MIT Mystery Hunt 2023

MIT Mystery Hunt 2023
Logo of the 2023 MIT Mystery Hunt
Running Teamteammate
Winning TeamThe Team Formerly Known as the Team Formerly Known as the Team Formerly Known as the Team Formerly Known as the Team Formerly Known as the Team to Be Named Later
Timeframe and Location
LocationMIT (Cambridge, MA)
Start Time1:00PM EST, January 13, 2023
Finishing Time (Winning Team)7:23AM EST, January 16, 2023
Official End Time10:00AM EST, January 16, 2023
Hunt LinkLink
Kickoff LinkLink
Wrapup LinkLink
MIT Mystery Hunt Chronology
← 2022
2024 →

MIT Mystery Hunt 2023 was the 43rd iteration of the MIT Mystery Hunt, with kickoff occurring at noon on Friday, January 13th, 2023 and wrap-up at noon the following Monday, January 16th. The coin was found at 7:23AM EST on Monday by Team to Be Named Later.[1] Run by teammate, the hunt extended much longer than intended, prompting the release of several 'free answer' rewards, likely in an attempt to make sure that teams would be capable of finishing the hunt prior to wrap-up.

While a museum theme was presented during signups and lasted through the kickoff into the hunt itself, the hunt's story eventually became about the "Puzzle Factory" that was behind the scenes of Mystery Hunt, as well as several AI characters who operated it.

Admiral Boötes’ Cosmic Discovery Expedition: Further Galaxies, a followup puzzle hunt featuring a more complete version of the Admiral Boötes’ Cosmic Discovery Expedition round, was held on June 2, 2023.

Museum of Interesting Things, the original logo and premise for the hunt.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Prior to the hunt, teams were invited to participate in the grand opening of 'The Museum of Interesting Things', which happened to take place during the kickoff for the hunt. When teams did arrive, they were introduced to the museum by its staff. However, due to apparent understaffing, they then announced that they would have to postpone the grand opening until they could find more curators to vet the interesting things contained within. Turning to the teams in attendance, the current staff offered to give the teams a 'test' to see if they were capable of joining the museum team, by having them investigate some of the interesting things already on display, leading them into their first few rounds.

As part of the 'non-plot' opening ceremony information, teams were also introduced to MATE, an AI helper developed by teammate in order to help them write the hunt. They specified that MATE had 'written every puzzle in the hunt' and that they would 'write every puzzle for every future hunt' as well. These statements were reinforced by MATE appearing on every puzzle page, providing both a loading screen and chatbot function to solvers.

Eventually, however, MATE gradually slowed down when loading puzzles, until they were no longer able to load anything. If interrupted properly, solvers could use this glitch to 'break out' of the museum and make their way to the Puzzle Factory, an industrial building where, presumably, every Mystery Hunt was created. Teams could explore three levels of the building, each of which eventually led to a discovery:

  • In the Office, teams discovered that teammate had created four other AIs before MATE, but that these had been rejected.
  • At the monitor bank on the Factory Floor, teams met a digital character who couldn't remember their name but wanted to contribute to the hunt.
  • In the Basement, teams found a box of hard drives discovered by teammate.

Meanwhile, teams could continue solving puzzles in the museum-themed hunt, which eventually led them to the discovery that MATE was overworked and stressed from trying to run Mystery Hunt themselves.

After this, teams hooked up the hard drives they had found (which contained the rejected AIs) to the Factory Floor's computer hub, and activated the AIs using the office files to determine their names.

At first, this appeared to work, and MATE thanked solvers for bringing them the help they needed. However, in the middle of this interaction, MATE was suddenly shut down by teammate. The factory no longer had power, and the museum hunt's website gave a 404 'Hunt Not Found' error. teammate then visited the solving team (in person or virtually) and criticized them for interfering with their 'perfect' hunt. They blamed solvers for the death of Mystery Hunt, saying they had no choice but to pull the plug to keep the AIs' strange puzzles out of the hunt.

After teammate left, Wyrm (one of the AIs, and the digital character solvers had discovered earlier) appeared on a monitor in the factory. They asked teams to help them bring back Mystery Hunt by solving puzzles. First, solvers could only access a few puzzles that were left behind in the factory's assembly line (these were puzzles that had already appeared in the museum hunt). Each solve brought a little more power back into the factory, and soon the machines started up again, moving more slowly than before. Teams could now access a new round and metapuzzle at the monitor bank, with Wyrm replacing MATE as the resident chatbot.

As teams continued to solve puzzles, the factory got progressively more energetic and the AIs woke up one by one, offering new rounds with unusual gimmicks. Eventually, each AI made a 'feature request' that would add a strange new part to the factory's machinery. The last AI to wake up was MATE, who was happy to see the other AIs' contributions, but had one last feature request of their own. Solving this united all of the AIs' rounds into a new Mystery Hunt, which brought back the museum hunt's website, featuring the new rounds as parts of the museum.

Finally, teams completed the runaround by building a machine to allow humans to contribute to Mystery Hunt once again, and they used this machine to construct a new puzzle of their own (the coin). teammate reappeared and admitted that the new Mystery Hunt was better than theirs, handing over control of the factory to the solvers. The AIs congratulated teams on their success and said they were taking a vacation, but that they were sure the solving team could handle writing a new hunt on their own.

List of Rounds[edit | edit source]

Round Title Number of Feeder Puzzles Number of Metapuzzles
Atrium 9 1
Science 9 1
Natural History 8 1
Art 7 1
World History 7 1
Innovation 7 1
Puzzle Factory
Basement 14 1
Office 16 1
The Factory Floor 10 1
AI Rounds
The Wyrmhole 22[3] 5
Admiral Boötes' Cosmic Discovery Expedition 6 1
Ascent 9 1
Conjuri's Quest 14 1

State Diagram[edit | edit source]

Mentions in Other Media[edit | edit source]

Write Ups[edit | edit source]

This is a list of write ups about Mystery Hunt 2023.

From teammate[edit | edit source]

From Others[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • This hunt is the first hunt to have a team size soft cap of 60 people, with all previous team size soft caps (between 2018-2022) being stated as 75.
  • This hunt was the first edition of the MIT Mystery Hunt to take place on-campus since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, after two hunts (MH21 and MH22) taking place entirely online.
    • As a result, this is also the first edition of the MITMH to utilize the TIM Ticket system of accessing campus.
    • This is the first edition of the MITMH to disallow the presence of any team members in classrooms/on campus outside of dorms from the hours of 1AM to 6AM.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. The full name of the team is The Team Formerly Known as the Team Formerly Known as the Team Formerly Known as the Team Formerly Known as the Team Formerly Known as the Team to Be Named Later. They were the first team to finish all of the metas needed to reach endgame at Monday 4:13am. However, due to MIT campus restrictions they were unable to do the endgame until several hours later.
  2. Only 3/4 out of MATE's META, Basement, Office, and The Factory Floor metas are required to unlock this puzzle.
  3. Count includes duplicated puzzles from the Museum rounds and blank puzzles.