Here at SparkX we've been busy putting together something we're pretty excited about.
The Prototype is a hardware alternate reality game (HARP for short) and the first of its class. We're really into mechanical puzzles (PuzzleMad and Boxes and Booze are great sites) as well as alternate reality games and generally spooky cipher puzzles (Night Mind is a youtube channel for game reviews). We decided to take all the sneaky things we know about electronics and make a puzzle game. The Prototype is our first episode. The story takes place across four chapters and along the way you'll meet characters and have to solve various hardware and cryptographic challenges.
Is it hard? Jah. But it's not crypto hard (we're not that smart). Rather, we designed the puzzle to take some time. This is not a 60 minute escape, this is a "settle in and mull it over days" puzzle.
What if I don't have XYZ skill/tool/background? Then this puzzle is perfect for you! We wanted to mix people and genres of different backgrounds together. You might need to borrow a friend's soldering iron. You might need to phone a friend at your hackerspace about ciphers. Along the way you're going to learn a few things and hopefully make a new friend or two.
Can I buy one for a friend? Yup. But really, you should buy it for yourself and play it first :)
But why does it cost so much? How much did you spend the last time you and three friends did an escape room? This is longer, more engaging, and generally cooler if we do say so.
Why is there a big black blob on there? I thought you guys were open source? We are OSHW hard core. Once you complete the puzzle you'll achieve behind-the-scenes access including all the firmware and design files. We just know how smart you readers are and if we allowed you to see too much it wouldn't be much of a puzzle, now would it?
Ok, what do I need to play? A computer and a mind that can set aside reality for a bit. We promise, it won't bite...