Saturday, there was a lot of puzzlehuntish activity on the peninsula. I wasn't playing in it. Well, not much. I knew that a bunch of folks were gathering for that PerplexCity hunt--people would run around San Francisco solving clues; others would solve clues on the internet. I didn't especially want to play--the thing revolves around trading cards. I try to avoid activities that involve trading cards. I try to eschew some geeky activities, just so I can remind myself that there are some depths I have not sunk to. Sure, I wander around with a headlamp and a clipboard, but I can still sneer at the trading-card fanatics and curl my lip at the gawddammed furries.
Still, when my breakfast feed-reading on Saturday morning uncovered one of the PerplexCity puzzles, I figured I should try to contact some of the people playing in the game. I'd read about some of the big communities that had cropped up around the trading card game. Maybe I could find contact information for one of them, point them at this puzzle. Or just give them the answer. Solving the puzzle took less than a minute.
"Find a radio. Tune it to the Fahrenheit equivalent of 36.28 Celsius. If the station you're listening to owned a cat, what would be the cat's name?"
Celsius to fahrenheit conversion, Google does that. Look up a radio call sign, Google does that. Oh, it's that "Alice" station. Name of Alice's cat, I knew that, Google confirms it. Boom, boom, boom. Finding contact information for one of the game's players was not so easy. The next item to read in my morning feeds was actually a post from someone announcing that they would attend the San Francisco PerplexCity hunt. I tried posting a comment to the blog item--that would probably send the author an email. But would they check their email? They were traveling to this hunt. So I tried following links, trying to find some place where I could leave a more immediate communication. There was a wiki--which only allowed members to post. And to become a member, you had to contact an administrator. The administrators didn't have obvious contact information. But they encouraged everyone to contact them on IRC. I was on the verge of downloading an IRC client program when I realized I was running late for, you know, the things I actually meant to do on Saturday.
On my way out the door, I was kind of glad I didn't get sucked in. I'd "solved" that "puzzle," but really I'd just followed directions. Were all of the "puzzles" like that?
That evening was BANG 16. I didn't go. Continental Breakfast did. coed astronomy did. Someone from SPIES did. This sounds like more fun than PerplexCity. I read about that in the days afterwards.
Jessica Lambert writes about game paranoia, thinking I have GOT to stop reading Game-related stuff into everything he does. But I swear, Sunday I saw the Game in everything I read. Well, two things. I tend to read a lot about Game things, but I tend to read a lot about other things, too. In theory. In theory it's not all about the Game. And yet. And yet. Laura Lemay forwarded a story about phrase Here be Dragons. That phrase specifically, not hic sunt dracones. And the referenced article is talking about maps, but of course I was thinking about the gaming team. And there's an upcoming Game which says that players should bring, of all things, empty egg cartons. And since then, I've been obsessing: what could a Game possibly ask us to do with something as non-standard, non-uniform as an egg carton? And Andi Watson posts a photo of an egg carton dragon and I'm sitting there muttering "of course, of course we're going to make egg carton dragons!" And a few seconds later I'm shaking my head because, on reflection, this makes no sense at all.
Maybe any hobbyist would have this problem. Heck, both of those articles were about dragons. I'd probably get excited by those articles even if I was a gawdammed furry.
Labels: puzzle scene, puzzlehunts