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.



Krinklefoot said...

You should re-read the blogs. The games tightened up considerably and all the teams loved the race.

Krinklefoot said...

ravenchase that is.....was a great race indeed.

CKL said...

Krinklefoot: while I don't dispute that the Ravenchase teams enjoyed the overall experience they had last week, I was in regular contact with Team Bloodshot, and I'd have to agree with their unfavorable opinion of many of the puzzles and logistical issues during the event. (I didn't link to their blog because it's not public.)

As I understand it, one big issue was that very few of the clues had been playtested, and Game Control often didn't seem to believe teams when they pointed out typos or other encoding errors. But there were mitigating circumstances, and I do give GC credit for eventually making the best of a bad situation.

I won't say more, since I wasn't there and this is all secondhand information. Maybe one of the teams who participated would like to comment.

P.S. Wasn't your blog part of the starter puzzle for the Ravenchase hunt?

umeditor said...

Thanks for all the links. Even though there were some rough spots, it sounds like teams had a great time.

I wonder if this multi-city type game could be combined with the Pirates Bath's teams-create-the-clues idea to create a new kind of game. Maybe something where each team plans and runs a day game in a city for all of the other teams? You'd have to come up with some sort of scoring system that worked and maybe a theme to tie it all together, but it might be an interesting twist.

A2racers said...

We're finally getting to the point we can pull out the notes from the Race (it's been really hectic around here), and will hopefully have our blog updated (never try to blog coherently from the road during a race...), but suffice it to say, our team is already blocking out vacation days for the next race.

See you there!