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Isis Adventure is a series of puzzle games presented by Sonic Games, a Shropshire-based business. The game involves opening physical puzzle boxes made of precision-engineered anodized aluminum to reveal unique codes that can be redeemed for prizes or to reveal further clues. The game began in September 2006. The game manufacturer's website contains a list of names it claims to be prize winners.
There are several web sites that Isis Adventure players use to exchange clues. Because of the nature of the clues, it is extremely unlikely that a player could solve puzzles without corresponding with Sonic Games or other players.Contents
Isis 1 was released 7 July 2006, and was claimed to be the world's hardest puzzle. The Adventure started 25 September 2006. The Isis I has featured on both TV (on The Jonathan Ross Show on the 29 September 2006 and Dragons Den on the 21 March 2007) and in print media (such as the Chester Chronicle)
With a price of £109 per Isis, the puzzle could be regarded as extremely expensive; however Sonic Games has awarded Isis puzzles at geocaching-type events. Early puzzles were regarded as easy compared to the later ones created.
There is a large user forum in which players can discuss clues, ideas and solutions. The Managing Director of Sonic Games (Andrew Reeves) also frequents the site under the name 'Puzz'.Objectives
The aim of the Isis 1 is to open a puzzle ball to retrieve a key placed inside. This key (not included in every ISIS, some require it to be shipped to you) in turn opens the hidden pyramids, where a player can claim either a gold coin, normally worth £500, or a silver coin exchangeable for a £20 gift voucher. Players must also solve a riddle to get the correct password before being able to collect a prize. In December 2006 the gold coin was worth £1000 up to 5 January 2007 where it was reduced to £500 (Sonic Games called this the '12 Days of Christmas' competition').The Isis 1A, aka "The Puzz Challenge" The Clue Book
A book was provided with the Isis 1 puzzle. Within this book there were 10 encrypted hints, that would help solve the puzzle ball. All the encrypted hints were a simple substitution cipher.Criticism
Reviewers including Ron Garrett (reprinted by Mark Frauenfelder in Boing Boing) have criticized not just the puzzle, but the entire business model around the puzzle. Critics have raised concerns over the constant attempts by the company to try to encourage customers to spend more money.
Privacy concerns have been raised over the fact that simply opening the packing causes customers to agree to Terms of Service: only after breaking the seal on the package is it revealed that the customer is strongly encouraged to register and disclose personal information to receive the manual and more clues. Opening the package also forfeits the customer's right to a refund.
Frauenfelder notes that he normally will refrain from publishing negative reviews but has made an exception for this product stating "what I did mind was finding out that the manufacturers try to get you to cough up more money in a cult-leader like fashion." Frauenfelder goes on to say "My general rule about reviews for Boing Boing (and Cool Tools) is to only review stuff I like and ignore everything else. But in this case I'm making an exception, because I want people who are interested in buying this puzzle to know what they are getting themselves into."
Other critics have gone as far as speculating that the puzzle is just a complicated scheme to datamine the personal information of people with enough disposable income to purchase this type of expensive puzzle.
In defence to the criticism, the puzzles are made to a high standard, and are widely regarded by many as valuable and unique pieces of art. The business model is based on purchase of the collection of the planned five puzzles and many puzzle enthusiasts are encouraging the company to create the fifth puzzle, which has been promised by the inventor and it will be produced as promised. The purpose of the seal is to ensure that the valuable puzzles are not damaged or part solved and then returned to store for another customer to potentially buy a used product that potentially will not then work as described or could be damaged. Many valuable products follow similar process including Apple electronic products and digital media that could get damaged. The company has no issues refunding unopened products with seals intact. Demo versions have been supplied by the company in store for customers to play with prior to purchase of the sealed products.Related Sonic Game Puzzles Isis 1A
On 31 May 2007, there were 12 limited edition Isis 1As released. Each was issued with a unique certificate of authenticity. The Isis 1A is a lot more difficult to open, and there is one prize for the first person who solves the accompanying riddle. This riddle was solved by "lodgecrest" in 2008.
Recently, it has come to light that a 13th Isis 1A exists, although it does not come with a certificate of authenticity. This 13th Isis 1A was made available to purchase at a secret pyramid location, for a larger sum of money. All 13 Isis 1As have now been opened by their respective owners, according to the official Sonic Games Isis Adventure forum. Although the pictured Isis 1A is green and black, this is not representative of the entire 13, as they all differed in colour, from pink, to silver, to green to black to blue, which made them all unique. Pictured right - Isis 1A (10 of 12).Ramisis
The second Isis Adventure, called the Ramisis, was released in 2008. Before its launch Puzz mentioned on the ISIS Forum: "It will be shaped like a pyramid and the key will be visible". At the Tutankhamen Exhibition for a few days, there was a prototype of the Isis II in a display case.Platinum Pyramid
On 4 April 2009, Sonic Games launched the Platinum Pyramid challenge. Owners of both Isis 1 and Ramisis puzzles who have not already won prizes can compete for £10000 in prizes. Winners of earlier prizes can compete by buying and registering new puzzles.Copernisis
In 2010 Sonic Games released the third Isis Adventure puzzle, the Copernisis. This puzzle incorporates rotating rings designed to resemble the heliocentric solar system illustrated in On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres by astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.Tessarisis
In 2013 Sonic Games released the fourth Isis Adventure puzzle, the Tessarisis. The puzzle is a cube with several dials on it.See also