One physical space, four big buttons and codes to be cracked! Codex Bash uses custom-made wireless buttons designed to fit into any environment.
Players must use the on-screen clues to uncover a sequence of button presses, and run around to bash the buttons in the right order. You may have to flip through maps, pick apart circuit diagrams or rifle through a book of spy photos, but one thing’s for certain: the best codebreakers work as a team!
The following photographs are copring Wellcome Collection 2015
The Story of Codex Bash
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!