This year's Puzzlehunt was Tron-themed. Liboncatipu, my team, got together the friday evening before to watch Tron at jeffford
's and jonobie
's house. The thing that struck me most about Tron was how Star Wars-y it was, with, for example, deathstar-canyon like sequences and the poor man's Harrison Ford, Jeff Bridges, as the hero.
We came Saturday hoping that, despite the loss of dr4b
, that we could most importantly (a) finish the hunt again, and (b) somehow crack the top five.
The hunt kicked off with us being in "Laser Bay 2" to witness the laser-zapped digitization of a rubber duckie. (and there was much missing of dr4b
.) Unfortunately, the evil Outermage got hold of the laser and digitized us all!
As "programs," Outermage forced us to do puzzles to feed into his nefarious computations, but meanwhile rebel "users" were giving us game-like puzzles to do so that we could escape. There was a balancing act- too many Outermage puzzles, and he got too powerful to defeat. Too many rebel puzzles, and he would deny us access to the relevant systems.
The hunt was incredibly well-themed, led by the beautiful Silverlight application that made up the web site's puzzle distribution and answer submission user interface layer. I thought it was a great showcase of the technology. My favorite puzzles were actually done in Silverlight - they were "metapuzzles," or puzzles that can be solved only when having first solved other regular puzzles.
There were 4 metas. They were each a rotating icosahedron with various words written on their edges or at their vertices, and each puzzle involved figuring out the relationships between those words. Each vertex corresponded to a puzzle, so the more puzzles you solved, the more vertices you get info for. For example, one puzzle had a 5-letter word at each vertex. You had to figure out that each word was taking a letter from each of the five faces touching it. Once you "painted" the faces with letters, you could discover the mystery word at the top.
Other than the website, there weren't really any showstoppers this year, but everybody agreed that the puzzles were consitently excellent and virtually bugless. One notable departure from past years was that there were about twice as many puzzles as usual, but they were shorter in general. I liked that. I also liked that there were 3 cryptics.
We came in 7th (of 70), one lower than last year, but we beat Cracking Good Toast, a sure sign that even the perennial contenders are mortal. I also think we worked together and organized ourselves much better than in past years. We also have the beginnings of special super-secret proprietary puzzle-solving software now. :-)
As usual, it was good to see garzahd
again. Hunts are now bi-annual, but I think he's actually going to continue to make them all, for which I have a great deal of respect. Now, if we can only get D back to the states...