One of the Most Important Crosswords in New York Times History - the story behind a very special puzzle
For years, passengers on Washington State ferries have spent their trip working on communal jigsaw puzzles. It is a delightful, adorable thing. Here are some pictures. Here are a few more. The New York Times is on it.
“I still think you could do something that no one has ever done before.” - the story of Kit Williams and Masquerade, a children's book of illustrations that also served as clue to the location of a golden hare, and, despite an ignoble end to the competition, kicked off a crazy off treasure hunting books and videogames in 1980s Britain.
La choutte d'or, the golden owl, is the prize in a scavenger hunted created by Max Valentin in 1993. It's still hidden, 23 years later, and here is a reddit thread devoted to it.
The structure of a crossword puzzle can be broken down into several characteristic elements, the most distinctive of which are its theme and its grid. With numerous independent puzzles published daily in various periodicals and in syndication one might expect these elements to be repeated occasionally through circumstance, but a recent analysis of tens of thousands of individual puzzles found far more replication than chance would explain in the puzzles produced by Timothy Parker for USA Today and Universal Uclick.
Matchstick Puzzles - I've always been intrigued by these little sticks with their rounded heads. There are just so many fun things you can do with them... I started collecting matchstick puzzles a long time ago and have decided to display them all on this blog.
Right Click to Hack, a game created by Mechabit for the Nordeus Hackathon 15, is an adorable first person puzzle adventure in which you control an entire team of robots by (as the title suggests) right clicking to hack your way to victory. Free to download on Alpha Beta Gamer, but (tragically, for this Mac user) only for Windows. Video review here.
Kaizo Trap is an animated story about love, determination, and overcoming nearly impossible obstacles. Mostly that last thing. It pays tribute to ultra-difficult platformers like Kaizo Mario World and the speedrunners they inspire to achieve impressive results through brutal trial and error, as well as tool-assisted speedruns that make the impossible look easy. The title "Kaizo Trap" refers to a particular trope within these unfairly difficult games. Note: the first link has a photosensitivity warning and maybe more cartoon violence than you might expect. [more inside]
The Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever goes like this:
Three gods A, B, and C are called, in some order, True, False, and Random. True always speaks truly, False always speaks falsely, but whether Random speaks truly or falsely is a completely random matter. Your task is to determine the identities of A, B, and C by asking three yes-no questions; each question must be put to exactly one god. The gods understand English, but will answer all questions in their own language, in which the words for “yes” and “no” are “da” and “ja,” in some order. You do not know which word means which.
"We received a letter from Poland containing a really weird CD. Written on the disc is what looks like a product key, however upon examining the contents of the CD it’s quite clear that this is a puzzle of some sort." More, from the Washington Post.
A puzzle game inspired by functional programming, by David Peter. There are only a few levels available now, but with a bit of PureScript programming you can also create your own puzzles.
The annoying boxes puzzle: There are two boxes on a table, one red and one green. One contains a treasure. The red box is labelled "exactly one of the labels is true". The green box is labelled "the treasure is in this box." Can you figure out which box contains the treasure?
The Revenge of Flash Friday - It's ALIVE! Anatomy Arcade "makes basic human anatomy come ALIVE through awesome free flash games, interactives and videos." There are two timed games: Whack-A-Bone and Poke-A-Muscle (both feature auto-playing music, but you can turn it off in PAM). For less stress, there are jigsaw puzzles to help you get familiar with the digestive system, skeletal system, muscular system, the brain, the eye and the heart. (Via everlasting blort)
Downstairs in a house are three identical on-off switches. One of them controls the lamp in the attic. The puzzle is to work out which switch controls the lamp. The rules are as follows. You are allowed to manipulate the switches all you like, and then you are allowed a single trip to the attic. How do you do it?
Trials HD was a dirtbike game released for the XBox in 2009, the third game in the Trials series. It featured a truly arcane easter egg/riddle. For the successor Trials Evolution, the designers needed something more, enter the Trials Evolution Riddle, a puzzle spanning four continents and 100 years.
Duke Nukem Forever. Earthbound and Donkey Kong 64 on Virtual Console. DnD RPGs and LucasArts adventure games on GOG.com. What an age we live in, in which vidya games we were once denied are suddenly no longer denied. And now, Chip's Challenge and its fabled sequel, classic puzzle games long thought permanently unrereleasable and unreleasable respectively due to copyright issues, have finally been released on Steam (and let's not forget its spiritual successor from during the drought, Chuck's Challenge 3D). But why stop there? Fans have created a bunch of free extra levels for the original game, including three epic collaborative level packs, and a free program (first version, newer version) capable of running them. The latter version also has a convenient bundle including all three level packs and an intro pack that serves as a tutorial. [more inside]
"You have to watch this video 3 times to discover the secret."
A video puzzle by professional juggler Michael Karas.
A video puzzle by professional juggler Michael Karas.
Alcazar is a neat little path-finding logic game. There are also printable puzzles, strategy tips and metapuzzles to be had. [more inside]
"If they work together, and only then … they will find the answer and complete the whole riddle someday next year." Do Not Believe His Lies is an iOS puzzle game that was released 8 months ago. No one has solved it yet, despite crowd solving efforts.
Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection "I wrote this collection because I thought there should be more small desktop toys available: little games you can pop up in a window and play for two or three minutes while you take a break from whatever else you were doing. And I was also annoyed that every time I found a good game on (say) Unix, it wasn't available the next time I was sitting at a Windows machine, or vice versa; so I arranged that everything in my personal puzzle collection will happily run on both those platforms and more." In addition to the desktop implementations available at the website, the collection is also available on Android and iOS.
0h n0 is a game of logical deduction where each dot in a grid can only exist in the same row or column as a certain number of like-colored dots. The game will give you specific pieces of information about how many like-colored dots a single dot can "see", and you must deduce the remaining grid of dots. It's from the same people who brought us the zen-like logic game 0h h1 (previously). [more inside]
He was sitting on his bed, surreptitiously surfing the science and math board on 4chan, the notorious underground forum, when he came across a strange image that had appeared on the site three days earlier. It contained a message written in a thin white font against a black background. "Hello," it read. "We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in this image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few that will make it all the way through. Good luck." It was signed "3301." [more inside]
A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? Many people give the first response that comes to mind—10 cents. But if they thought a little harder, they would realize that this cannot be right. Keith E. Stanovich writes in Scientific American about “dysrationalia” and how having a high IQ doesn't guarantee that your brain won't take shortcuts when it can.
Get 10 is a new browser game from veewo, creators of 1024.
Daily Puzzle online. Free apps. Student aids.
Ten years ago today saw the English launch of a quirky Japanese puzzler, a sleeper hit that would go down as one of the most endearing, original, and gleefully weird gaming stories of the 2000s: Katamari Damacy. Its fever-dream plot has the record-scratching, Freddie Mercury-esque King of All Cosmos destroy the stars in a drunken fugue, and you, the diminutive Prince, must restore them with the Katamari -- a magical sticky ball that snowballs through cluttered environments, rolling up paperclips, flowerpots, cows, buses, houses, skyscrapers, and continents into new constellations. It also boasts one of the most infectiously joyous soundtracks of all time -- an eccentric, richly produced, and incredibly catchy blend of funk, salsa, bossa nova, experimental electronica, J-Pop, swing, lounge, bamboo flute, hair metal, buoyant parade music, soaring children's choirs, Macintalk fanfares, and the finest theme song this side of Super Mario Bros. Called a consumerist critique by sculptor-turned-developer Keita Takahashi (who after one sequel moved on to Glitch, the supremely odd Noby Noby Boy, and playground design), the series has inspired much celebration and thought [2, 3] on its way from budget bin to MoMA exhibit. Look inside for essays, artwork, comics, lyrics, more music, hopes, dreams... my, the internet really is full of things. [more inside]
The New Yorker Jigsaw Puzzle. Unjumble the covers.
A standard 6 sided die is a cube. It has eleven nets. The sum of the numbers on opposite faces of a die is 7. [more inside]
This tech demo video from Pillow Castle Games (of Carnegie Mellon) showcases an innovative first person puzzler using the optical illusion of forced perspective.
On January 5th 2012, an image was uploaded to various image boards. It contained two messages. One was obvious & easy to read. In white letters on a black background it said:
Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in this image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few that will make it all the way through. Good luck. 3301As promised there was another message hidden inside the image. It was the start of a bizarre, as yet unexplained chain of complex hidden messages leading those who could solve them on a journey across the Internet and around the world towards a destination none of them could predict with certainty. Is it a highly evolved ARG? Is it a recruitment campaign for the NSA? Welcome to the mystery of Cicada 3301.
Amaze Your Friends, Solve World Hunger; How to Create Chocolate out of Nothing! [slyt]
Regular Expression Crosswords Do you like regular expressions? Do you like crosswords puzzles? Then you're going to (hate|love) this.
Friday Flash Fun: Ending, a hybrid of roguelike and puzzle game, or chess, or something. Maybe "it's like turn-based Gauntlet" would be a good description? There's an on-your-phone version if you're willing to spend a buck, too. DANGER: Very addictive to certain types. You've been warned.
Alternate Reality Game puzzle design - Adam Foster of Valve talks about the design of the Portal 2 ARG, (previously) and do's and don'ts for future ARGs.
A minute is a long flippin' time. Fill it like you care. One of the most minimalistic games to be released last year, Super Hexagon has been praised by many as being hypnotic, addictive, briiliantly designed, and devilishly challenging. It's a game that, like Tetris, delivers pleasure with each inevitable failure, and is simply about reaching escape velocity from your own feeble reflexes. The game has a reputation for turning one's appreciation and apprehension of its challenges into intense addiction, constant improvement, and fervent devotion. [more inside]
The Fool and His Money - The sequel to the 1987 puzzle game The Fool's Errand has just been released, after nearly 10 years of delay and anticipation. [more inside]
In a triumph of both technology and agriculture, the Guinness World Record for largest Quick Response code has been claimed by a corn maze.
* [more inside]
Yesterday, a New York Redditor was approached by a shaggy man and handed a $50 bill and a cryptic note. [more inside]
What is Spelunky? Well, it's a game that's "as generous as it is bloodthirsty," with "astonishing creativity and spectacular depth." First appearing as a freeware PC game in 2008, Spelunky (previously) is a hilariously brutal and oddly addicting marriage of roguelike, platformer, and puzzler. A new version was released for Xbox Live Arcade on July 4th, with updated visuals and a warbly soundtrack that recall the days of SNES gaming, as well as a deathmatch mode that's been compared to the mayhem of Bomberman. If you're anything like me, you'll get hopelessly consumed. (Trailer. Original freeware version for PC and Mac.)
Action Half-Life is a multiplayer modification that focused on cinematic gun-play. The game featured maps by Hondo, who was famous for incorporating massive puzzles in to his levels. These sprawling mysteries are explored by YouTube user bobandalot through narrative walkthroughs uploaded to his channel. [more inside]
My father-in-law Jerry is great at word puzzles. Over the holidays, I showed him SpellTower on my iPad. By the time I took my iPad back at the end of the trip, he had already broken the SpellTower “Puzzle Mode” record on the Game Center leader board by almost 100,000 points. So I asked Jerry if he would share his strategy
Sugar, Sugar: Friday Flash Fun.
The 2012 Internet Problem Solving Contest will begin in a couple of days. Read the rules if you want to join in or perhaps just enjoy delving into the archive of past years' problems.
Fez is a Twin Peaks/Link's Awakening/Myst/2001: A Space Odyssey mashup for cubist tetromino cryptographers.
Fez is an independently developed game available on Xbox Live Arcade. It's available for 800 Microsoft funbucks ($10 USD real world currency). [more inside]
FFF: MMMMMM is a flash game that takes the game mechanics of the indie hit VVVVVV and transforms them from a fast-twitch platform game to a puzzle platformer. [more inside]
A series circuit of 1 battery, 1 resistor, 3 switches, and 3 LEDs. What happens when you turn on each switch? [more inside]