Friday, April 14, 2006
Back in college, I had this idea of an Internet-based puzzle extravaganza. It would have one thousand puzzles of various types, more than anyone could ever expect to solve in the time limit provided. It was all going to tie into a central theme and an intricate story.
I got to about two hundred before I got exhausted (in both senses of the word).
Almost a decade later, that dream has come true: a small group of us at Google, in cooperation with Sony Pictures, have managed to create 12,358 original puzzles for The Da Vinci Code Quest on Google.
That's right, 12,358 (I'd make a joke about Fibonacci numbers, but that would be too obvious), all designed to honor both a fanatical puzzler’s sheer love of a mental challenge and the labyrinthine spirit of The Da Vinci Code itself. They'll be released over the next 24 days, in the form of six different challenges at four difficulty levels, with enough variety that I think everyone will be able to find something they like and play it over and over -- although if you're in the U.S., you'll want to try to complete all 24 and make it to the Final Challenge, where I hear there's a pretty nice prize package awaiting the winner.
I'm rather pleased with how this project fulfilled my youthful dream, and very proud of how well our team's creative synergies were able to mesh with the world of The Da Vinci Code, the cinematic version of which will premiere just as the Quest wraps up. Yes, we'll have to turn the puzzles off then -- after all, how else are we going to get you all offline to join the rest of us in the multiplexes?
Good luck, and more importantly, have fun!
P. S. Okay, this wouldn’t be a Da Vinci-related post if I didn’t give you a clue: if you really want a mental workout, try solving the Chess Challenges by looking only at the board, without using the multiple choices to help you. The training you get may very well prove helpful should you turn out to be one of the elite few who reach the Final Challenge.