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Headscratchers / Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

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  • In the Lost Dialogue, Hermocrates says that Critias mistranslated Egyptian into Greek and gave a tenfold error when citing the distance of Atlantis from Greece and the era in which it existed. Socrates then comments that the actual numbers must be a tenfold fewer, since a tenfold greater is ridiculously over the top. So why do Indy and all the other characters refer to it as "Plato's tenfold numbering error"? The error is Critias's. Plato simply wrote about it in his dialogues. For that matter, how silly is it that Hermocrates knows Egyptian numbering well enough to realize that Critias was wrong by a factor of ten, but not know whether it's a multiplication of ten or a division of ten? He basically says, "I know you're wrong Critias, but I don't know HOW you're wrong."
    • It could either be because it is Plato's book, or because Plato does not bother to correct Critias, so Plato is also wrong.
    • I think the nature of written ancient Greek philosophical dialogues should be noted here. They were not transcripts of conversations that actually happened, but a literary device for the writer to explore philosophical issues and promote their views. Ultimately what is said in the dialogue should be attributed to Plato, regardless of who is credited as saying it within the dialogue.
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    • The portrayal of Atlantis in this game is inspired by the "Minoan Hypothesis," which is where the idea that Atlantis was actually in the Mediterranean Sea comes from. One way to explain this is the tenfold error, which is a real theory that some Atlantis scholars started to endorse in the 1960s. Since the context of the game makes Plato's dialogues completely factual, in order for Indy to find Atlantis in the Mediterranean between Thera and Crete the tenfold error in Critias had to be corrected as part of Hermocrates. It doesn't really make sense whether you interpret the dialogues as a literary device (why would Plato write one dialogue with errors only to be corrected in another one?) or as an actual transcript (why does Hermocrates know Critias is wrong by a factor of ten, but not by a greater factor or a lesser factor?), but the game designers needed a way to introduce the actual tenfold error theory, especially since the game takes place 20-30 years before the theory was first published.
  • What is Plato's lost dialogue doing laying around a college somewhere, much less an American college?
    • It was in a collection of historical documents that were left to the college, probably in somebody's will. Nobody had gone through it and catalogued them all yet. That's not at all uncommon. It's slow work that can only be done by an expert. Do a Google search for "lost manuscript found" - things are turning up all the time as universities and libraries slowly work through their stuff.
  • So if the numbers should all be a tenfold fewer, why on earth do they multiply the number of orichalcum beads by ten in the last scene? Once they've established that the tenfold-fewer value doesn't work, wouldn't trying the actual value listed in the dialogue be next?
    • Thing is, the one bead is the correct number, Plato's tenfold error is correct. The machine is only good for producing mutants, the energy beings are clearly an overload effect, with all the nasty consequences. It doesn't matter if it is 10, 20 or 100 beads. Übermann expecting that it has to be a higher number is simply his arrogance speaking, unwilling to accept that the machine doesn't work as imagined.
  • How was the octopus in the canal (supposedly placed there as a guardian) still alive after all those years?
    • The canal probably has some connection to the outside that allows fish and other creatures through for the octopus to feed on. It could be a family line of octopuses living in the canal keeping a guardian all the time. Or it's just another Atlantean monstrosity.
  • Why was a valuable statue being kept in a locker in the furnace room?
    • According to Indy, the building is called Caswell Hall, and it's where the college stores its junk. And by "junk," it's implied that he means "fakes." No one at Barnett College actually thought the statue was valuable, so it could be in the locker for any number of reasons. A custodian might have found it and wanted to keep it. It could have been misplaced, and whoever retrieved it put it in the locker temporarily until they figured out where it was meant to be kept.
      • It being stored away as a fake leads to some Fridge Brilliance: If it came to the college's possession with the claim attached it was from Atlantis, of course it would be dismissed as a hoax.
  • How did the Nazis lock Sophia up in that dungeon if it was on the other side of the blocked door with the water?
  • How come everyone seems to know all about Plato's lost Dialogue? Obviously one person gives an explanation (he translated it), but how come Trottier seems to know all about it? Was he in contact with some people searching for Atlantean artifacts?

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