Cubist logic problems
I’ve started messing with Perplex City. It’s an ARG, or ‘alternate reality game’, that has one fairly major hook: there’s a chance of winning 10 grand if you find a missing McGuffin (in this case, the ‘Receda Cube’).
It works on four levels. Firstly, there’s the grand mystery of the cube – whodunnit, whytheydunnit, and wheretheyleftit. Then, there’s the on-going storyline and live events. Every six months or so, the Perplex City team will arrange for their players to take part in live events – be they reconnecting the alternate world of PC with this world, or meeting agents of the game to retrieve clues and story information. The San Francisco connection, an event that took place a few weeks ago, ended with the designers calling up all the attendees and telling them to head outside. At once. As they left the building two black helicopters buzzed the crowd. That’s pretty cool.
But it’s the third level that really interests me – the puzzle cards. In a not-entirely-well-explained plot oddity, 256 puzzle cards have been dropped to earth, which, when solved, could help you locate the missing cube. You can buy them online for three quid for six, which seems a fair whack.
Until you realise they’re superb.
This bank holiday Anna and I have:
- decimated logical fallacies
- solved an ancient pirate riddle
- made florentines
- identified biscuits
- scheduled simian parking rights
- coloured in maps
- identified tall buildings
- coded a simple BASIC program
- called an imaginary lady
- decrypted Google Maps
- and been constantly foiled by buzzwords
Really – all that jazz about the cube, and the storyline, hasn’t mattered to us. We’re just having a whale of a time scratching off numbers, playing with Google, and chasing solutions. If you’re after little, cheap, lateral thinking fun, try one of the puzzle packs.
The fourth level? I really like the pun on perplexity.
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