So we touched on phones a little bit last time, well I say phones, but a micro controller is hardly how phones work and I promise we are never going to be done talking about phones. Unfortunate for me. Anyways, let’s take a little departure back to shatterstone for a bit and give use a break from the technical side for a moment and jump into the story.

Shatterstone is not an escape room. I want to be crystal clear about that up front. Shatterstone like Omega Mart should be an experience that you choose to explore. Learn as much or as little as you want. If you don’t want any of it then enjoy some boardgames and a mocktail and relax for a bit. If you get half way through and want to save it for another day then so be it. Escape rooms are very all or nothing and there is enough competition in the world. With that in mind, we need two things for a story: a plot and some characters. So that was what I started in on.

I started writing a couple stories for shatterstone. The first was built around the shatterstone, a meteor that fell to earth some time ago and exploded into a bunch of pieces that landed in different places and people found them giving them powers, animals gain basic intelligence, strength, etc. This was promising, but it felt “big”, like years of writing big. I am still alone in this and so I can only do so much. So I stepped back a bit. My wife said it was fine to make the house into a weird art/fun project, but it had to look like a normal house. So that story didn’t fit my situation currently either. On to idea two.

Every year we have a halloween party. I say “we”, but usually it is at a friends house and it’s the same group every year. So I thought maybe we, my wife and I, host it this year. It is still a few months off, but it would be a great time to show it off and test it in real life. This put a time constraint on the thing as well, which honestly I need. So I started racking my brain for a story. The tough part here was the “why”. Why would there be a puzzle. Are we spies? No, we are both too old and unfit. Are we scientists? No I like computers, but neither of us are “geniuses”. Maybe we are librarians for the govt? We have a library and I’ve been an actual librarian. Ok, that’s believable. Maybe the govt ships us stuff it doesn’t want to keep around and we store it in our house? That could work. We do have a library and some places to hide stuff.

Alright, so I started writing this story and creating the puzzles. The idea was that something had happened to us and we may or may not be aware of it. For example, body snatchers have replaced us and now our friends have to rescue us. There were a few problems with this scenario though, what if they didn’t complete the “mission”, what if we saw them doing suspicious things, what if they got stuck in the middle somewhere and needed help. If they came for a party and now had to do work then isn’t this just a non consenting es… es… escape room. Oh shit.

Ok that’s out. So I was spitballing with some co-workers and came across the solution that was in front of me the whole time. What if the game was to just play with phones. Oh ya, surprise we are talking about phones again!

Phones are super consenting, you have to pick up the receiver and dial. They are fun to use or at least I feel nastalgia when I use the ones around our house (I have a phone network in my house that I hooked up and ya I will cover it later). They are also super simple to use and everyone knows how. You can run them asyncronously so anyone can call any other phone from whereever this way multiple people can discover things at different times.

The trouble here is the story. Can phones have an interlinking story? Probably, but I don’t have time to write it. So what if the game is the phones themselves. What if the rule set was: find phone number, call phone, find phone, and use phone to call next one. For all the reasons above that should probably work (I’m wrong a lot). So that’s the game idea for now.

Spoiler warning But what if a phone was not a phone? I mean what if something that wasn't supposed to be a phone was a phone?

Alright, so I think that is enough said for now, the big take away here is that bigger is probably better, but constraint is where true creativity lives. Keep it simple and you may actually finish it. So next time I think we will touch on a topic I am very interested in, “How to hide a puzzle anywhere.” There will probably be a lot more spoilers in that one, but I’ll try to make them non-consequential in case I ever finish this and you want to try it out.