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What is Jackpot?

Jackpot is a race requiring a diverse knowledge base, strong puzzle solving abilities, good navigational skills, and mental and physical endurance. For over 24 sleepless hours, teams become involved in an unfolding story by finding hidden information about the characters, locations and objects they encounter. The adventure lasts an entire weekend and may cover hundreds of miles. In essence, Jackpot can be defined as interactive competitive performance art, in which the players are integral participants.

Trails of clues have been left by pranksters and madmen since curiosity killed its first cat. Treasure maps and riddles, scavenger hunts and detective stories, these are the colors in Jackpot's palette. From unlocking the secrets of the Rosetta Stone to cracking the human genome, man has relished any opportunity to uncover buried information. Oedipus solved the Riddle of the Sphinx, Thomas Beale left a cryptic legacy of treasure, Alan Turing ran puzzle races. Jackpot follows in all of their footsteps.

More recently, several universities have spawned versions of puzzle-solving competitions, fueled by their large pool of young, intelligent and fun-seeking students. Jackpot has grown out of one of these incarnations, an annual Stanford University tradition in the San Francisco Bay Area commonly referred to as the Game. A strong community of past and present students and other like-minded people has grown and evolved over the last fifteen years. The concept is now more popular than ever, having spread to Seattle, New York, and points beyond.

Jackpot is the next stage of this evolution, attempting to bring together the existing communities and extend the event to a wide audience while staying true to its spirit. Jackpot aims to be bigger, better, more fair and more fun than any such event ever run.

To get a taste of what this event is like, check out the wrapup section, which has descriptions, clues, and pictures of Jackpot: Pyrite's Last Deal, run in Las Vegas in April 2002.

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