Puzzles are great, aren’t they? I love getting stuck into any sort of puzzle, trying to use logic to decipher the right answer. I got very into Picross last year after trying it as a new thing, and I had great fun trying an Escape Room at home, but now I wanted to stretch my brain a bit further and try the reported hardest puzzle on the internet – Notpron.
Notpron has been around since 2004, the brainchild of German game developer David Münnich and has a whopping 138 levels. According to Wikipedia, out of the 20 million people who have visited the site, only 100 have actually completed the whole game. After trying (and quickly failing) the crossword that was used to recruit codebreakers for Bletchley Park, I was not feeling entirely confident.
I’m not spoiling anything by telling you the first level is easy. Ridiculously easy. It’s a point and click affair, and definitely lulls you into a false sense of security. Beyond that, things get a little bit more difficult, and then even more difficult, and then practically impossible. Well, that was my experience of the first 8 levels anyway – that’s right, I only managed 8 levels of the 138 out there!
The game encourages you to look at everything on the seemingly simple website. This includes the URL, file names, source code (right-click on a website and click “View Page Source”), and in some cases actively encourages you to Google the clues it surreptitiously gives you. It is enthralling, frustrating, and completely sucked me in. It provides a few hints for the first 8 levels, which provide an insight into why I haven’t made it any further, but beyond that, you’re on your own. Well, kind of. Luckily for us, trying it 16 years after its conception, is that many people have come before us and can shed provide some hints and clues in the Notpron forum. Spoilers and answers are a strict no-go in this forum, so if, like me, you become hooked and determined to try the hardest puzzle on the internet but get a bit stuck, it’s a safe zone.
I really loved trying Notpron, and I can imagine it’s something I’ll come back periodically to see if I can get any further. As frustrating as it is trying to work something out, I love the high you get when you eventually (hopefully) work out the answer, and it’s something that keeps me coming back to puzzles. I’ll get there, it just might take me the next 16 years to do it!
Are you going to have a go? Let me know how far you get!