New: Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, and entangled with life

Yesterday afternoon, I was loitering in a Berkeley coffee shop with friends, and the conversation was pretty interesting: they had just got married. A few weeks back, they're talking about maybe getting engaged and now, boom, married. It's a thrilling tale of parents loosening up, granting blessings, an intricate ceremony, a number of relatives. And I'm trying to pay attention, I am paying attention, but outside the window--isn't that Game player Ian Tullis entering the train station? I shake my head, I concentrate on the matter at hand. The Game can wait.

* ~ * ~ *

Thus, it is not until today that I got around to getting a couple of screen captures from the movie Midnight Madness. It's not a very good movie. But it is of interest in the context of gaming. In the movie, teams are identified by color--and Game Control assigns the colors. So the Meat Machine thinks of themselves as the Meat Machine. But Game Control gives them all green sweaters and calls them Green Team.

I knew that early teams were identified by color. But I always assumed that they picked their own color. Maybe those colors were assigned by Game Control. I think about the team which Thomas Reardon played on. This guy worked at Openwave before I did. When I started there, I was sitting in a cubicle which had been his dedicated visistor cubicle, his home-away-from-home when he visited company HQ from his home in Seattle. I never met Thomas Reardon, but I looked at his name each day on a sticker on my monitor. Later on, I found out he played on multiple-time champion Team Pink. Who chose their color? "Why do we have to be Team Pink?" If all the teams picked their own color, would they all by Team Black?

* ~ * ~ *

Like I was saying, I learned a few things from the movie Midnight Madness. One scene has a bit of exposition which sums up The Game quite neatly--with a diagram, even.

LEON: At the onset, each team will be given a complicated clue, which when solved, will lead them to a location somewhere in the city. Once there, the team must use its team its skill and wit to obtain the next clue. that clue will lead them to the next location and so forth. The game will begin Friday at sunset and continue on through the night until one team is the first to arrive at the final location the finish line. There, the winning team will receive a trophy. And more importantly prove to the other team that theirs is the best group of all. Well, I'll see you all Friday. Are there any questions?

* ~ * ~ *

And I found out that Team Sharkbait's name is quite appropriate.

* ~ * ~ *

There were parts that rang true. In the movie, one puzzle solves to "SEE THE STARS" along with some numbers. One team goes to Griffith Observatory. (This game happens in Los Angeles.) One team goes to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One team picks up a Map of Stars' Homes. Ah, Game Control should have playtested that clue.


Posted 2006-06-25