MIT Mystery Hunt 2024

MIT Mystery Hunt has been running full steam ahead this weekend! A few weeks ago, I had this weekend circled on my calendar. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to participate much this year.

My enthusiasm for the event was at an all time high. One of the designers, John B., has an impressive puzzle design resume ranging from the Who Killed Jerusalem $50,000 treasure hunt to Puzzle Crawl to augmented reality puzzles used at the Recon escape convention. I trust anything he puts out, and there are many other experienced designers contributing to the project, as well. I wasn’t planning on going to join in person at MIT, but I planned to support online.

Unfortunately, life happened in a big way. A few weeks ago, I found a new home I liked. The next month was a whirlwind of planning, moving, and assembling new furniture. Not only did I end up missing the MIT Mystery Hunt, but I’m also on my longest escape room drought since 2018.

Today I had a chance to take a peek at the MIT Mystery Hunt, and from what I can tell, it’s one of the best year’s of the event yet. I took a peek at a few puzzles and the variety is excellent. The overall interface is very well designed and engaging.

The team I typically participate with didn’t finish the event, but they’ve solved quite a bit. By my count, the team has unlocked or solved 139 different puzzles, and it looks like there are even more. When all is said and done, it’ll be interesting to see if this year set a new record for most puzzles.

The puzzles I’ve seen look reasonably accessible. I have a strong preference toward puzzles that give me the most bang for my buck for my time spent, minimizing busy work and maximizing aha moments. Think about the difference between presenting a puzzle in the form of a 30×30 crossword grid vs. a 1000×1000 crossword grid. The puzzles I’ve peeked at seem like more of players’ time will be spent on the exciting parts of solving.

I still plan to poke around this hunt further- I’ll ask for some recommendations on must-solve puzzles from the event and tackle those in a leisurely fashion now that the clock has stopped. I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to participate but I’m glad the event went well, and I’m glad to have things in order so I can start participating in events like this again.

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