In cooperation with Toxic Games, TPG is offering four (4) Steam codes for their first-person puzzle game, Q.U.B.E.  To enter, use the comment section to tell us about a time where solving the puzzle solving process made you look particularly foolish.  Spent hours trying to figure out a puzzle only to find it was less complicated than you originally thought?  We want to hear about it.

The winners will be picked by members of TPG and Toxic Games based on their favorite responses and sent Steam keys via e-mail shortly after the contest is over.

The Rules:

  • No Profanity
  • One entry, per person, per e-mail address, per IP
  • 48 Hours Only
  • Post your first name and last initial
  • Post your most embarrassing puzzle solving moment
  • Try to keep entries to a few paragraphs

This contest is now over.  We will go over the entries and announce our winners later this evening.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  The winners are: Ray, Russell, Andżelika and Gregory Horvath.

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  • Josh M.

    I was in fifth grade and was called to the head of the class to compete with another kid at solving a math problem. I was in an advanced class, but I had to show up for attendance in the normal class; I sat at the back of the room doing high school algebra and geometry and was rarely ever called on. I don’t remember the wording, but the math problem ended up being 15*15. I wrote it on the board next to the kid, and then my mind went blank. I felt the pressure from everyone staring at me and expecting me to beat this kid. I remember him not speaking very fluently, so perhaps he wasn’t the smartest in the class anyway. I panicked from the pressure and ended up not writing any answer down, and he beat me.

    I can remember smirking silently and shaking his hand. Due to my actions, everyone thought I had let him win whatever the prize was, and I hope that motivated him enough to do better. On the inside, I was completely embarrassed. I’ve never been so embarrassed in front of a group since. :(

  • http://twitter.com/AlphaProspector AlphaProspector (@AlphaProspector)

    This is going to be terrible, hahahaha! Well, Silent Hill 1 had some very obscure puzzles. Silent Hill 2 (PC port ftw, that’s what I bought) at least let you regulate the difficult… I remember my brother and I got so scared with this game, progressed pretty well through the first puzzle (Keys for the Eclipse) and then we reached the school. By then we were already ultra-scared (I was 14 back then) and, bam, we got stuck at the piano puzzle. “A Tale of Birds Without Voice.” The poem told you which keys you had to press in order to clear the puzzle, but the poem was nothing short of cryptic for our young uncultured minds! There was no massive Internet back then so I arranged my friends at school, all trying to figure out which keys we had to press. We even asked our english teacher (note: our mother language is spanish) but even then we couldn’t figure it out. A week later someone bought me a magazine with a walkthrough and I looked at the puzzle, only to embarrass myself big time: I was doing it all wrong. The title of the poem said “birds without voice” (the hint for the puzzle), but I was furiously yanking the keys that did produce notes thinking the other ones were useless!!!

    Oh, boy, that was so bad. Got it all so wrong, felt so stupid… I still remember that I didn’t mention the game again, at least not in front my friends who would always remind me of this silly mistake by remarking something about pianos.

    I guess an experience like this is no longer possible nowadays with Internet around to solve us everything. But that puzzle drove me so crazy! Also, I think it was the first time some people took a game puzzle seriously, heh. 1999, good times!

  • http://twitter.com/SteveMac555 Steve (@SteveMac555)

    The worst puzzle moment ever was probably trying to challenge someone at a sudoku puzzle with another 4/5 people watching us in the pub…

    I wrote down about 5 or 6 numbers while looking for the next one, BANG – He had finished it. I am still sure that he cheated somehow, but I ended up buying the drinks.

    Probably not the best story, but that’s the only one I have.

    • http://truepcgaming.com Adam Ames

      Never got into Sudoku, but a few friends love it. For me, I have a really hard time with puzzles, especially ones that revolve around numbers.

  • Gregory Horvath

    My most embarrassing puzzle solving experience was the task in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic where you have to transfer the energy rings from the left to the rightmost pillar in the Tomb of Naga Sadow. I realized at once it was a futuristic implementation of the “Tower of Hanoi” problem, so I thought the solution would be a piece of cake and I didn’t really pay attention. My approach resulted in total chaos as I entirely messed up the order and positions of the rings.
    As plan B I dug up my old notes I took on an ‘Optimized programming algorithms’ class as an engineering student. With the high-complexity pencil&paper method I figured out the proper solution. It took only 4 more steps to complete the puzzle…
    With just a minimal mental effort (=thinking) I could have spared about 15 minutes of searching for the notes and 5 minutes of writing. I felt really stupid and kind of humiliated.

    Regards,
    Greg

    • http://truepcgaming.com Adam Ames

      I had forgotten about that one. I think I tried to solve it over the course of a day or two and ended up online reading a walkthrogh. Both embarrassing and shameful as I do consider myself a gamer.

  • Carpsteer

    I remember first playing Portal, and not knowing how to get past one of the stages. My father walked into the room, asked me what I’m doing/playing. I told him I was struggling on a level of Portal, and told him what Portal is. He took the mouse and keyboard, and completed the stage within a minute. I was so embarrassed, I heard about it from him for the rest of the week..

    Being outsmarted by others is never fun, especially from your own father. Now, everytime he sees me playing video games, he’d bring that up, just to tease me about it. Fun!

    • http://truepcgaming.com Adam Ames

      Substitute “father” with “wife” and I have very similar story.

  • Xertage

    I was at my relative’s house one day a few years back, and was playing with my one of my cousins, who was 6 years younger than me. His hobby was doing puzzles, as he had more than 50 puzzles at his house. He was just about to start a new 100 piece puzzle, when he exclaimed and challenged me to have a battle to see who can finish the puzzle faster. He handed me a 50 piece puzzle while he worked on the 100 piece puzzle. Meanwhile, all the parents and relatives were gathering around watching. I ended up losing to him, when he finished his 100 piece puzzle, and I was maybe 30 pieces into my 50 piece puzzle. The parents thought I was just letting him win to go easy on him since he was nearly half my age. The truth is, I wasn’t. I was so embarrassed.. My goodness!

    • http://truepcgaming.com Adam Ames

      I just do not have the patience to complete those puzzles. I end up getting too frustrated and quitting in the middle of doing them.

  • Anonymous

    Mark A

    Playing Portal with my younger brother. The one where you have to jump and shoot a lot of times in a row to make it in a room way up high. I tried 3 times and he did it in 1.

  • Przemyslaw K

    About 10 years ago I have rediscovered adventure games with some freaky puzzles, and among them was the beautiful one: “Longest Journey”. So I was playing it, had some talking, some not-so-hard-yet puzzles solved, and then, I found myself stucked in chapter three. I was pretty convinced that I have to do something with the vending machine on the police station, but the only item in my inventory, was caschcard. Yep, the fully loaded cashcard. I’ve spent about two hours in void search of coins everywhere. And then I was enlightened. ATM! I must find ATM, withdraw some money and then simply put a coin in vending machine to get soda. So once again, for another hour I was visiting all very good known to me locations in search of ATM. Found nothing of course. Then in despair, I went to the police station, took my cachcard, and mumbling “eat this!” I’ve used it in vending machine… And got brand new soda instantly.

  • Alex V

    I spent 1 week in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within just to get past the beginning of the game. I foolishly turned off the tutorial when i started the game so i didn’t know what to do. There was a part where you had to walk along a ledge but at one point you had to drop down and continue using your hands – spent a few hours on this part alone >.>
    I’m so glad i was playing alone back then xD

    • http://truepcgaming.com Adam Ames

      Thanks for sharing. I never got into Prince of Persia although it does look fun. Embarrassment alone is a lot easier to deal with than making a fool of yourself in front of others.

  • Anonymous

    About a year ago, friends started talking about Tetris everywhere. And it eventually came to me that i should probably start playing this game just because it caught my eye. I ended up spending countless hours into the game. I ended up having the best sprint times out of all my friends. And one day, my friend invited me to his birthday party and i agreed to it. There were quite a lot of people there and out of the blue, he asked me if i wanted to play him in tetris, I obviously knew he was worst than me in tetris, but i still accepted the challenge cause i liked beating people and showing off. I ended up losing due to the fact that the keyboard was terrible and that i was just too into thinking of winning all the time, i forgot the fact that i was not at home using my own settings. Ended up being called a fraud, saying that someone else got the highscore for me.

    • Anonymous

      Name: Moecchi B.

    • http://truepcgaming.com Adam Ames

      Tetris was the only puzzle game I was any good playing. Too bad people looked down on you like that.

  • Russell S

    I can’t think of any personally embarrassing puzzle solving moments. I think everyone has a brain-freeze at some point and it’s always good to walk away and come back to something if you can’t see an obvious solution (after screaming at the monitor in a hailstorm of profanities for 10 minutes, obviously…).

    We have a colleague at work who (allegedly) has an IQ of 180, and is a full member of MENSA. He’s quite happy to remind us all of this too, on a frequent basis. Another colleague found a nice freeby game called Sokomind which he brought in and we all had a look at. It’s a ‘push the block around a maze to get it to the target location’ kind of thing, and you have to have a space next to the block to be able to push from. After looking at level 1 for a few minutes to work out what to do, our MENSA colleague stated with total authority that “It’s impossible, can’t be done !”.

    Of course, designing a game with 20+ levels when the first one is impossible is what you might call a bit of an oversight on the part of the game designer. Needless to say, the first level was duly finished in less than 5 minutes by the rest of us and the “cheetah” (intelligent in short bursts) was made to look a bit of a pillock.

    • http://truepcgaming.com Adam Ames

      It really is great when you can put people in their places. Especially to those who constantly brag about their achievements.

    • Russell S

      That’s the exact game, I recognise the game icon – a very zen brainteaser. I do love blowing stuff up with big guns, but sometimes it’s just nice to do the gaming equivalent of a crossword puzzle.

      Many thanks for the game prize. I wasn’t expecting it, just thought I’d share an anecdote of one of many incidents with our resident ‘genius’. He’s kinda like Sheldon from TBBT, just not funny…

      Cheers, R

  • Tural Y.

    A while ago I was playing a game called Myth. In the game was a mission where you should guard the bridge for 30 minutes or something like that, and then fall back because of enormous undead army. But my english was pretty weak then, and after like three weeks of tries i killed the whole army :( When i told my pals about that mission and my “success”, they laughed at me hard.

    • SK

      Haha, it’s Sequence, isn’t it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000754303343 Andżelika Bzdręcisław

    Andzelika B
    I’ve got a story about embarrassment caused by actually good solving a puzzle :-)
    When I was in primary school I had 8-bit computer ZX Spectrum. There were many games on it, but also some educational software. Among those there was some geometry puzzle game, with riddles like “how many squares do you see” and “how would you cut this shape to get three triangles”. I didn’t even know back then, what the “triangle” is, so it was quite challenging, and I must say really fun. And I’ve also learned names of shapes, and some math stuff before it was taught in school. Then one day, after I’ve solved difficult exercise, the teacher asked me in front of all class, how it is, that I know such things so well, the very same day she is telling us about it for the first time. I’ve replied that it’s because I am playing computer games. She laughed at me, and she was mocking me even a few weeks after that, it was really embarrassing for a young girl like me.
    Now, about twenty years after that I am sure that the teacher should be the embarrassed one :-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000754303343 Andżelika Bzdręcisław

      Happy to be chosen, my childhood suffering finally pays off ;-) .

  • Jonathan M.

    I love puzzle games. The last puzzle I did was actually related to a giveaway. You had to solve a puzzle to get into the giveaway. I think I spent 2-3 hours trying to solve it. There was a couple paragraphs of text, and I kept thinking it was hidden in the text with missing letters, etc. However, it turned out to just be a simple URL which was linking to the puzzle. I felt stupid and I didn’t win either. :) Thanks for another great giveaway!

  • Dominic F.

    Ahh, I thought I already posted. Hopefully I’m not too late but here is a summary:
    I was playing Myst Online: Uru Live, and found a stranger to help me with a two person puzzle because I couldn’t get any of my of my friends to play. We spent about 15 minutes trying to get into the same age together, which was my fault, because I didn’t have a clue how to do it.

    Next up was the REAL puzzle in Ahnonay, which involves a lot of mechanisms and planning and rotating things. We spent some time preparing the puzzle, after he told me what to do. Somewhere between getting there and getting into the place you need to finish the puzzle I messed up. We were trying the same thing for at least an hour and a half until I realized I missed something early on. I was pretty sure he was annoyed by the fact it I didn’t know how to enter an age together with someone but after I did that, I would imagine he was pretty furious with me. There are crab things that you have to coax off the island and into the water (for whatever reason) and I missed 2. When he was making sure everything was ready I lost internet connection and I haven’t played since because of how mad I might have made him, I was pretty embarrassed. I did however, buy the single-player version on Steam last year and finished it a couple of months ago.

  • Ray K

    When I was 10 my mom had bought me The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game because a friend of mine that read the book had gotten it. I kept getting stuck at the simplest parts and begged my mom to let me call the hint line that cost like $1/minute. Of course she wouldn’t let me and I would have to call my friend that loved to brag how smart he was to help me 20 different times to finally beat the game. Then there’s Myst that taught me how to curse at the computer and threaten friends who tried to give me hints. Thx for bringing back traumatizing memories lol :)

  • IntertubeInhabitant

    My err, most embarassing “puzzle”-solving element was when I had to remove my first girlfriend’s bra for the first time. She really wanted that I be the one doing it and insisted maliciously to keep facing me. Never saw a mechanism so difficult to untie blind, I actually wished at that point to be *really* blind to have better spatial visualization. Oh well, I actually managed to stop laughing (she didn’t stop giggling) and solve the puzzle, and the reward was much better than most puzzle games I played ;) .

    • IntertubeInhabitant

      First name + initial = Gabriel M., btw.

  • http://www.mineburst.co.uk Siriuo

    Must have been when I spent a while trying to figure out what surface to place the portal on in portal 1 and 2 and I realised it was right next to me ‘DERP’

  • John P.

    For me the most embarassing moment with puzzle game was not destroying the Companion Cube in Portal. I didnt think it was actually neseserry to destroy it. I thought it could come in handy in future levels… Instead I got stuck for couple of hours wandering the level looking for something I might have missed. …After that I have never ever played any game with sound turned down ^^

    Cheers
    John P.

  • http://www.fabricadaimagem.com Jorge Pinto

    I was sitting on my livingroom while my wife was watching TV playing with of my 8 years son rubik’s cube , try to solve if for almost half hour. My son arrives, looks at me and just says:
    - So dad you can’t do it?
    - Sure, this is a tricky stuff, but i’ll do it.
    - hmmm I don’t think so, he says.
    - Sure I can, already have one face done.
    - Nah it’s all wrong,
    I sarcastly smile to the little fellow and asked him if he could do better, giving him the cube.
    First he destroyed all my work (the fave I’ve already done) and I said laughing: I don’t think you can’t do it too. He told me to give him some time. And I said I’ve got all night. He replies saying that only needed a couple of minutes, and again I laughed.
    After a 4 minute show the kid got it done. Never been so proud for my son and so embaressed (for my smirking wife) at the same time.

    Thanks for the offer and sorry about my english.