Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mystery Hunt

Two weeks ago I went to Boston to participate in the MIT Mystery Hunt. I've been relatively active in a lot of the Microsoft-run puzzle events (between helping run the intern events and playing in the last two Puzzle Hunts), so when someone I knew from various puzzle-related stuff at work asked if I wanted to join, I jumped at the chance.

All in all, I'm glad I went, but I think I prefer the local hunts. Truthfully, I probably could have worked with the remote team (i.e., folks who didn't fly out to Boston) and noticed very little difference. There were some aspects of the hunt that made the event feel a little amateur; answers were phoned in to a human with no leeway on answers, some of which could be very vague (e.g., one had us translate Chinese to English, which proved to be very ambiguous and frustrating). While this isn't necessarily dissimilar to how things are done in other events, I like to think that if a team called the people running the event and could explain the puzzle, they'd get the answer if there was a translation error.

I probably could complain more, but on reflection, there's always a lot to complain about after a Hunt; some puzzles simply don't sync with everyone, and even after hearing the answer it can be natural to think "that person is crazy."

As I said though, I'm glad I went. I've been thinking more and more that I'd like to travel more, so while I spent most of the time in either a hotel room or a classroom, I'm glad I got out of the state. I suppose I rode the subway as well, which only serves to remind me how much I hate the lack of decent public transit around Puget Sound.

And all of this reminds me that I need to book another weekend flight here pretty soon.

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