Do you want a ride into sub-orbital space? You're going to have to work for it. If you haven't heard about the Vanishing Point Game, you've been living under a rock. Microsoft and AMD have created a collaborative puzzle game to celebrate the consumer release of Windows Vista to the public (Vista has already been released to businesses). Talk about a lot of product buzz in a very unusual marketing scheme.
Expect competition to be fierce, however, as players attempt to decipher online puzzles and solve clues from all over the world. On a weekly basis, twelve new puzzles are posted on the site. An answer for every puzzle can only be solved using information from an online element and a real world element. Physically being present at every location is not necessary as footage of the unusual real world event is always posted. Loki, the mysterious Microsoft Puzzle Master and "host" at these events, is the character to watch out for. Earlier this week, the first real-world event took place at the fountains outside the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
There is nearly $500,000 in prizes. The first prize gets a ride into sub-orbital space in 2008 courtesy of Rocketplane Limited Inc. – the ticket is estimated to be at a value of $250,000. The Rocketplane XP Vehicle, powered by both turbojet engines and a rocket engine, is a four-seat fighter-sized vehicle fitted with a delta wing and a V-tail. The vehicle is able to reach speeds just over 2,386 miles per hour, and reach altitudes in excess of 330,000 feet, or 100 kilometres. If you win first prize, tell me how it feels to be weightless for three to four minutes.