ByCassie Benter, writer at
Breaker of Games, Mother of Bug Finding. Co-creator of AdventureJam. Twitter: @FenderBenter
Cassie Benter

There are a handful of games that give me anxiety, but the one that takes the cake is the infamous challenge room in The Witness. If you've played it, you'll understand. And if you haven't, allow me to explain why...

  • 1. You have approximately 6 minutes and 30 seconds to solve 14 puzzles
  • 2. Although there are 14 you need to solve, 18 appear — 4 of which are unsolvable decoys, which are not always immediately obvious.
  • 3. The puzzles are randomly generated each time you start over.
  • 4. You have to remember the solution to one of the puzzles, as it serves as your map through the maze.
  • 5. Once the second song begins, trust me, panic will set in and stupid choices will ensue.
It makes my head hurt too, Teddy. (Shutter Island)
It makes my head hurt too, Teddy. (Shutter Island)

When the game was released, the challenge room was the puzzle that everyone was talking and ranting about. As frustrating as it may be, it provided a serious sense of accomplishment after completing it. I was so happy after the countless hours I poured into it that I honestly felt like crying.

So how does the lead designer, Jonathan Blow, hold up? Check it out:

If the video does not start at the correct time, jump ahead to 1:00:40.

Although Blow solved the entire puzzle significantly faster than I did, I don't feel quite so bad knowing that even the lead designer got hung up several times on the triangle puzzles inside the maze.

Words you'll find yourself saying more often than not.
Words you'll find yourself saying more often than not.

If you have the time, definitely watch the full video! Though do be warned that there are spoilers and solutions to puzzles shown inside, so if you haven't completed The Witness yet and want a completely spoiler-free experience, proceed with caution!

Many thanks to Giant Bomb for hosting the wonderful playthrough and discussion — it's always interesting to hear new information about our favorite games!

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Have you completed the challenge room?


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