I finally did it.

I was on-site for the 2016 MIT Mystery Hunt. I even solved a metapuzzle. This year I hunted with ✈✈✈ Galactic Trendsetters ✈✈✈, the team primarily but not overwhelmingly formed from floorpi, my dorm floor. (Perhaps somewhat regrettably, I didn’t contribute to any events or runarounds or things given to HQ, unless you count attending a “recitation” for Student Simulator (round King Arthur, second from left).)

(Also, I made this post. Has it been two weeks already? Okay, that’s not an unusual timeframe.)

But wow, I got to touch so many puzzles.

Non-spoilery comments on particularly memorable puzzles I did, which are disproportionately programming-related, if anybody wants to look at them (I am describing how to get to the puzzle from the round instead of linking because I’m lazy and links might rot but the instructions will hopefully survive archival (although turns out there’s actually a table of contents so I don’t know what I’m doing)):

  • identify, SORT, index, solve (round Sleeping Beauty, bottom-right) is my favorite puzzle. Since I probably have a lot of readers in that direction, I should mention it’s also math-related!
  • Time Suck (round Endymion, second from left in bottom row) is hilarious and pretty fun, too. Programming/scripting/hacking-things-together ability helps, but I suppose you can do this the long titular way if you want…
  • ASCII Characters (round Rip Van Winkle, top pin behind the center one): I enjoyed the first part, but am pretty dissatisfied with the second, even though we managed to get it eventually (more precisely, while some of us working on it had gotten stuck and left our hunt room to get burritos, phenomist guessed it remotely).
  • Luminance Shift (round Ysera, rightmost in Your Hand) was fun. I guess I might only complain that it’s not quite as cohesive as I like my puzzles to be.
  • Unimaginably Twisted Files (round Sleeping Beauty, one below top-center) was fun but we got stuck several times.
  • I did the Sleeping Gypsy meta! I even managed to backsolve one and a half answers from it! It was exhilarating!

Non-spoilery comments on cool puzzles I looked at but didn’t solve much of:

  • CLICK TO WIN!!! (round King Arthur, center): Cute use of the medium.
  • Replication (round Ysera, second from left in Enemy Side): Just look at this thing. Seriously, just look at it.
  • Quantum Minesweeper (round Pam Ewing, bottom-left): Also cute to behold.

And non-puzzly final observations:

  • I also got to meet quite a few friends who flew in for hunt! Perhaps most notably, I thought very hard and discussed with lots of people in order to come up with an interesting and robust protocol for meeting and recognizing Yoshiap, which we didn’t end up using, I ended up just visibly sending a chat over Hangouts saying “!!!”; even though I don’t know how often I’ll be in a similar situation again, suggestions for cooler protocols would be much appreciated, if only for mental gratification. Also unfortunately there were a few other people I only got to wave at. Oh well, there are probably still quite a few more next times.
  • The first morning, I got 4 hours of sleep. No regrets. I think sleep deprivation really only set in a few days later, but boy, that was quite the experience and totally worth it.
  • I got to look at somebody’s screen and ask somebody “What Flight are you on?”
  • Verbally following up to the title is so fun.
  • Does Holden Lee read my blog????????

Oh well, back to normal life…

edit: Spoilery comments are below. Cool, I can keep everything in one post now.

(note: the commenting setup here is experimental and I may not check my comments often; if you want to tell me something instead of the world, email me!)