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Son gives a walk thru of his ingenious custom built puzzle box for his dad

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Son, there's nothing in this fucking box

1.2k points · 6 months ago

"It's empty, just like all your promises, dad!"

runs off crying

: (

Username kind of relevant?

unzips pants

Username kind of relevant?

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and the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon, the little boy blue and the man in the moon...

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Kid is just waiting for his dad to get back from grabbing some smokes so he can give it to him.

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Seriously, not even dickbutt. What's the point?

37 points · 6 months ago

At least it didn't have that stupid upside-down "OK" sign inside

I was fully expecting a picture of his hand doing that sign to be in the box. 0/10 fully disappoint

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There's a spider.

Only in sealed vaults.

19 points · 6 months ago


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2.5k points · 6 months ago

I would literally never get in this box

918 points · 6 months ago

I decoded the message and got the word "sledgehammer". Close enough.

316 points · 6 months ago

I got Be sure to drink your Ovaltine. Damn it!

A crummy commercial.

Son of a bitch.

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yeah he should make one out of 1" thick iron plates

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409 points · 6 months ago

I felt good about knowing to try the legs first, but then the whole "Set the gears so the letters "DAD" point at the buttons, then flip two of those gears over and use the cypher to move the gears to build coordinates on a cryptic graph" felt like a pretty difficult step.

A real /r/restofthefuckingowl moment there, would have been nice to see the actual decoding process since I'd never be able to figure this out myself.

Pretty sure the "decoding" process is twisting the first gear and copying the letter on the third gear. The trick is getting the gears in the right order, and he walked through that pretty detailed.

I'm betting that if the son has the mind and the patience to build something like this, then the dad has the mind and the patience to get it open.

Nah, there was just a doctor's note inside explaining a savant style of autism.

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89 points · 6 months ago

Especially after he just got that out of the drawer with the magnets. I would have though that the message had to do with them.

211 points · 6 months ago

I'm guessing his dad likes these kinds of puzzles, otherwise this would be kind of a dick gift.

Should have gone with hand warmers

I would have written you a lengthy and rude letter telling you that money would be a more appropriate gift.

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Not just any hand warmers, one spent handwarmer and one leaky one.

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You could always put the hand warmers in the box.
Seriously, I was a little disappointed that there was nothing in it at the end.

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dick gift

Step 1: put your dick in the box

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If I didn't like puzzles and my kid got me this I would saw it open.

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I think this is amazing and super cool, but I agree on the dick gift point. I feel like a lot of the steps had too many like, “gotcha” moments.

Maybe it’s easier or more obvious for people who are into this, but him being like “then you just put the drawer in upside down!” Who would know to do that?

15 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

There needs to be a flow in a puzzle. It's easy to make puzzle where the next step is to write "potato" using magnets, but there needs to be some way to logically work out that the next thing to do should be to write "potato" using magnets. I felt that many of the steps here were a bit random, not so much "solve the puzzle using logic" but more "read my mind to know what to do next" even with the note clues.

Me, mostly because I would shove everything in all the gaps trying to jump start the game again. By dumb luck I'd probably half solve it because the flow of the clues isn't smooth. For example, I see screws, I get screwdriver and find the board early, I put it on magnet alphabet and find the letters etc.

To be fair there was no necessary order for some of those early steps because they're all small pieces needed to do the magnet board that can be acquired in any order. You need to solve the DAD 245 thing to get the codes right, and you need to get the board to learn the letters. Doesn't matter if you grab the board first or do the gears because you need them both to solve the actual puzzle, OP just decided to show an order he liked

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I had the same thought! I also thought that I literally would’ve never gotten the upside down drawer to unlock the extra gears. The rest had somewhat tangible leads, but that upside down drawer was just so random.

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My first instinct would have been to go find a tiny allen wrench and open up whatever I could.

All the steps have clues that a person could eventually figure out. Except the upside-down drawer. The only way I could see figuring that out is just random chance. I didn't see any clue for that part.

28 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

The clue is in the construction of the drawer and the hole it slides into. What I mean is that you can see that there's something irregular with the way the box is built (there is a sort of slot cut into the bottom) and you can probably see some mechanism in the hole. That would eventually lead you to try something like that.

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146 points · 6 months ago

Maybe it's because I don't know how these work, but I would never even get the first step. It's a homemade box so unscrewing the leg or deconstructing it would feel like cheating.

89 points · 6 months ago

I think there are rules in puzzles, like if it doesn't turn easily don't turn it. The other legs are probably glued in place too.

You never need to force a well made puzzle. Whether it's a box, blacksmith puzzle or jigsaw puzzle. When you find the right piece it should move or slot smoothly.

So checking the legs would have been a given. Light tug and a twist. I've done a bunch of these puzzles, my wife bragged to my in-laws that I was good at them and they spent the first 10 years of my marriage giving me blacksmith and wooden geometric puzzles to stump me for Christmas.

18 points · 6 months ago

they spent the first 10 years of my marriage giving me blacksmith and wooden geometric puzzles to stump me for Christmas.

Were you cool with that, or did it start getting old after a few years?

They were stocking stuffers for the most part so it was always appreciated and the wooden geometric ones were all hand crafted and beautiful to look at and were nice on the mantel for a while.

I'm glad they stopped though, I was getting repeats and once you get the knack for that kind of puzzle it doesn't go away.

I would have loved to have gotten the OP puzzle box.

If you ever divorce your wife and marry me, I'll make you a box like this every time your birthday comes around. Please say yes, otherwise I'm just gonna marry my girlfriend.

save this poor fellow from such a fate

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5 points · 6 months ago

I wish you showed up before I spouted off!

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14 points · 6 months ago

It's a common first step in puzzle boxes.

If his dads a fan, he'd know to try that first.

Yeah, I would have pulled on it, to see if it was clipped or magnetted in. Never would have occured to me to unscrew it.

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70 points · 6 months ago

Even after watching him open it I still wouldn't be able to figure it out.

42 points · 6 months ago

Yeah I feel like I missed something. What did he need to use the DAD setup for? I feel like we set that up but then didn’t have to use it. And how did the 4 letter combos on the front get plugged into the gears which only display 3 letters.

What did he need to use the DAD setup for

to know the initial state of the cogs for the decoding

And how did the 4 letter combos on the front get plugged into the gears which only display 3 letters.

this... i dunno. maybe only 3 of the letters are actually on the gears in the order they show up?

2 pairs? The symbol gave the first cog position, the second and third cogs gave the X,Y? Not sure.

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The Cog sections were used to find the right symbols on the Magnet matrix. He already knew the answer, so he didn't bother actually turning the screws, so to speak. Ditto for the 436 bit. It did make it seem a little /r/restofthefuckingowl, but that section was just time consuming, rather than mechanically relevant.

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Ive seen my dad try to operate a computer, and if i gave him anything like this he would destroy it within 45 minutes.

Same here. Even if I spent years trying, the batteries would be dead by the time I made any meaningful progress. That's honestly my only gripe... He should add some solar charger to it, like on calculators, just to ensure you can get into it with enough time without breaking it.

7 points · 6 months ago

Or it could be that during the process of getting a first light to turn on, the arduino is turned on, otherwise it stays off and the batteries don't drain, because up until then I don't think he batteries are being used.

Batteries drain whether being used or not. There is no battery that will indefinitely store a charge, they all gradually degrade. That's why I said I'd probably never solve this, by the time I got to the battery operated parts the batteries would be dead.

A simple solar panel, like the ones that have been used in calculators for ages, could remedy this. You can't just leave a battery around for years and expect it to work.

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How sad would it be if the batteries die naturally and the dad wasn’t able to open it ever again because it locked?

Of course not, there's no way you would fit!

Story of your life, huh?

2 points · 6 months ago

I could if I really wanted to, obviously. The problem is, I would never want to just break it. It's too neat for that. But I'm too dumb to solve it, so I would just continually grow more frustrated with it until in my old age I would go mad, and I can't guarantee that I wouldn't reach a breaking point (heh) and break it, only to sob over it's shattered pieces like I had just murdered something beautiful.

Don’t worry the box is empty so you aren’t missing much.

He'd better put a million dollars in there, because if anyone solves that puzzle box they've earned it.

I wouldve just smashed the box. Puzzle solved son

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I feel like you would say that a lot...

i feel like i could've figured it out up to putting the drawer in upside down

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I audibly said "are you serious" when it was required to slide the drawer back in backwards.

That plus the unscrewable leg would have made this impossible for me to solve

671 points · 6 months ago

Watching a lot of puzzle videos will show you that tricks like that are pretty common. If you do a lot of puzzles, unscrewing legs and popping pieces back in in different orientations is a pretty normal thing to try.

Not that I would ever think to do it haha. But puzzles like this are built for people who are familiar with these types of puzzles, not really just common folks.

136 points · 6 months ago

Yep, the 'ol last effort "try every available item that fits in every orientation" until you come up with a better idea.

aka my sex life

I am not sure if this is self-deprecation or bragging.

5 points · 6 months ago

Says the guy(?) who's kissed a girl(?) at least four times!

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Username checks out.

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35 points · 6 months ago

Also, I re-watched it, and there is a section of the bottom of the drawer that is cut out, which is the hint that it's not just a normal drawer.

He gave away unscrewing the leg, you could see he wanted to do that action when he was first showing the box.

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34 points · 6 months ago

My initial reaction was the same but then I noticed that the mechanism is clearly visible so it's not actually that hard to figure out.

60 points · 6 months ago · edited 4 months ago

deleted 0.2614 What is ^^^this?

If you knew about the leg, you would have looked in the drawer slot for a code or hidden key and saw the latch and then tried your finger and then the drawer.

I think a lot of people aren't giving themselves enough credit, they are seeing this guy walk through the puzzles in ten minutes, when it's supposed to take a bit of time and head scratching.

Yeah, these puzzle boxes are usually intended to be solved over a couple weeks or months if ever.

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Now, I am no puzzle box, aficionado, but I have watched a few videos of them, and this actually seems like a common solution to a next step.

I am assuming that his father actually likes puzzle boxes, so I am betting he is familiar with this trick.

The leg thing was actually the first thing I though of, but only because he pointed them out in the initial part of the video, so they would have been a lot more inconspicuous to me if he hadn't.

Now, I am no puzzle box, aficionado, but I have watched a few videos of them, and this actually seems like a common solution to a next step.

Yeah, with puzzles like theses it good to pay attention to any odd detail. The drawer when pulled out had a slot in the back, so naturally you'd investigate that since that slot wouldn't be the way the drawer was held in(that was the leg) and notice the mechanism in the back.

I'd be worried about breaking the box when trying things like this, e.g. snapping a leg off.

Yeah seriously,. Jamming things in upside down and backwards on a non-puzzle box is how you get them stuck but I will admit I've seen it many times before so it's a common gimmick(meaning common thing to try to do).

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I’m not sure I would ever get past step one.

Yea, a week later I'd be like, "Look I really appreciate the gesture, but I hate it and I hate you and I broke it."

195 points · 6 months ago

"And you're adopted."

"The new family is coming to pick you up this weekend"

The old reddit switcharoo

Hold my puzzle box, I'm goin in! ouch Heay! This doesn't go anywhere! What gives?

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41 points · 6 months ago

I think he should have made that one leg stand out from the others or give some kind of minor clue. I would not have thought trying to disassemble the box would be part of the steps. Still really cool though.

Inconspicuous parts that come off is par for the course for puzzle box enthusiasts

I might like to be one of these "puzzle box enthusiasts" that you speak of. How would I get into this sort of thing?

Edit: I would also like to add that you sound unimpressed.

First you want to start with something basic and ordinary that everyone probably has lying around, or can be bought cheaply, like a small cardboard gift box with a lid.

Secondly, you want to be able to make a small modification in the box, like cutting a small hole in it.

Thirdly, you want to try something a little more complex, but not too hard, like sticking your dick in the hole.

Lmfao, had me going.

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r/puzzlebox would be a good place to start.

Agreed. I don't like the idea of doing something that looks like it might take apart the hard work, especially as a first step. I appreciate the hard work and smarts in the rest of the video but I've immediately disregarded it as a well designed puzzle (the box itself and the internals are designed well).

I've done like 30 escape rooms and opened like 20 of these kinds of boxes. Don't encourage people to take things apart unless you explicitly tell them to (at least via clues).

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I couldn’t even finish the video!

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Comment deleted6 months ago(17 children)
4 points · 6 months ago

Damm for real?! Shits on sale in ps4 for $10. I love escape rooms and "try everything you can think of until something happens" type shit, would you recommend the witness?

Just so you don't get the wrong impression, The Witness is basically all line puzzles, but it's done in an incredibly engaging way. There are a lot more layers in the puzzles than it lets on as they contribute to larger puzzles in exploring and unlocking the island. The Witness was definitely one of my favorite games the year it came out.

The Witness holds a lot of similarities to the 'escape the room' genre but taken to the extreme. Although mainly you'll be just completing very similar-looking puzzle panels, understanding how to conquer them often requires paying attention to everything around you. It's like an entire island crammed with stuff like the puzzle box in this video. Plus some of the shit you have to figure out to get 100% is absolutely insane.

Talos Principle can get absolutely fucking wrecked. I beat the fucking game hoping for that gorgeous fucking Platinum, only to find out you had to complete the DLC, too. I burnt myself out, but I think I might try get back into it in, say... A thousand years.

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I really love the concept of the puzzle games. I have a Vive so I play some of the escape rooms too but I'm too stupid to figure any of them out so they just sit there installed. Laughing at me.

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Yeah, I totally got The Room vibes from this too! Minus the Lovecraftian horror, that is.

Oh hi Mark!

You’re tearing me apart!



You're tearing me apart!

Said the puzzle box to OP's frustrated dad

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Definitely seemed like something akin to the puzzles in the room & sequels.

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172 points · 6 months ago

I would like to know if his dad got into the box or just fucked around with it for months on end.

You really think he would build this thing that prolly took close to 100 hours if he thinks his dad wasnt gonna enjoy it and do it? Dad prolly introduced him to the #puzzlelyfe and they enjoy these together and the son built this as a lifetime achievement puzzle.

I dunno, someone above suggested that OP was adopted.

OP, we want answers!

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311 points · 6 months ago

Those batteries are totally going to expire and make it impossible to open that box in just a few years...

294 points · 6 months ago

That's why you make a copy of the key.

Hahahaha. I was totally imaginging him having to take the box away and secretly solve it when the batteries got low. That makes so much sense

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I'd have had a usb charging port. :-)

That’s more sneaky, I like it

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So ideally the first puzzle of such an awesome puzzle box must be a mechanical one. The result would be an opening to plug a power supply in.
Else you rely on a battery that would be dead after the 2 years it will take me to solve the first puzzle.

Yeah, or you make a spare key

That takes the fun out of it though

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39 points · 6 months ago

thats when the good'ol sledgehammer comes into play

good'ol sledgy

11 points · 6 months ago

"My son tried to be clever, making me a confangled puzzle box, but there's never been a puzzle box yet that my good ol sledgehammer couldn't solve."

Those and the rubber bands on the “3D printed latch” when he slid the drawer back in upside down.

It’s Arduino controlled. So I’m guessing it would have some software that opens the key tray if battery is critical.

Or duplicate key.

Make sure to include a fresh, unopened pack of batteries inside the box! Problem solved!

There's probably a sneaky way to change the batteries. It looks like it's in one of those drawers. Maybe it opens?

3 points · 6 months ago

I was kind of wondering if there was some sneaky charging mechanism either on the wire side, or maybe even wireless charging.

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Guys, I feel like an idiot and am not properly following a step. When he takes out the magnetic A board to place over the letters, it reveals 7 (I think) sets of 4 letters. How exactly are those used for the next step? I understand they go with the wheel, but is it that you make two letters be gears and look at the pin output? Can someone EIL5 for me?

I love puzzles and have escaped rooms in time, but I feel so dumb for not being able to follow the actual explanation...

63 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

I have been trying to figure this out too. I found this video which explains the idea I think, but then I paused the video to make sure I had all the gears in the correct order, wrote out the cypher and tried to solve it and all I get is gibberish. It is really bothering me that I can't figure it out, I have no idea how you end up with five letters at the end of that message.

Using the every other gear method from the video I linked, I get JLZY SQRI JPQY DQQI PDXK SBGM AXDG. I tried just the first gear instead, same gibberish, second gear only, gibberish, second then first, same. I even tried using only the first gear then using that with the second gear.



I looked at his web based cypher and unlocked the code! It says "MAGN ETCO MBIN ATIO NCOD EISH RJAS" or magnet combination is H R J A S

So from the cipher, it looks like you enter the letter into the first gear, and choose the output gear depending on the position of the letter in each set of 4? OOFFGGXX becomes MGRAGZQN with the puzzle box setup.

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22 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

This is also the point at which I lost track of what was going on. The DAD set up on the gears is used to decode the 7 groups of 4 letter in order to get 5 letters to plug into the next gear arrangement. But it's not obvious how.

Maybe the leftmost wheel is the input, the rightmost wheel the output, and when you decode the string of 28 characters (not thinking of them in terms of 7 groups of 4) it spells out the numbers in English? But then that wouldn't make sense for the next decoding part because that sequence spelled out in English is way longer than 28 characters.

I believe for every 1 letter you put into wheel one, he said use the two letter from the next two wheels. I don't recall how many letter of input you have, but I believe he said to use the others like that.

That's what he said about the second arrangement of gears, when you're plugging the 5 numbers in.

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49 points · 6 months ago

holy shit mind blow on how you built this

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Anyone ever play The Room (iOS, Android). This is so similar and really fun to solve. There are three versions so far and well worth the price

Remastered versions of the first two also exist for desktop, they're on Steam.

Yes, love all three of them. Have played through them many many times now and for the same kind of vibe here too. Great, now I need to play them all before bed, thanks.

126 points · 6 months ago

This is really, really amazing. Can't imagine how long it must have taken Ryan to build the box and to engineer each puzzle. Truly, a wonderful gift!

Merry cake day to you sir!

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I hope my dad's ok with a pair of sweatpants.

Holy heck, this is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I've always loved puzzle games, wood puzzles, etc and lately I've been wanting to design puzzles, got any tips?!

A lot of it you'll learn as you go, hence his 3D printed ejector thingy. I'd say read through his documentation for a better understanding of how he did it.

Just remember to keep it simple enough. There's a difference between challenging and something only you can solve.

The mechanics or the designs?

Make it sledge hammer resistant

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I read this as custom built "pizza box" and thought, "oh I've got to see this one..."

Im not the only one!

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And it just so happens, that there is a code in a lock box in South Africa. Once that card is found there is an arrow pointing up. Which of course means the attic of my sisters husbands house in Montreal. In this attic behind some drywall you can of course find a small whistle with one note to be played. This note just so happens to be in Classical Gas. Which just so happens to be the musical key which opens the box to reveal.......absolutely nothing.

That's incredible. My dad would love this. When he was a bit younger and steadier, he did some amazing woodwork. The electronics wouldn't be his thing, but I've sent him the video to watch.

25 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

This Whitest Kids U Know video was all I could think of during this

And that's when I killed him, your Honor.

You did a great job, you are smart and did a great job! <3

5 points · 6 months ago

My dad would go grab tools and bits, step one would be getting into that panel.

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That annoyed me like nothing else! Nothing on that box just "happens", he deliberately designed it that way!!

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That really bothered me. The gears didn't "happen to" be there. The drawers didn't "happen to" open.

This is incredible but he should put something in the fucking box!

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I don't get how the codes work. How would you get 5 pairs from that?

3 points · 6 months ago


Really cool! You are a creative son. How long did it take your father to get it open?

And it just so happens. that video was brutal.

It’s like something out of The Room.

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This might never get noticed, but I'm wondering if the batteries die is the box permanently locked?

3 points · 6 months ago

Well sure you made your dad happy, it's an incredible gift, you've touched a few people as well, but have you considered how many dads might see this video, turn from their computer screen to look at their pack of economy socks with a far off stare?

The kids at r/codzombies has this done in 2 minutes.

7 points · 6 months ago

From the voice that's clearly Fleb, a prodigious puzzler who has a youtube channel.

That's not Fleb, the channel is Ryan Calme

I had to scroll down way to far to learn this.

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What’s in the box?!

And have you seen mother? I've been calling her for hours and she won't answer!

I’d use a hammer 🔨

Agreed. Much simpler to decode. Or a crowbar.

FIREWOOD! only kidding. Is this puzzle complicated or complex? I can never remember the difference.

Yes, it is.

It's both. They are synonyms.

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that's a really cool video thank you for sharing

Aliens will find this and be impressed!

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2 points · 6 months ago

Is it too late to adopt this guy?

Reminds me of those "the room" games

2 points · 6 months ago

This is insanely impressive, I wouldn't even know where to start in designing something like this - much less solving it.

Quite a impressive piece of work. I would have never figured it out on my own, though.

2 points · 6 months ago

I need to go play The Room again.

Show me the box! What was in the box!? What was in the fucking box!?

Very fun. I bet these things are bananas expensive if you want to buy a complicated one.

I was losing my mind when he was working on those screws by hand. One. Thread. At. A. Time.

Unless your father is Tony Stark he will be 298 years old still trying to figure out how to decode the first card

Man, this stuff makes me realize how much of a simpleton I really am. I couldn't solve this box in a million years, let alone think up and create it. Incredible.

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