I think I mentioned somewhere (apparently not here) that the Burninators' 2011 run of BANG 28 was so good, it pretty much killed the Bay Area Night Game. Originally, this was my way of paying compliment to all the hard work and incredible design the Burninators had put into their BANG, and that it would be hard, if not impossible, to top. It was not intended as a prediction of things to (not) come.
Since then, however, only one BANG has been run: BANG 33. Considering its scope and purpose, it really deserved to be an event in its own right… which is has gone on to do, to much success. If one takes BANG 33 as really Elevate Tutoring Puzzle Hunt 1, it's easy to see that there hasn't been a BANG in two and a half years, Heck, the website hasn't been updated in over a year, and the oldest announcement for an upcoming hunt is over three years old. It certainly feels like the BANG is dead. Is it really?
Of course not. At any given time, some team with the gumption could put together several puzzles, find locations to put them at, announce it, and there's the next BANG. The problem is one of demand. The Bay Area now has several regular events that puzzle hunters can participate in:
- The Different Area Same Hunt (DASH) has become an annual opening to the spring season of hunts. BTW, DASH 6 is coming up in a hundred days or so!
- Shinteki Decathlon can always be counted on for a great solving time.
- Bob Schaffer's Elevate Tutoring Puzzle Hunt has run several times in the past couple years and is still available online.
- Palantir has been running their hunt annually for the past three years.
- SCRAP has almost at any given moment their puzzle-huntish escape game to play, including the ever-popular, but least-solved Escape from the Mysterious Room, and its sequel, Escape from the Time Travel Lab.
- The Berkley Mystery Hunt is in its fourth year and going strong.
- Full-length Games have been popular recently, with five having been run in the past couple years (if you count the Bay Area Recast), including one that by all accounts was the greatest Game ever run (much to the disappointment of those of us unable to make it). I'm not sure that any are coming soon, but five in two years? Awesome!
This is not to mention the various online hunts (Order of the Octothorpean – a hunt that teaches how to play in puzzle hunts – or Ghost Patrol Reconstructed, or a rumored Puzzle Boat 2, etc.) or live hunts that can be played remotely (e.g. MIT Mystery Hunt, CiSRA, SUMS, etc.). There's so much going on that my friend and regular teammate Jonathan, puzzle hunt addict, has said that he is almost saturated. Seeing as his level for saturation is pretty high, maybe the highest, that's saying something.
So the BANG may not be dead and I look forward to playing new ones in the future, but right now it looks like the four reserved BANGs are going to stay in reserve.