After playing some more the Binding of Isaac I've come across strange messages that are triggered by certain events.

For instance, when I defeated one of the bosses, I suddenly got a pop-up message that read something along the lines of: "A radioactive spider has appeared in the dungeon" (there was also a drawing of a spider on that message).

Another time, after taking a yellow pill, I got a rather enigmatic hint that said "bombs are keys". I then proceeded to blow up a strange looking rock, only to be greeted with another pop-up saying: "A small rock has appeared in the basement" (this time with a picture of a block. I don't know if taking the pill was actually a prerequisite to get this message).

What do these messages mean, exactly? What am I supposed to do once they appear?

  • I'm 90% sure these refer to content being unlocked. But as I don't actually own the game... >.> – Raven Dreamer Sep 30 '11 at 21:18
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    @Aubergine After taking a pill and seeing the "bombs are keys" message, all of the bombs in my inventory had been converted into keys. I think the messages are intentionally obscure, as I've taken a number of other pills and the effects are not always obvious. – bcpettifer Oct 1 '11 at 8:45

I own the game (on Steam, not even sure if a retail version exists..). The popup messages like "small rock has appeared!" notify you that you've unlocked an acheivement, that's all. Some acheivements have rewards, though.

I'm equally confused about the bomb message, though.

  • Great, thanks. For some reason I didn't get the associated steam achievements, so I had no idea those messages were related to them. – Aubergine Oct 1 '11 at 5:38

What Snailer said is partially true. Some of the popups are tied to achievement. However, all the popups that say "... has appeared in the basement" is new content being unlocked. Mostly these are new items, and mini-bosses that you can find in the latter play throughs. Like the message you got, would mean that the item "Small rock" has been unlocked, and can be found further down in the dungeon, or in later play throughs.

  • Thanks for the corrections, I didn't know that! – Snailer Oct 1 '11 at 20:18

Regarding the "Bombs are key" - that's actually the effect of the pill you took. Each color of pill has a random effect in each game (like potions in most roguelikes). Most of the messages are much more self explanatory - "Range down", "Damage up", "Full health", but there are a few weird ones. "Bombs are key" in particular is odd - it swaps your current count of bombs and keys.

mordi2k's answer is right about the other stuff.


That means that you have unlocked the item X and that you have a chance of looting it in further playthroughs.


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