If you’re coming at this for the very first time you might not even realize this is even there at first, but one of the things that I think makes this game really special is the series of ciphered messages (“Standard Galactic Alphabet”, as the game calls it) that continues throughout Vorticons and Goodbye Galaxy. Since this game, I’ve always been fascinated with cipher languages hidden in other things – and have been sad enough to include SGA myself at least incidentally in most games that I’ve written! http://www.crystaltowers2.com/img/xlprogress/xltitle.png
I particularly like the way that it’s never explicitly mentioned in the game – there’s no stated challenge to collecting the letters, and you don’t necessarily realize you need to decode anything until you’re given a very obvious ciphered message right at the end of episode 5. So finding the translations in the schoolhouses in episode 3 makes you realize that the cryptic signs you’ve been seeing throughout the game have been readable, making you go back and look at them, work out more of the cipher from those and so on…
Finding the mega-blackboard in one of the secret areas was an incredible moment… but I almost think it might have been better without it – replacing it with a smaller clue instead, with the player instead having to work towards decoding the language themselves. Nevertheless, I loved this as a way to add intrigue to the game, rewarding those who played it repeatedly.
I never got very far in Fez, but on a quick Google, it looks like it does 🙂 And from what I saw, Fez’s “fox room” – the giveaway room that tells you the whole alphabet – is more creative, just hinting that you have what’s needed to work it out instead of telling you outright.