Once upon a time, a lot of discussion about the MIT Mystery Hunt happened on LiveJournal. Leading up to this year’s Hunt I wanted to relive those discussions and could still easily find them on the internet. So far this year, most of the Hunt breakdowns I’ve seen have been on Facebook or Reddit, both of which are nice platforms but not really conducive to permanence. Also, my Facebook presence is friends-only, and Mystery Hunt is something I don’t solely want to discuss with my friends… I want to know what the entire community thinks. This is especially true this year, where the speed with which some teams found the coin has brought up some fascinating questions about Hunt design, and they’re questions worth talking about (in a CIVIL way).
I’ve also been toying for months with the idea of creating a puzzlehunt podcast. I wouldn’t be the first to do that, though the only one I’m aware of, Snoutcast, faded away a couple of years ago, and that was more focused on West Coast drive-around hunts (or “games”). I’ve been reluctant to do the podcast, since the effort-to-audience ratio would almost certainly be higher than I’d like. But I participate in every puzzlehunt I can get my hands on (six P&A’s a year, the Mystery Hunt, the NPL Con extravaganza, BAPHL, DASH, the Australian puzzle hunts, etc.) and it would be nice to have a platform to talk about it, even if only a few people care about listening.
This week it hit me that there’s a way to scratch both of these itches, and it’s this brand new blog. Puzzlvaria will be devoted to my experiences solving and constructing puzzlehunts, and depending on how things go, it might feature guest posts about puzzlehunts I don’t get to experience firsthand. Maybe it’ll turn into something big, maybe it’ll poke along and be sporadically updated (after all, there isn’t a puzzlehunt every week), and maybe I’ll get bored and abandon it by February. Time will tell.
In any case, I’m working on a very long four-part post about the 2017 Mystery Hunt to kick things off. Look for that by the end of the week; in the meantime, if you haven’t seen all the puzzles and solutions from this year’s Hunt, you can check them out here. Also, here are videos of the kickoff and the wrap-up, both of which are worth watching if you haven’t (sorry about the slight audio lag on both).