Last year, we ran a Kickstarter campaign for The Maze of Games, author Mike Selinker and artist Pete Venters' interactive puzzle novel. The 192-page book features an engaging story, perplexing puzzles, and a unique "Solve Your Own Adventure" format. Now Lone Shark Games and Skyboat Media bring you a new way to experience The Maze of Games: as an audiobook.
Actor Wil Wheaton, famous for his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation, TableTop, The Wil Wheaton Project, and audiobooks such as Ready Player One, will contribute his rich vocal stylings to The Maze of Games. Bringing to life over 50 characters in a chorus of voices, Wil is creating an enthralling universe where the skeletal guardian known as the Gatekeeper plunges two British schoolchildren into a dangerous labyrinth. You'll cascade through the mazes with Wil as your guide.
You will also hear the music of celebrated composer Austin Wintory on the audiobook. And every copy of the audiobook comes with a Songs in the Key of Maze mini-album, featuring Marian Call, Kirby Krackle, and Paul and Storm singing as some of the characters in the book.
Plus, some months after the audiobook comes out, a host of puzzlemakers and musicians will create a suite of audio puzzles called The Audiophonic Conundrucopia. And if we're particularly fortunate, we'll film a stage show called Behind the Maze as well. See the Stretch Goals section for details.
Experiencing the audiobook
The Maze of Games audiobook will not be a passive experience. The audiobook will be a series of more than 50 digital files playable on iTunes or any other media player. Here's Wil narrating one now.
Each will be labeled by page number as it appears in the hardback book, and you can play them in the order you receive them. We'll also provide a single "solved" file in the correct order, just in case you don't want to navigate through the files yourself. If you'd just like to listen to Wil tell the story in the order it's meant to follow, that's a great way to experience it.
However, if you'd like to solve The Maze of Games, then you'll navigate through the files in the order you encounter them in the mazes. For this to work, we highly recommend you get a copy of the hardback book, ebook, or both. The audiobook won't have the puzzles in it, so to get this rich experience, make sure you get what you need to solve along.
Our previous Kickstarter campaign made available the hardback edition of The Maze of Games, now being fulfilled to backers across the world. This 192-page book features the full novel text, dozens of puzzles by Mike, and dozens of illustrations by Pete Venters. It also contains a bonus section called the Conundrucopia, with 1897-style puzzles from legendary puzzle makers such as Will Shortz, Ken Jennings, Scott Kim, and many others. Here's a Watch It Played video for the book.
The ebook is an ebook version of the novel solvable on iPhones and iPads through the stunning (and free) Puzzazz app. You can read along, jump from section to section, and use the unique TouchWrite technology to enter the answers at the touch of a finger.
We've made available a dozen copies of the extremely limited Gatekeeper's edition, which comes with a maze map, a set of 12 code pencils, and all our digital rewards (audiobook, mini-album, ebook, and soundtrack).
You can get any of these books along with your audiobook by selecting one of the combo rewards.
The creative team
Wil Wheaton is an actor (The Big Bang Theory, Stand By Me, Eureka, The Guild), writer (Just A Geek, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, Memories of the Future), host and producer (The Wil Wheaton Project, TableTop), voice actor (Ben 10, Teen Titans), and audiobook narrator (Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, John Scalzi's Redshirts). He blogs at wilwheaton.net and is on Twitter @wilw.
Mike Selinker is the book's author. His puzzles have appeared in Wired, the New York Times, Games magazine, and the Chicago Tribune. As president of Lone Shark Games, he has designed such games as Unspeakable Words, Risk Godstorm, and the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, as well as co-authoring Puzzlecraft: The Ultimate Guide on How to Construct Every Kind of Puzzle. He is joined in the creation of The Maze of Games by artist Pete Venters, developer Gabrielle Weidling, graphic designer Elisa Teague, and editor Tanis O'Connor, as well as a host of world-renowned puzzle designers.
Gabrielle de Cuir and Stefan Rudnicki are Grammy- and Audie Award-winning creators at the audiobook publisher and production company Skyboat Media. Gabrielle has directed stars such as Anne Hathaway, Samuel L. Jackson, LeVar Burton, Deepak Chopra, and Jane Fonda, and the full cast of the 7-hour epic Ender’s Game Alive. Stefan has narrated over 400 audiobooks, and is the Golden Voice for Science Fiction from Audiofile Magazine. Skyboat has produced all of Orson Scott Card, Ben Bova, and Harlan Ellison on audio, and the library for Burton’s Reading Rainbow Kidz app.
Journey and The Banner Saga composer Austin Wintory contributes themes to the audiobook. Austin has scored over 25 feature films, most notably the 2009 Sundance hit Grace, as well as the 2008 Sundance Audience Award winner Captain Abu Raed. His scores for video games are among the most accoladed in the industry, having won Austin two British Academy Awards for his work on Journey. He is also the composer of The Maze of Games's soundtrack album.
Though Wil sings all the songs found in the novel's text, the audiobook comes with a bonus mini-album called Songs in the Key of Maze. On this album, celebrated nerd-rock musicians deliver songs sung by the characters in the book. Marian Call, singing as the book's main character Colleen Quaice, is an acoustic jazz singer from Juneau, Alaska, whose five albums are marvels of lyrical styling. Kirby Krackle, singing as Orpheus, is a nerd rock band from Seattle, whose geek-infused power pop makes them the darlings of the comic convention scene. Paul and Storm, singing as Bill the Bard, are icons of the comedy music scene, and are co-founders of the geek-oriented variety show w00tstock, along with Adam Savage and the aforementioned Wil Wheaton.
Songs in the Key of Maze will come with every audiobook, or can be backed separately.
Stretch goals: Art, puzzles, and a show
Our first stretch goal was new digital cover art for the audiobook and album by Pete. We hit that at $6,500 in pledges.
Our next set of stretch goals were the puzzles for The Audiophonic Conundrucopia, a suite of listenable conundrums from the golden age of wireless. As with our first campaign for this book, the Gatekeeper threw some puzzlemakers into a cage, and only your efforts freed them. We freed these luminaries at various levels:
- Author Mike Selinker and developer Gaby Weidling at $10,000.
- Beatboxer and vocal artist Kid Beyond and poet/puzzlemaker Francis Heaney at $12,000.
- Duck Konundrum creator Dan Katz at $13,000!
- Crossword master and typewriter musician Brendan Emmett Quigley at $14,000!
- Legendary alt-folk singer/songwriter Wesley Stace (a.k.a. John Wesley Harding) at $15,000!
- Composer Greg Pliska and lyricist Amanda Yesnowitz at $16,000!
- Word Wars filmmaker Eric Chaikin at $17,000!
- Puzzling radio host Wil Zambole at $18,500!
- An unnamed (but awesome) Mystery Guest contributor at $20,000!
Our last stretch goal is a doozy: If we reach $25,000, we will do a live show called "Behind the Maze" that we will film! We will have interviews with the Gatekeeper and Samuel and Colleen, and trivia and puzzles galore. We don't know yet where this will be held, but we will definitely make the film available to everyone on the internet. This is the first video production we'll do for The Maze of Games, and we would love to make it.
Note that the Audiophonic Conundrucopia and Behind the Maze will go out some months after the audiobook, as none of that material is written yet.
Would you like some puzzles right now?
We expect you're the kind of person who'd like some puzzles. Like in our previous campaign, we put out puzzles every few days in our Kickstarter updates. All of this campaign's puzzles are of the audio variety with a musical theme, and are linked below. You can enter your answers on the Puzzazz site, and gain some of our fun solving badges along the way. (This will remain live even after the campaign ends.)
Puzzle 1: The Flat-Out Genius Badge involves solving this song called "Don't You Know Who I Am?", written and sung by Conundrucopia puzzlemaker Francis Heaney. The song's lyrics will tell you how to solve it, leaving you with a 6-letter answer (note: not necessarily a 6-letter word).
- Puzzle 2: The Sharpshooter Badge can be found in this update.
- Puzzle 3: The Natural Talent Badge can be found in this update.
- Puzzle 4: The Eighth Wonder Badge can be found in this update.
- Puzzle 5: The Quartermaster Badge can be found in this update.
- Puzzle 6: The Halfwit Badge can be found in this update.
- Puzzle 7: The Whole Enchilada Badge can be found in this update.
The Maze of Games and Solve Your Own Adventure are © 2014 Lone Shark Games, Inc. All rights reserved.
Risks and challenges
The audiobook is partially recorded and mastered, and should be ready to go in late August or early September after the Kickstarter campaign ends. The hardback books are also ready to ship when we finish this campaign. The ebook is not yet finalized with Apple, but we presume that also will be ready to go when we're ready to ship the files to you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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