The Reasoning Behind the Monolith Puzzle Solution
written by Maginomicon
Table of Contents
Alphabet, Numbers, and Commands
First we must understand the most basic codes in the game.
You learn the alphabet at same location as the “Writing” Artifact. If you don’t have the writing artifact yet, stop reading and play through the game to the point where you find that artifact.
There’s a writing pillar there, and a fox jumping over a dog. This should remind of you of the pangram “THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG”. On the writing pillar, it likewise says:
Knowing about that pangram allows you to use logical reasoning to deduce the letters, particularly that some of the symbols double-up on letters.
The numbers are deduced from the “Counting” Artifact. If you don’t have the counting artifact yet, stop reading and play through the game to the point where you find that artifact.
The sides of the artifact are stamps that allow someone to quickly stamp out any number from 0 to 10 in Fez language by simply rotating the stamp either around a side or to a different side.
The tetromino commands themselves are found in a special room with a pillar that lights up a panel with the input symbol when you press each input.
After finding the commands, you have to know how to use them.
The chalkboard in the classroom reveals how to interpret a tetromino pillar. It also gives the numbers 1, 2, and 3 on the board (giving a clue for how to translate numbers), and shows a picture of the tetromino input pillar so that you can logically link them together.
Essentially, you tilt your head to the right and then read left-to-right.
If you don’t have the tome artifact yet, stop reading and play through the game to the point where you find that artifact.
We already know that Fez words are meant to start at the upper right corner, be read from top-to-bottom, and then once a column is done you move from right-to-left. When you first attempt to translate the tome from front to back or back to front, you quickly discover that it appears to be complete gibberish. However, this is the first time we’ve read the Fez alphabet on a page of a book, and pages are stacked on top of one-another. Because the Z-dimension is involved when reading pages, we can glean that perhaps the order in which the pages are read plays into the meaning of the tome.
To determine the page order, we have to find an example word that very likely exists in the tome. Since this is an “artifact”, it would make sense to pick a word that is is used prevalently in the ancient Fez lore. The word would also have to be at least as many letters long as there are pages in the tome because we’d have to get the full page order from that word. Finally, it should contain a rare letter so that we’re unlikely to find an incorrect order. The perfect word for the job is “HEXAHEDRON” (Dot told you that word, it has at least 8 letters, and it has the rare letter “X”).
If we layout the pages like so...
...we note that whereas we laid out the pages first from left-to-right and then top-to-bottom, the word “HEXAHEDRON” appears when we read from top-to-bottom and then left-to-right.
From this we get the page sequence “15263748”.
The Monolith Ritual Room
Here’s where it starts to get really screwy.
When you enter the code indicated in 1st-person mode while standing on the “0” spot on the ritual glyph (both in the X-dimension and Z-dimension), a monolith rises out of the ground (a reference to “2001: A Space Odyssey”). Since this is a reference to something in the real world, we must wonder if the code you enter while standing on the “1” spot also has to do to with a reference from the real world. Now, what real-world information might be relevant to the game? How about its release date?
Fez was first released on the Xbox Live Arcade on 4/13/2012. That date can also be written as “4132012”. We have a sequence of numbers from the tome (“15263748”) for the “correct” order in which to read something. When the date is read in that sequence, we get “4011322”.
Fez words are read from top to bottom, so we arrange those numbers in a stack. Then since we’re trying to read an input command for the ritual, we tilt our heads to the right and read from left-to-right. However, this isn’t enough to get us a sequence of commands. For that, we have to mirror what we see (as if the stack casts a shadow stretching forward into the Z-dimension, much like the monolith casts a shadow into our perspective), and then convert what we see into commands.
Once you’re standing on the “1” spot on the ritual glyph (both in the X-dimension and Z-dimension), you can’t change your horizontal position on-screen as a result of entering the code or you won’t be standing on the “1” spot once you finish entering the code. That means that the instances of “left” and “right” in this code must be referring to “spin left” and “spin right”. Naturally, the “blank square” is like the square we see in normal tetromino commands and means “jump”.
From this we get DOWN DOWN SPIN-LEFT SPIN-RIGHT SPIN-RIGHT JUMP UP.