Da Vinci Contest

| 3 Comments

Google is running a contest to promote the upcoming Da Vinci Code film. I haven't read the book yet-- I should really get around to it soon before the film hype ruins it for me-- but the contest promises to be fun anyway. Designed by multiple-time World Puzzle Championship winner Wei-Hwa Huang and other puzzlemakers at Google and within the Game community, the contest offers 24 puzzles over the course of as many days. Perhaps best of all, this is not a sweepstakes. The first 10,000 people to complete all the puzzles will receive a "cryptex" replica-- I assume this has meaning to people familiar with the book-- and will be eligible for the final 5-puzzle challenge. The first person to solve that challenge will win the grand prize package worth over $100,000 (none of that as cash, so prepare for a hefty tax hit). The puzzles are targeted at a mass audience, so don't feel like you have to be an expert to try it out. Sign up, play, and help make the promotion a success so we might see more of this type of thing in the future.

3 Comments

"I haven't read the book yet-- I should really get around to it soon before the film hype ruins it for me..."

Meh. Dan Brown is just Michael Crichton without the screenwriter's ear for dialog. I respect Brown for making a bajillion dollars, but unfortunately that has much more to do with the religious content than with the puzzles. Read the book--it's worth the few hours' investment it requires--but I expect your reaction's going to be, "These puzzles took 500 years to solve?"

"The first 10,000 people to complete all the puzzles will receive a 'cryptex' replica-- I assume this has meaning to people familiar with the book..."

The "loading" animation on the movie website shows a cryptex; it's also the cylindrical thing that Hanks throws up in the air in the trailer. Remember the letter locks from Puzzle Hunt 9? Imagine one of those, except when it's dialed to the right combination the ends come off to expose a message cylinder inside. Now make it out of ivory and brass instead of potmetal and plastic... although I guess "replicas" will probably be made out of potmetal and plastic themselves, sigh. Still a very cool prize.

Well, the contest is over. No idea yet whether I'm in the pool of 10,000—apparently you find out when/if they mail you your cryptex, which contains the URL to the final puzzle challenge. Pretty cool.

What's hilarious, though, is that because so many Microsoft people are hitting Google's servers right now to play the last puzzle, Google is assuming our proxy server is a 'bot and is blocking it.

It's not just Microsoft. I played from home and reloaded at 10 AM on the dot, and I got the same error message. The gf, trying from her home, got the same thing. Fortunately we were able to type in the given captcha to continue.

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