Welcome.

When Mario and Princess Peach finally decided to get married, they were sure that their longtime nemesis Bowser, King of the Koopas, would never find out about it. But they were wrong: Bowser kidnapped Peach right out of the wedding, and now she has been taken out of the Mushroom Kingdom entirely! Mario has to rescue his beloved Peach, but he needs your help.

Peach has managed to leave a message behind with an important message for Mario about what she's learned: in order to break into where she's being held and rescue her, he'll need to collect several "star fragments". As the Metaphysical Fungus Event Planners, specializing in royal weddings and interspecies hostage negotiation, we were perfectly suited to handle this unforeseen development. Our network of spies has discovered that there will be one of these star fragments in each of the worlds Mario will be traveling through: one right here in Mario World, one in Mega Man World, and so on.

These worlds are all scattered with puzzles! Unfortunately, Mario is a lot better at punching bricks than he is at solving puzzles. That's where you come in: when Mario finds puzzles, he'll send them back to you to solve. You should be able to use the metapuzzle answers in each world to help you find the location of the star fragment; if Peach finds any further information to help you do this, she'll try to get a message to you through Mario.

Can you help Mario solve enough puzzles to rescue Peach from these nefarious evildoers? Who knows what villainy they have in mind!

How to Play

Mystery Hunt consists of numerous puzzles. Each puzzle has a word or short phrase as an answer. Answers to individual puzzles are combined into metapuzzles, which have their own answers.

Answer confirmation will work a little differently than in the past: If you think you've solved a puzzle, click on "Call in answer" at the top of the relevant page (or "Call in meta answer", or "Call in star fragment", or what have you). So that you do not have to spell your answer over the phone, you'll be prompted for your attempted answer on the website, and for a phone number. We'll call you to verify your answer.

When you confirm an answer, you'll also be asked whether you backsolved the puzzle (i.e., figured out the answer on the basis of the associated metapuzzle rather than by solving the puzzle itself). This information is entirely for our own statistical curiosity and will not affect your standing in the hunt at all. We hope you agree that this will be interesting data, so please do report your backsolves when you make them.

Some puzzles may require you to interact with Metaphysical Fungus, or visit Metaphysical Fungus Event Planners HQ. Please do not visit HQ without first contacting us to make an appointment. If you need to talk to us about a puzzle, or the hunt for any reason, contact information may be found on the Contact HQ page.

If a puzzle requires you to interact with a Metaphysical Fungus staff member, who tells you the answer to the puzzle during the course of the interaction, you will still need to use the "Call in answer" link to register it officially.

Points and Getting More Puzzles

Each puzzle you solve gets you points. As he explores, Mario will also acquire points. As you and Mario get more points, this will get you access to more puzzles. You can find the number of points you need to unlock the next set of puzzles in the website header.

The exact point mechanism is as follows: If you currently have p points, solving an ordinary puzzle earns you 0.17p+17 points (that is, you will increase your point total by 17%, then get 17 more points). Solving a metapuzzle earns you points equivalent to solving 3 puzzles. Independently of your solving, Mario will get you points every 17 minutes. On the nth release, he will get you e0.14n points.

Events, Coins, and Extra Lives

There will be 5 events over the course of the weekend. Events are completely optional, but teams that participate in events will be awarded coins; at competitive events, the better you do, the more coins you get. Coins don't help you access more puzzles (and they're certainly not to be confused with The Coin), but getting 100 gives you an extra life! Each extra life can be exchanged for a free answer to one puzzle. Beware, though: you won't get points for solving a puzzle if you use an extra life.

Due to the unforeseen events of the wedding, Metaphysical Fungus Event Planners cannot yet provide details of what all of these events will be, but we do know when they will be. Consult the Events Page for the schedule. Further information will be posted as it becomes available.

Achievements

There are also a number of Achievements available for various feats a team might accomplish during hunt. These achievements are purely for amusement value, and will not gain you anything other than bragging rights. Some achievements are hidden, and will only be shown after they have been unlocked. Others will not be awarded until the hunt ends.

Game Rules

Mario is very strict about the people he'll let help him rescue his true love. He believes in playing fair, so respect your teammates and the other participating teams. Try to avoid anything that would harm another team's enjoyment of the hunt. In the spirit of fairness, please keep any information you discover within your team, and don't merge with another team without asking us first.

Mario sometimes likes to destroy things that are in his way, but only if they're put there by his enemies. Other than that, he believes in following the rules. While Bowser is devious, our team of experts has worked hard to ensure the safety and legality of the puzzles Mario finds. If you think a puzzle may require you to break any laws or MIT rules, or do anything hazardous, call us first.

Having our headquarters and computer system operate smoothly helps ensure a fun, fair hunt for everyone. Please use them as intended without trying to gain an unfair advantage (e.g. by hacking the server, listening at doors, etc.). Accessing and solving puzzles will require using MIT's network; in doing so, respect the Athena Rules of Use.

Puzzle References

Above all…

Mystery Hunt is meant to be fun. If you're not having fun, either you or we may be doing something wrong; let us know and we'll see what we can do. Don't forget the restorative powers of eating, drinking, and sleeping. They're almost as good as magic mushrooms!