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Coinheist 2013: Mystery Hunt Writeup - The Revolution of the Moon
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Fri, Jan. 25th, 2013 10:38 pm
Coinheist 2013: Mystery Hunt Writeup

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Derek Kisman
Derek Kisman
Derek Kisman
Thu, Feb. 7th, 2013 09:19 pm (UTC)

I agree. There seem to be two types of comments across the web: "I liked this puzzle" (opinion), and "this puzzle is broken" (fact). It's rare to see comments like "this is a fine puzzle but not for me", or "this is a fine puzzle but it stumped us". It especially stands out when somebody's swearing up and down that a puzzle is completely broken/unsolvable/terrible, while somewhere else another person comments about how much fun they had with exactly the same puzzle. ;) Jigsaw is probably the most common love-it-or-hate-it example.

Of course, there's also a lot of legitimate criticism; our Hunt failed in many ways, and several of the puzzles had serious issues (or shouldn't have been included at all). There are lessons other running teams need to learn from us. But the "whinging" really obscures them.

I've been wondering whether this is just a symptom of the puzzle hunt community "growing up". Hunts aren't nearly as rare as they were a decade ago (there are quite a few online every year). Encodings and flavortext and clues and "aha"s and red herrings are becoming standardized; the lustre and thrill of the unknown may have worn off. People who used to have the patience to try anything and everything to solve an inscrutable puzzle - expecting failure but savoring victory - are now veterans who feel there's something wrong when they can't solve a given puzzle. I'm guilty of this, too.

Videogames evolved from being brutally hard (often truly unfair) challenges where failure was common to today's AAA games where the focus is more on the "experience" than the challenge, and everyone is pretty much guaranteed to see the whole plot and the ending if they keep playing. I wonder if that's where puzzle hunts are heading...


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