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An interactive puzzle novel written by Mike Selinker, with enchanting illustrations by Pete Venters.
2,630 backers pledged $171,146 to help bring this project to life.

Unspeakable Words returns

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Hi folks! We're brewing up some new Maze of Games puzzle projects in 2015, but before we do, here's something we're really excited about.

If you haven't played our puzzle game Unspeakable Words, you'll be able to soon. Playroom Entertainment is bringing it back in a brand new deluxe edition, with art by John Kovalic! Details are on this Kickstarter campaign. Come play with your brain!

Here's some nice famous people playing the game.

As always, thanks for supporting The Maze of Games!

Mike 

Big news on the Maze of Games ebook and audiobook

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We have news that we're very happy to share with you. It comes in two parts.

The audiobook is available to everyone

As of today, The Maze of Games audiobook is now available on Penny Arcade. Seriously, you can get it for yourself right now. It's got amazing narration by Wil Wheaton, plus music from Austin Wintory, Paul & Storm, Marian Call, and Kirby Krackle. It's hours of entertainment that goes really well with your hardback, also available on Penny Arcade.

If you didn't see the Kickstarter campaign for the audiobook, it's over here. Lots of details and some delightful sounds from Wil and company. Check it out. Meanwhile, in other big news...

The ebook is done

Puzzazz has finished the ebook, and it's freakin' sweet. Everything works the way that Gaby and I intended for the puzzles to work. Pete's art looks great in the app. All the puzzles are either just as good as they are in the hardback, or even better in a more interactive form. Roy Leban and his talented team did an amazing job.

The book has been submitted to Apple… and now we wait. It could be a couple of days, or a couple of weeks. We just can't know. But what we do know is that once Apple approves, we will be ready to get backers their copies. The book will be imbedded inside the Puzzazz app; you'll need to download the upcoming update of the Puzzazz app to your iPad or iPhone to play with it. (Note that this is just for iDevices now. We don't have a timetable on Android yet.)

So here's what we think will happen. When we get approval, we'll open up the app to backers. We'll send you a Mailchimp invite that will explain how you get the ebook. You'll have a little while to download it in advance before we make it available to everyone else.

We're pretty darn happy about this. I know a lot of you have been waiting for this for a while (us too!), but the extra time made it extra awesome. We're thrilled that we're almost ready to fulfill it. More info when we have it.

Thanks as always for supporting The Maze of Games!

Mike and the Sharks

Austin Wintory's score is now available!

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Austin Wintory's orchestral score for The Maze of Games is now available at Austin's Bandcamp site. If you're a backer who sponsored the score, you should have received a message from Bandcamp providing your download codes. If you didn't back the score, we certainly recommend you check it out, and then maybe download a copy if you're inclined. The album is, as Austin put it, "19 minutes of weird." My take is that it's 19 minutes of incredibly challenging, awesome music inspired by the chapters in the book. And, y'know, I might've had my hand in the creation of it too, in that I wrote the lyrics for the score -- and maybe a little bit more. That's all I'll say about that.

Here's a short piece from the album featuring violinist Serena McKinney.

So if you're looking for something to listen to that will bend your brain and satisfy your auditory needs, we'd love it if you'd check out what Austin and his amazing friends created. I think you'll like the results.

Maze at Gen Con and PAX Prime

Your Maze team of Mike, Liz, Gaby, Tanis, Elisa, and audiobook star Wil Wheaton are at Gen Con right now, with the book featured at the Paizo booth (#203). If you're here, come by and say hi to Mike and the crew. We've really enjoyed all the positive comments we've gotten about the book here.

Over Labor Day weekend, we'll be at PAX Prime, in the Uncle's Games booth. You can meet most of the team there.

If you missed out on our audiobook campaign, fret not! We'll have a site up that you can order it not too long after backers get their copies.

Thanks as always for supporting The Maze of Games!

Mike and the Sharks

48 hours to go: Might I interest you in an audio treasure trove?

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We've had great response for The Maze of Games audiobook collection, which has grown to include even more great audio material. We're very excited with the results so far, but just in case you don't think we've given you enough reasons to part with 25 more of your highly valued dollars, let me enumerate how cool this package is:

  • You get 60 files of Wil Wheaton's stellar narration of the book. It's really as funny, touching, and enjoyable as anything I've listened to. Plus you'll get a "solved" version that you can listen to in the most sensible order, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • You get songs from the book sung by Paul & Storm, Marian Call, and Kirby Krackle. 
  • You get chapter themes from composer Austin Wintory.
  • You get new covers from artist Pete Venters and designer Elisa Teague.
  • You get turn-of-the-last-century Audiophonic Conundrucopia puzzles from musical puzzlemakers Gaby Weidling, Dan Katz, Francis Heaney, and Brendan Emmett Quigley, and me, plus beatboxer/vocal artist Kid Beyond. Plus, if we fund at a few higher stretch goals, you'll also get puzzles from composer Greg Pliska, lyricist Amanda Yesnowitz, documentary filmmaker Eric Chaikin, and alt-folk legend John Wesley Harding. That's an amazing set of audio-inclined puzzlemakers, and we think you'll love the results. (The Audiophonic Conundrucopia will ship several months after the audiobook.)
  • Even if you haven't backed the audiobook, you can still solve all of these audio campaign puzzles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Puzzle 7, the metapuzzle, is on the way.

If you already have a hardback or ebook coming, or just a copy of the PDF, you can solve along and get a full audiovisual solving experience. Here's a taste of Wil's version of The Maze of Games, narrating the section about the Orc Scouts.

We really like this package we're putting together, and we hope you'll take advantage of the opportunity to get it in these last 48 hours. Thanks for listening.

Shipping, PDFs, and soundtracks

We've shipped all but 16 physical orders, and those should be out by Wednesday. We'll make sure all orders that have shipped are marked as such in the next few days. This will only leave us those orders that are ebook only. We hope to have those out by the end of August, though we're still awaiting a final date from our dear friends at Puzzazz.

We got most of the PDFs out, when Gumroad's uploading capability unceremoniously broke down. We're in communication with Gumroad, and they hope to figure it out shortly. If it doesn't happen in the next day or two, we will find another way to get the PDF to the couple hundred backers of hardbacks and ebooks who didn't get it.

Meantime, Austin Wintory's soundtrack is nearly completed. The orchestral tracks and vocals have been recorded, and now all that remains is the mixing and file prep. And… some other stuff, but we don't want to give any spoilers. Here's a Vine of singer Holly Sedillos just killing it in Austin's studio.

The soundtrack is amazing. I call it "avant-classical," because it's got fascinating time signatures and harmonic elements, yet is still pretty darn catchy. It's going to be great, and it's not far away.

Gen Con and PAX Prime

Our next two stops in the Maze of Games tour are Gen Con and PAX Prime. We will have books and signings at both conventions. Our Gen Con signings will be at the Paizo booth (publishers of our Pathfinder Adventure Card Game) in the weekend of August 14-17, while our PAX signings will be at the Uncle's Games booth from August 29-September 1. We hope to see you there.

And as a reminder, the hardback book is available on Penny Arcade's store. Jerry "Tycho" Holkins wrote a nice (if profane) thing about it today. Plus we got some excellent buzz from the Seattle-area newspaper The Bellevue Reporter (check out that headline!). All in all, we're very happy at the reception our homegrown puzzle project has garnered. Thanks, as always, for supporting The Maze of Games.

Mike and the Sharks

shipping update and a new Conundrucopia

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First, before I get into some more Maze of Games updates, a few time-sensitive announcements:

  • I'll be doing a Reddit Ask Me Anything on Wednesday at 1:30 PM PST. If you have any questions about The Maze of Games or any of our other projects, please ask them!
  • I'll also be doing a lecture on The Maze of Games at ARGFest in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday at 4:45 PM PST. If you're interested in coming to Maze meetup #5 in the Courtyard by Marriott Portland City Center bar right after that lecture, please do. 

OK, onto the news of the week.

An audio Conundrucopia

With the 16-day Maze of Games audiobook campaign having reached its goal and now at the halfway point, we launched a fun new suite of audio puzzles in the same vein as the Conundrucopia. The Audiophonic Conundrucopia will be a set of 1897-themed puzzles, but all delivered digitally, just like the campaign puzzles we're releasing now. (They're really good, by the way. Go check them out.)

We'd like to fund this Audiophonic Conundrucopia stretch goal, so if you're interested in a bunch of great audio puzzles by the best musical and spoken-word puzzlemakers such as Kid Beyond and Francis Heaney, this might be for you. And of course, you can pledge simply because you want Wil Wheaton's amazing narration, or the cool music from Austin Wintory, Marian Call, Paul & Storm, and Kirby Krackle. An audiobook is only $25, so I hope you'll give it a whirl.

We also opened up 13 Gatekeeper troves which contain some of our only remaining Gatekeeper's editions. If you've been hoping to get one of those, take a look at the campaign.

We'd love to bring this great audiobook to as many of our original backers as possible, so if you're interested, please go here and see if it's to your liking!

Where we are with shipping

We have nearly all of our physical rewards sent out, except for art prints. San Diego Comic Con interrupted Penny Arcade's shipping last week, so we've still got a little more than 100 physical orders to ship out. Most of these are in the Seattle area, surprisingly enough. When we pulled the orders for our local meetups, some Seattle folks accidentally moved to the back of the list. We're sorry about this mixup, and hope to have all physical shipping done within the week.

We sent a PDF invitation out last week via the service Gumroad, but several backers say they didn't receive it. If you think you should have gotten one but didn't, please check your spam filters. If it's still not there, send a note to info at our-company-name-as-one-word dot com.

The ebook and soundtrack are still under construction. We've seen an ebook build from Puzzazz that was about 75% done by our estimation, and it's getting closer every day. When we hear from Puzzazz when it will be ready, you will know immediately. Similarly, the soundtrack is getting finalized, and we'll get it out when it's in our hands.

So, we're getting there, but not quite done. If you haven't gotten your stuff yet, thanks as always for your patience. I think you will like what you get.

If you have gotten your stuff, I really hope you're enjoying it. It's so cool to see the book in people's hands, and on their Facebook walls and Twitter feeds, and even in this delightful wiki. You guys are the best. Thanks as always for supporting The Maze of Games!

Mike and the Sharks