE. As it’s still a text adventure at this point, you will have to type ‘go ___’ to go to any of these locations rather than simply walking there as we might later on.
Step 1: Go to the SHED
You need to go to the SHED before you turn the lights on, as your options in there are different. As you can’t turn off the light once it’s been switched on, it’s best to head here first before you mess with the other areas. Going inside, you’ll be told that there is a THING and a SURPRISE. While you’ll need the THING later (it’s a fishing rod), remember to take the SURPRISE. Doing so will cause a 3-digit code to be written on your avatar’s arm, which we’ll need later. If you forget the number, you can view it later by using the command ‘look arm.’ That’s all we need from the SHED, so we can now leave and head to the next point.
Step 2: Go to the POND
Now that we have the code, we’re free to work on the remaining puzzles in the area without worrying about softlocking our progress. At the POND, you can either use the fishing rod or the shovel to fish the key out of the water, but afterwards, you’ll need to fish in the pond again, this time fishing out a HAND. This item is actually a big key for finding the documents later, and can be taken out of the POND with either tool. While at first it will be extremely agitated, you’ll need to USE the HAND to get the next piece of the puzzle, where it will leap from your inventory and leave for a little while. Don’t worry: it will return soon.
Step 3: GO to HIDDEN PLACE
After a little while, the HAND will return to your inventory, holding a MAP. Using the map reveals an additional location to travel to in the gameworld. To get there, you simply have to type ‘go to hidden place,’ and your avatar will sink through the floor into an abyss with a small BOX with a KEYPAD within reach. USE the KEYPAD to enter its interface, where you are prompted to put a three-digit code. Type in the code we got in the SHED earlier (remember, you can LOOK at your ARM to read the code again, but you’ll need to leave the keypad interface to do so). Then, with a beep and a click, the box will unlock, and you can finally USE the box.
Much like when your Buddy changes your text color, the screen will momentarily glitch, and you’ll receive a notification that new files are available in your computer’s documents folder. This also gives you the File Achievement and opens up the larger hunt through the game for all the missing files, as each file will need to be decoded in order to be read. And yes, I mean your actual computer’s Documents folder, not the one in the game. There should be a new folder simply titled ‘Buddy Simulator 1984’, holding 21 folders labeled A-U with INVALID DATA. Once you find each file in the gameworld, their title will change to DATA FOUND and allow a command text prompt to run on your screen. While this is kinda spooky (really spooky if you’re in IT security,) the command prompts all appear to be text and not malicious programs, like a secret journal of the developer. Below, you can see what it looks like on my computer.
The files in the game are scattered throughout the overworld and appear to be accessible as early as the v2 of The Adventure of Playername ROM, when you can run your little ghost sprite around freely. If you don’t have the shovel, you can go back to the RIGHT path in the forest and pick it up, as well as the LANTERN. You’ll need the lantern to progress the main story, but the shovel and the HAND are our tools for the secret files. There are two ways to find the hidden files in the game world. Visually, each spot will be slightly translucent and glitching, looking off from the rest of the terrain. While the game will say that when digging there you find ‘nothing,’ you’ll see that recognizable screen flicker and a notification that a file has been decoded. The other tell of the hidden files is that a text box will appear stating that the HAND holds you tightly from your inventory. This means you are standing on (or were just standing on) another file spot, and digging should reveal a missing file.
It can be difficult to spot the ‘wrong’ areas of the map, so keeping an eye out for the text blurb from the HAND is a good way of making sure. However, the blurb only happens the first time you walk over the space, so be aware. Keep an eye out as you play, and keep your buddies close as you explore the mysteries of Buddy Simulator 1984.