Codex Bash is a problem-solving installation using four custom-made wireless buttons. Players must solve coded messages to tell them what sequence to press the buttons in, before the virus reaches the mainframe! To find the sequence they have to decipher jumbles of symbols, solve a tangled maze or find clues in maps and circuit diagrams. Played alone, Codex Bash is a challenge of jumping between logical problem-solving and an adrenaline-filled dash between the buttons. Played as a team it's a challenge of communication where everyone must pitch in to decipher the codes. Real-world props need to be used in the puzzles, and encourage the player to think outside of the screen and even recruit people watching to help them!
Codex Bash is part of a series of installation games I?m working on to make use of my custom-made big bashable bluetooth buttons.The hardware was built after I made Dash & Bash, an installation for GameCity Nottingham which got players very excitable. Players ran around a small room with four wall-mounted monitors and wall-mounted buttons bumping into each other. However, the hardware for this was expensive and unwieldy. I decided to create new hardware that was cheap and flexible so I could take it to schools, gyms, festivals and even forests.One big inspiration for the game was ?chessboxing?, a sport where players must alternate between logical thought and high-adrenaline physical thought. I wanted to recreate that feel, by using hardware that required running and puzzles that could be solved entirely in the mind.Originally designed for solo play, in early demos it naturally morphed into a team game. Players would recruit those around them to help them out, and solving the puzzles and pushing the buttons in the right order required good communication and cooperation.Since then teamwork has been a major focus of the project. I want the game to feel like stepping into 90?s gameshow The Crystal Maze. Physical props are used in some of the puzzles to make sure players think about the environment around them, and not just what?s on the screen. This prompts players to think about finding creative solutions, to divide up tasks imaginatively, and to look for help from the audience.My aim for Codex Bash, and the other games I build from this hardware, is to take it to new environments beyond traditional gaming spaces. I plan to put them in spaces where players can climb up trees, clamber over rocks, crawl under tables and run up stairs!
Alistair Aitcheson - developer, designer, artist, hardware creator
IndieCade Festival 2015 - Media Choice Award