Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Worst. Game. EVAR

No, I'm not talking about the Ravenchase Great America Treasure Hunt, about which many of the participating teams have already complained.

I'm talking about the "secret illegal cross-country road race" depicted in the short-lived TV series Drive. I watched the final two produced episodes last night--mostly because of Nathan Fillion and Melanie Lynskey--and y'know, I wish someone would make a puzzle-hunt show which actually deals with the puzzles. If I want melodrama, I'll watch Gray's Anatomy.

Although it would be interesting to compare and contrast the event actually run by Ravenchase last week, and the one imagined by the producers of Drive. Let's see...

Ravenchase: required several hours of driving between checkpoints each day.
Drive: featured truckloads of green-screen "driving" footage every episode.

Ravenchase: used obscure ciphers and symbols like the Ogham alphabet to encode messages.
Drive: used ambiguous phrases like "Surrender USA" to indicate specific locations.

Ravenchase: allowed teams to take time penalties in order to get hints on difficult clues.
Drive: did not offer hints.

Ravenchase: changed their own scoring rules several times in attempts to make up for puzzles which hadn't been adequately playtested and often contained errors.
Drive: blackmailed players into performing mysterious and arbitrary tasks to satisfy the whims of the shadowy organization running the race.

Ravenchase: did not require teams to do anything illegal.
Drive: did I mention that the exact phrase "secret illegal cross-country road race" is spoken at least once per episode?

Ravenchase: no players were seriously injured, not even during white-water rafting.
Drive: one player, dead; one player, shot in the stomach; numerous others threatened.

Ravenchase: gave the winning team a model sailing ship trophy.
Drive: claimed that the winning team would receive a $32 million prize.

Ravenchase: ended at a bar in New Orleans, where teams partied until the wee hours.
Drive: didn't end so much as just stopped after six episodes, with nothing resolved. At least Amy Acker got a couple of lines.

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