On December 19th, 2020 this website held a digital treasure hunt. Hidden on the site was a chance to win a $150 Amazon gift card. Below is a chronicle of what happened. I plan on doing more events like this. If you want be informed on future events sign up here.
SylvrFalkon’s Victory Tale
Here is the winners tale on his journey solving the challenge:
Pretty cool challenge. I started a couple hours late (I was the last anon poster you replied to) but went at it for a few hours with little progress until the end and figuring it out closer to 1am. I tried a ton of quick methods to search your site such as Google’s site search to find terms that I thought would be from ReBoot or from Tolkien but that was largely unsuccesful. The only reference I could find was in one of the SS64 site clone for CSS’s text-overflow property, it had a Tolkien reference, but did not seem to result to anything.
Passively, I had noticed the timestamps on most of your folders was dated yesterday, but found one directory under ‘pics’ that had been created just before the start time of the contest. Inside I saw all the files were dated back in 1994, which seemed to match up with the launch time of the ReBoot series. I thought the filenames were strange, quickly realized they were hexadecimal that could be combined but kept trying to convert them to decimal which was not so useful.
That was about 2 hours before I solved that part. I thought I somehow hit a dead-end so I had continued to comb the rest of the site till eventually dawned on me that hexadecimal can also be converted to letters (aka ASCII) so I tried that and found the ‘secret code’ which was essentially some “internet knowledge” that I had to add to the end of the web address.
The non-Internet piece was cool and caught me by surprise, but it certainly made the clue make more sense. I had thought that I was going to have to run to my library shelf and look up page numbers from The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings but fortunately was easier than that. The final puzzle was the easiest as it relied on my Tolkein knowledge, and although I was pretty sure I knew the answer, I still Google’d the riddle to double-check I was correct.
All in all, it was a pretty cool contest, and I look forward to any that you run in the future. The hardest part I found was the initial puzzle (as you had warned), but I know know I need to trust my initial insticts and give some solutions more thoughts before moving on too quickly. Could have saved myself a ton of time.
When I solved it around 1am, I had no idea if I was the only only one to solve it, but still woke up my unimpressed sleeping wife and babbled to her all the steps I had done…
Again, thanks 8BitMiker for the challenge!
Challenge Walkthrough Video
Here is a video walking through the steps on how to win!