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\begin{document}
\title{Games We Have Played: Zorg and Paparazzi}%
\author{Daniel Mathews}%
\maketitle
\bigskip
\bigskip
Lately we have been exploring the whole of our inner geekiness and
we have played in a couple of Games. Bigger than BANGs: though we
have hosted a BANG, the BANG is the junior version of The Game. One
was called Zorg and was based on the film The Fifth Element. The
other, which was only a week or so ago, was called Paparazzi, was
created by XX-rated, and had an entertainment/Hollywood/paparazzi
theme. This was somewhat daunting, since we know next to nothing
about movies or any such thing.
A BANG goes for a few hours, maybe 4 hours or so, give or take a
couple. Zorg went for an entire day --- starting at 8am and
finishing around midnight. Playing in the Paparazzi game was a whole
new level for us --- it went for \emph{36 hours}. Yes, that's right,
puzzles all day, puzzles all night, and puzzles all day again. So
playing in such a game involves hiring a van, preferably involves
access to a GPS, preferably involves access to wireless or mobile
internet, involves serious stamina, involves knowledge of a standard
canon of encodings and languages (semaphore, Braille, maritime
signal flags, Unicode, ASCII, hexadecimal, the text of the
declaration of independence, airport codes, Japanese incense
notation, to mention just a few that are well-accepted among the
community or have been used). So, we are hardcore --- in a sort of
futile and fantasy-guerrilla way which is a rather new flavour of
geekiness for me. More Dungeons and Dragons type, less mathematical
fanaticism. But let's not go too far!
The Zorg game traversed an area in the general region of the east
and north-east bay, around Berkeley and Walnut Creek. Highlights of
this game included dodecahedral minesweeper, decoding a message via
fourier analysis of the music on a CD, puzzles involving the
exhibits a science museum, a puzzle talking to a fake protester on
the Berkeley campus, a physical challenge on monkey bars, a game of
charades, and a game of Laser Tag (= Zone 3 or Dark Zone or whatever
you want to call it). Most impressive.
The Parparazzi game, as you might expect, traversed a rather larger
area. In fact it was enormous! We started just near the golden gate
bridge and, on day one, found ourselves guided through the north
bay, Sonoma County, Petaluma (becoming a regular gaming location!),
the Napa Valley (yum….), the shipbuilding districts of the north
east bay, down through Berkeley to San Francisco. Through the
evening we spent much of our time in the city area, and then made
our way through the night down towards Stanford. In fact, on day
two, there were a whole bunch of puzzles on the Stanford campus ---
not surprising, since XX-rated are Stanford students. We finished
some miles south of Palo Alto. We were at a disadvantage due to our
lack of experience in these overnight games, and also, as it turned
out, through our lack of mobile internet access, which almost seemed
required for some of the puzzles. Nonetheless we got by with some
phone-a-friend strategies, some vicarious googling, some of our
meagre general knowledge, and some extraordinary guessing by
Rebecca. Not only did she guess several answers, saving us at least
10 minutes at a time, she \emph{also} guessed several start codes
for puzzles, thereby putting us ahead in the scheduling of hints.
One time she guessed the wrong start code, however, which caused a
programming headache for game control!
This game also had many high points. A puzzle at an airport. A video
was made and edited \emph{in the course of the game}, in which each
team performed a few lines. We were given our lines and filmed as we
arrived at the location on the first day, and on the second day were
given a CD containing the video, which was now a puzzle. A physical
challenge involving crushing ``grapes" --- water balloons --- in the
Napa valley. Several other wine-based puzzles in the Napa valley. A
puzzle to which the answer was ``poo". A ride in a stretch limousine
--- in fact, one of the stretchiest stretch limousines I have ever
seen. We were picked up by the limousine from a Safeway car park
which is an infamous pick-up (in the other sense!) location. The
locals must have found a little strange all these vans pulling up
and people changing clothes in this Safeway car park. We were
changing clothes because the limousine took us to a puzzle in a
nightclub involving freak dancing --- yeah, bump and grind, baby! A
puzzle pick-up from a blackened van, in a pitch-black car park, from
people wearing darkened sunglasses, at 2am --- the puzzle actually
consisted of a pornographic video! Well, sort of --- it was animals
mating, to the tune of the ``Let's do it like they do on the
discovery channel" song. A late-night poker party, which lasted
until morning. A donut-based puzzle. Several dance-pad based
puzzles, you know, like the arcade game where you have to dance
along to the music. I proved our team's best dancer, more than once.
That's saying something.
A lot of fun. I think I am addicted.
\end{document}