Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Choose Your Own Misadventure - Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Eat at Denny's

Monkey-man just told us to go to Centralia. Centraliais a long way away, and we’re starting to get hungry. It’s definitely after midnight now, and we have to drive to the “Art Farm” there. I worry about stories my office-mate told me about last year… about a puzzle where his team traveled to a ranch and picked up a CD. The puzzle sounded like absolute hell.

It turns out the Art Farm is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. This is refreshing. We arrive there and hop out of the van, looking for the next puzzle. Some team members wander into the entrance of the park, and I notice a large white paper bag. I look in, and see a horrific sight.


Oh crap. I hope this isn’t like last year! I thumb through the packets, looking for the sign that says the CD is meant for Ultraviolet. It looks like we’re doing well; there’s a ton of CDs in the bag. Maybe only one or two teams are ahead of us! I find ours, and we rush to our van! We don’t want to be noticed by other teams, so we drive to a parking lot in eye-shot, turn off our lights, and pop the CD in the music player.

Allow me to pause the story for a moment. There’re 8 guys in a plain white van outside some random shop. With glowing windows from the laptops. I’m amazed the police didn’t come after us.

Anyhow, we notice other teams arriving as we listen to the CD. The first track tells us of a story of corporate espionage, and tells us to skip to another track. It’s a choose your own adventure game! We quickly pull out paper and write down the decision tree. It turns out that there should be exactly one path that gives us a number to solve a quote.

Hungry, we decide to look for food. As we approach the freeway, we decide to go into Denny’s and get some quick food. Game Control advised against this in the Q&A before the game, but we don’t care. We sit down, order food, while some of us continue on the adventure.

While we’re looking at the decision tree, I sit there wishing I had a prolog interpreter. To this day I’ve been meaning to take the tracks from the CD and see what prolog would come up with.

We notice something; there’s a loop we can exploit to “win.” But our answer doesn’t make much sense… no matter, we’re tired, and food is here. So is team “Yale Blue.” Hey guys.

As we finish eating our food, Game Control calls. “How’s it going?” We explain to them that we’re working on the adventure game, and that we think we found an exploit. “Yeah, we know” they tell us. It turns out the game is bugged; there’s more than one solution. We explain ours, and content that we figured something out, they tell us the answer. We dial the answer in the hotline, and get the next location: Return to Olympia! We pay the bill and go on our way. It looks like Game Control is calling Blue too...


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