As game day approached, Game Control delivered a couple of pre-game puzzles.
Our team logo for this game
On the afternoon of Friday, July 16, I was at work, dully watching a long compile. I pointed my web browser at the JUG web site, and saw that the audio stream had been updated. I mailed the team mailing list and, whining about my lack of headphones and speakers, delegated the task of solving this pre-clue to them.
The audio stream consisted of songs labelled by roman numbers. A couple of Mystic Fish folks identified the song names and used the numbers as indexes to the names. Thanks to them, we knew where the game would start: San Francisco's Municipal Pier. This was in Aquatic Park, close to Alexandra's apartment.
Alexandra sent mail to the team mailing list: she had received a CD from Justice Unlimited in the mail. It was full of MP3 files; she sent us its playlist. The team sprang into action, looking for patterns in titles, artists--we found nothing. Days passed with no progress. Folks asked Alexandra to upload the files, but she was not responding, busy with other concerns.
Thus I had a quality which allowed me to contribute to the team effort: I lived close to Alexandra. I was able to go by her apartment to pick up the CD, and I uploaded the MP3s to my web site.
Actually, I didn't upload all of the MP3s. My web service provider didn't give me that much disk space. I just uploaded the first ten files, and asked them to do their best to spot patterns; I would test their theories later. Then I went to bed.
At work the next morning, I started up a long compile and looked over the mail from the team. MP3 files have a space for user comments and Joe (a smart fellow on the East coast and the Mystic Fish mailing list) had spotted a message in those comments. It pointed us at the covers--each MP3 had cover art, and it had been altered. Eric figured out that each cover had been altered by some number of dots, and that if we took the number as an index into the album title, we would get a message.
So I spent my lunchtime looking at altered album cover art and jotting down the whole message: PLEASE BRING HAMMER FIRE CASH COINS. Now we knew about extra equipment to bring. And I had learned a valuable solving technique: hand over the data and go to bed.
(Lesson Learned: Two heads are better than one, especially if that means you can catch some shut-eye.)
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