I grew up playing games, many of them puzzle-solving adventure games. I played Treasure Mountain! (read cookiemonger’s review of this game on her blog), Math Blaster!, and Myst, not to mention the many exploration and management games I played, like Alien Logic and SimCity 2000. I’ve been solving puzzles for a long time.

As you’ll read in CM’s blog, we recently rediscovered a number of games we played in our youth (including Quest for Glory, for her), and it’s given me cause to reevaluate some aspects of the projects I’ve been developing. For one, I’ve been developing maps, researching and revising myths for use as background material for stories.

It only recently occurred to me that the material could be used as story content as opposed to window dressing. I think it started when I watched Extra Credits’s recent episodes about Alternate Reality Games, and was spurred by recent exposure to Treasure Mountain! and Gizmos & Gadgets! (Thanks again, CM!)

Myst had many puzzles that immersed you in the world by teaching you about it. I’ll admit right now that I was terrible at the game, that I refused to do much more than explore and mess around with things, and that most of my memories of the puzzle-solving are based on my dad’s explanation of the solutions.

In Gizmos & Gadgets, as in Myst, many of the puzzles are based around physical concepts like energy sources and machines. G&G taught you the names and types of energy, and ways in which they were commonly employed. Most of the puzzles were simple enough that you could solve them by accident, but some stuff rubbed off.

By solving puzzles, you learned about the simple machines and how to utilize their attributes to achieve a variety of effects. The six classic simple machines are the pulley, the lever, the wedge, the screw, the wheel and axle, and the inclined plane.

Each of the machines is used to modify energy in some way, whether transferring it or transforming it, and it’s all pretty interesting stuff. You know, if you’re an engineer. Or me. Or you like to know how stuff works. I’m off to get lost reading about physics.