Yesterday reviewers and tech-focused Youtubers were tweeting about some very odd packages that were arriving on their doorstep. The black briefcases had no markings about who they were from or what they were for, and the contents inside were the start of an online puzzle game to promote the launch of a new graphics card. As it turns out, the company behind the campaign is NVIDIA, and they’re gearing up not for a launch, but an introduction of the next generation of Geforce cards to hit the consumer market. And, very neatly if I do say so myself, they’ve timed it just three hours ahead of the Battlefield 5 reveal. There are no prizes for guessing who’ll be showing up at that event with some graphics cards.
— JayzTwoCents (@JayzTwoCents) May 3, 2016
The briefcases included a metal triangle, and instructions on what to do with the code and triangle you had just received. It turns out that the triangle itself is fairly pointless, but it’s a neat addition nonetheless. Entering the code you received took you to a URL set up by NVIDIA through an anonymous GoDaddy domain registration: orderof10.com. There, entering a code allowed you to unlock the part of the puzzle that you had received through the key. Six pieces were needed, so six people needed to open up their boxes and enter in their codes before the countdown timer reached zero. Luckily for us, NVIDIA sent more than one person the same code, in order to have the puzzle fully open in less than a day.
It wasn’t long before the final code was entered and the puzzle could be fully solved. Each shard of the hexagon linked to its own set of mini puzzles, most of which were quite easy to solve. The final puzzle would help finish a code sequence that allowed you to read the message encoded in those strange letters on the insides of the hexagon, leading to the final URL with a countdown timer.
The puzzles are science-based and use the works of Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), Enrico Fermi (1901-1954), James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), and Blaise Pascal (1623-1662). In case you didn’t notice, these are all the code names of NVIDIA’s past architectures, with Pascal being the most recent one due to launch very soon. It’s a lot of fun attempting the puzzles yourself, but if you want a quick run-down of how to solve them, you can follow the Gamer’s Nexus guide for assistance.
As for what the shards themselves represent, they are quite clearly meant to be taken as the triangles used to create polygon meshes, but it’s also a nod the final cooler shroud design that has been leaked to the media in recent weeks. It’s composed of triangles and looks edgy, even mean. NVIDIA is clearly going all-out to catch the public’s attention with this launch, but AMD has been oddly silent in recent weeks about Polaris. I hope they’re bringing their A-game to the table soon, because NVIDIA’s little ARG stunt definitely got me interested.