The funny story of Perplex City, a puzzle solved in 14 years

Perplex City is an ARG or Alternate Reality Game type game, created by Mind Candy, a company based in London, and released in 2006. Basically, the game's storyline is based on the story of a fictional metropolis called Perplex City. According to reports, the first "season" consisted of finding an artifact called "Receda Cube" from the fictional world. This is a spiritual and scientific priceless item for Perplex City, but has been stolen and hidden somewhere on Earth.

Thus, Mind Candy promised a reward of around 130,000 euros to whoever would be able to find the artifact, and finally, it was discovered on February 2, 2007 in Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom by Andy Darley .

The funny story of Perplex City, a puzzle solved in 14 years
Pixabay credits

However, a mystery pertaining to the game was not finally resolved until 14 years after its debut. The players of Perplex City indeed received special cards containing puzzles to obtain points and giving clues to find the Cube. One of the cards, number 256, gave players a hard time, and its puzzle was not solved until December 2020.

We know that the puzzle of card number 256, which is also known as “Billion to One”, was so difficult that several communities have formed on the web to try to solve it.

The almost impossible puzzle

The puzzle on card number 256 was in the form of a photo showing a man standing in front of a river. There was an inscription in Japanese on the card next to him saying "Find me." Then, according to a clue found on the web, it was known that the man was called Satoshi.

But then no one was able to solve the problem, and the man named Satoshi was never found. The players thus began to work together to try to unravel the mystery. Several websites have also emerged to support research. One of them, called “ Find Satoshi ”, was created in November 2006 by Laura E. Hall as a means of consolidating information relating to the search for Satoshi and accelerating the exchange between players.

The key to the mystery

The Find Satoshi site tells how internet users finally managed to find Satoshi using facial recognition AI. The algorithm indeed detected a man with a beer in his hand in a photo published in 2018, and this man lived in Nagano, Japan. When contacted directly, as the rules of the game suggested, he confirmed that he was indeed the sought-after “Satoshi”. Later, the creator of the puzzle also confirmed that it was him.

Regarding the photo of the puzzle, we could determine the place where it was taken thanks to its background. In fact, it was the town of Kaysersberg, in Alsace, France. What is surprising is that Laura E. Hall had passed near the city in December 2007 on a business trip. She was able to make a visit and stood exactly where Satoshi had taken her selfie.

Thus, the veil is lifted on the identity of Satoshi. As for the game Perplex City, a sequel called "Perplex City Stories" was slated for March 2007, but in June of that year officials announced that the following season was on indefinite suspension.

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