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Greg Solves Things

An eye on the Seattle puzzlehunt scene


MSIG 2013: Seattle Experimental Telemetry Initiative
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Another year, another Intern Game. This year followed the Seattle Experimental Telemetry Initiative- on the pre-game website, the interns helped decrypt signals of mysterious origin, only to find out that they were (unsurprisingly) from aliens.

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WarTron
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I have gotten kind of lax about writeups, haven't I? I could do a very quick rundown of past events, and post that WHO writeup I've got lying around somewhere, but Wartron was a couple weeks ago down in Portland, so I'll talk about that instead. There are other clue-by-clue breakdowns elsewhere online, (and I might have been using one of them to jog my memory as I wrote this) so I won't go clue-by-clue, just say a few things about the Boxfort experience. There are, of course, still SPOILERS. (The Game might be re-run in Boston, so if you're up for that don't click.)

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Microsoft Puzzlehunt 14
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Trying to get through my backlog of events to write up- I'm tackling the Puzzlehunt now, since all the puzzles are available online to refresh my memory.

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Anyway, we had a good time and would love to see Puzzlehunts happen more than once every two and a half years.

Puzzle Safari 2011
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The Seattle puzzle season is in full force, with Safari last weekend, Non-Intern Puzzleday in two weeks, and Puzzlehunt 14 and the newly announced SNAP 8 in September. (And I've got Dragonflight, PAX, and a family wedding thrown in there too.) But for now, I'm here to talk about Safari.

This was a rock music-themed event. However, I don't have a lot to say about the puzzles this time around, because I didn't see that many puzzles. The Boxfort Brigands decided to play to optimize fun rather than points this year. Since I was the only person on the team interested in the running around and stamp hunting portion of the event, I was the only person who ever did it. So I crossed campus a few times, and was very sore afterwards. But the stamp search is fun, and one of the things that makes puzzle Safari unique.

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Despite some difficulties with the metas, we wound up 23rd out of the 75 or so teams, which is pretty decent. Our goal to have fun was definitely satisfied, though.

MS Intern Game 2011
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The traditional "what I did this weekend" post, a bit delayed because LJ has been having technical issues:

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On Twitter, #msig2011 and @msinterngame are the things to check out to see the public Tweetstream from the event. We did the documentary contest again this year, and had a team with the interns from the My Intern Life video series to get footage for an upcoming episode. As always, I'll keep an eye out and link what I can find.

MS Intern Game 2010 writeup
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Yes, it's almost time for the 2011 Microsoft Intern Game. Nonetheless, somebody had time to get last year's writeup completed and online.

When I was going over my puzzles, I didn't talk about my puzzle for the Game proper, Fortune Cookies, because I figured I could just link to the wrapup site. And I'm doing so, just a lot later than I was expecting. The one thing I'll add is that I can't take credit for baking the homemade cookies. I'd found a custom fortune cookie website that would get them for a reasonable price, but one of the first round of testers offered to figure out how to make them himself. That was much appreciated, and I think they came out pretty well.

World Henchmen Organization
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Obviously, I can't say anything spoilery about the WHO Game this weekend, since it'll be rerun in the Bay Area in the fall, so I'll just say they have a lot to look forward to. It was a ton of fun, and Silly Hat Brigade and Los Jefes are awesome for putting together the first game in Seattle since 2005 and in here or the Bay Area since 2008.

Some nonspoilery Tweets showed up with the hash tag #whogame (I'm @gfilpus there). The one other thing I'd say that I didn't put there was a remark from our puzzle event newbie that you really have to be crazy to run these things. I couldn't really dispute that because it's kind of true.
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DASH 3
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The weather in Seattle has been really weird the last few weeks- the weekdays would be dreary and rainy, but the weekends would be sunny and overall awesome. While things were threatening to break that trend at the beginning of the event, it turned out to be a great day for a walking hunt in Fremont, the wacky hippy suburb of Seattle.

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Thanks to a long lunch break, we were close enough to the end time that we went over to the wrapup location to hang out. Some random Costco food, many conversations, and a round of Seven Wonders later, they announced partial results- we weren't in the top 3. I expect we won't be too far behind that, despite our blunders at the end, but I'm not too concerned about it. 2011 puzzling is off to a good start, and I'm looking forward to WHO, Safari, staffing Intern Game, Puzzlehunt, and any surprises that may come.
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(no subject)
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DASH was great fun, and I'll have more to say on it later. For now, I'll just mention that there were suspicious flyers at the Seattle wrap-up, suggesting that Microsoft Puzzlehunt 14 will be run by Liboncatipu the weekend of 9/10-11.

(no subject)
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While we're all waiting for the World Henchmen application results to come back (at least, those of us who applied to the Seattle edition), I thought I'd take a moment to do another video game review. This time, it'll be about the physics puzzler we've all been looking forward to, but I've been especially excited about after seeing it on the PAX show floor last year. I'm referring, of course, to Curve Studio's Fluidity, which is available as a digital download via WiiWare.

It's a small-studio physics platformer, which means platforming with one interesting twist and levels that explore the many facets of the twist. This time around, the twist is that you control a quantity of water, which behaves as you would expect water to. You move by tilting the WiiMote to tilt the world left and right, you jump by "tossing" the WiiMote upwards- the concept is well-explored, and puts interesting twists on the usual platforming concepts of switches, doors, one-way passages (literally valves), inventory, hazards, etc. As the game goes on, you unlock special abilities and the other two states of matter, and encounter puzzles that test all of those abilities in interesting combinations.

The other thing that appealed to me personally was the Super Mario 64-esque structure of the game. You have a wide-open area to explore, and you find areas with sets of puzzles that lead you a star. (They call them rainbow drops, but they're stars) With enough stars, you unlock new areas, which give you abilities you need to get to more areas, and things branch out until you get enough stars to reach the level boss. And, of course, once you've found the stars you can still return to the areas and search their nooks and crannies for hidden flowers (which grants another star if you find them all) and puzzle pieces (which unlock a few minigames). There's a lot of meat on the game's bones if you're a completionist, but it's still fun if you want to get to the final boss or just play around.

It's fun, pretty, and pushed a lot of my buttons. If you have similar buttons to that, or just like fun, it's worth checking out for $12.

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