Archive for the ‘Mysteries’ Category

Inventing for the Internet the Early Years

June 24, 2010

Inventing for the Internet

Over on the Inventor Blog, I have just posted on Inventing for the Internet – the Early Years. Below is a brief synopsis but please see the post for the examples.


Here is a look at inventing for the Internet written in 2005 looking back over the ten year period from 1995 up to 2005. In general, the focus was on making new use of the medium:

  1. People can interact to make content not just view content
  2. People can communicate with each other
  3. A computer mediates to enforce rules of a game or environment
  4. Production and distribution of virtual objects are free

Other inventive focus was the relation between story and game play. Sometimes a story would suggest game play but usually a relevant story was created for a given game play.

Here are the comments about inventing features for the Internet in the early years. Many of these ideas would have relevance being redone in today’s social media aware world – because we were socially aware in the past but perhaps did not quite have the platforms and sharing systems worked out.

Inventions for 2005 – 2010 will be the focus of the next posting.

Enjoy – Dan Zen – Full Post

Mystery Games Without the Annoying Plot! Mood Mysteries – For your Mystery Party of Four or More – Makes a Perfect Gift!

December 16, 2008
Mood Mystery Party Games

Mood Mystery Party Games

Plots?!? Who needs a plot! Mood Mystery games let players feel like they are involved in mystery without that annoying plot! Make up characters and clues and act all mysterious and maybe some plotters will plot a plot as the hilarious game play plays.

Visit to find out more!

Makes a perfect immediate gift for your hard to get friends or family!


Utopia – Erotic Mystery launches on flickr for 10 Year Anniversary

May 23, 2008

Utopia - Erotic Mystery

Dan Zen is posting the images from Utopia – the erotic mystery on flickr to mark the 10 Year Anniversary of the mystery that had thousands of people lined up for the $500 prize.

Visit the flickr Utopia Set

Visit the flickr Utopia Slideshow

(please view on slow and set options to not “embiggen”)

Promotional images are currently posted and starting Friday May 23, 2008 the mystery pictures will be posted one day at a time (12 pictures per day – 6 days).

Have fun! Please visit often and tell friends.

~ 08 ~

META ~ Anti-gravity Nano Sci-fi: Verse 05

March 14, 2007

View Vlog

This is the sixth installment of the META nano anti-gravity sci-fi mystery vlog. The original post is below. Click here for the full mash to date. Here is the current META verse and once again, it would be cool to see someone else create a Zen Mix for the poem! Please do and post a link in the comments.

It will come to be that millions of patterns in grids in sectors in quadrants are mapped and tagged with pilot names including missed patterns which gain the pilots merit points. The pilots will perform with efficiencies and acquire standing.

META is a sci-fi story based in the times of the Dan Zen game, Save Earth.

A premise has been written in the form of a prophetic poem. The verses will be put into a Zen Mix and will be posted here over the next while.

We would like to encourage this type of story telling using Zen Mix. And indeed, if anyone would like to make a mix of any of the META episodes, please feel free to post the link to the mix in the comments of the episode post. It is so easy to do that we started our first one with an eight-year old daughter! Click above…

Show us that you are destined to be a star!

  1. Record yourself with a digital camera saying the poem below
  2. Upload this video to
  3. Take a picture for the background and post it on
  4. Go to to mix the two and then post the link here

You can use our background – just look beneath any mix to find out what video or background url was used and copy it into your own mix – remember copyright though. You are free to use our backgrounds for META. In this case we used an upcoming motion graphics tool called Zen Pan to make a background.

Here is the META verse 04…

It will come to be that Professor Y sets up SensoryNet remote controls and a fleet of volunteer pilots fly probes which spray oxygen against the sphere surrounding Earth to map its macro-crystaline structure.

Here is the META verse 03…

It will come to be that Professor Y determines the material of the sphere to be macro-crystaline with ten circular segmented patterns. Professor Y proposes that by mapping the patterns he can formulate a frequency to crack the sphere.

Here is the META verse 02…

It will come to be quite the task for the world government whose eyes turn to Professor Y for aid. Mad Inventor, Professor Y, will have just made the owners of velcro rich by designing velcro self cleansing environmental filters.

Here is the META verse 01…

It will come to be that on the eve of forming a world government a sphere of undetermined material surrounds earth letting sustenance in but not much out. It is assumed that the sphere is alien in construction – none claims responsibility.

Here is the META verse 00…

It will come to be that a new organization called the Free Nations will play watchdog to the United Nations and in 2020 after years of policy battle, the two will combine to form the World Government.

Even if you do not create a mix for META, you are welcome to leave your comments! In the future, we will tell further mysteries from Moustache Mysteries.

All the best,

Dan Zen

Zen Vlog Vlogging Site Features Mysteries and Amusements

October 28, 2006

Vlogging Features

Zen Vlog has grown to over twenty vlog entries many with multiple videos in the last four months.  The rapid growth is in part due to the ease of using the Zen Mix vlogging tool.  If you have not tried, give it a go.  You upload your picture to a place like Flickr, upload your video to a place like vimeo or and then mix them.

Sample categories on Zen Vlog are:

If anyone has any questions on what vlogging is or how to use the tools, please ask – we’d be happy to give suggestions to help you get vlogging.

All the best, Dan Zen.

Halloween Murder Mystery Party – Baron Digbody’s Castle

September 24, 2006

View Vlog


We’ve created a series of Zen Mixes for Baron Digbody’s Castle – the creepy castle caper written by the Moustache and previously featured as an interactive online mystery at These characters were posted weekly on Zen Vlog leading up to Halloween. You can also get the booklet along with links to all the mixes below and host your own mystery party. We have done so several times with this mystery and it is a blast! Full instructions for the mystery party are given as well. The mystery can be played with 8-12 characters. The links to the mixes are special private links so you can e-mail a link to a guest and they will only know how to access theirs.


Have some fun… host a mystery party… these cost over $20 in the store and you are stuck with the environmentally taxing packaging. Plus, no other mystery is quite as zany as a Moustache Mystery!

Meta Makes Google Front Page for Sci-fi Mystery

July 25, 2006

Our Meta anti-gravity nano sci-fi mystery has made the front page of google for the keywords sci-fi mystery.  Meta will be delivered as a prophetic poem of Zen Mix vlogs and shown on the site which features a number of other vlogs (video blogs) by mad inventor Dan Zen.

Here are the Google Results click to try!

META – Anti-gravity Nano Sci-fi Launches

July 22, 2006

META has soft-launched as an experiment in storytelling using Zen Mix. Click here for the vlog entry on Zen Vlog.

Zen Mix quickly allows you to distribute stories in an artistic manner. Just record video of your story and post it on Vimeo and then post a picture on flickr for the background. Go to Zen Mix to mix the two and apply effects. That’s it – free and fast. Of course you can post your pictures and video anywhere on the Web – it needs to be flv video which vimeo will convert any format to and host it for you.

Have fun!

Meta – Sci-Fi Mystery In Production

March 20, 2006

Work is finally underway for Meta, a sci-fi mystery from Dan Zen. The format will be different than the three Moustache Mysteries but will still be launched under the Moustache Mysteries umbrella – like Utopia.

The mystery hinges on the launch of Save Earth II which of course hinges on the earth being saved in Save Earth.

The mystery will be presented using Zen Pan, a new Dan Zen tool that mixes interactive experiences much like DJ and VJ would mix sound and video. Zen Pan Author allows users to mix pictures, video and Flash content and pan on one feature or between features.

PS in terms of sci-fi’s you have to see Ultraviolet. It is a completely consistent work of art with action twice as cool as Matrix – slightly less philosophical and large but an amazing work of art none the less. Here is my list of top ten in order “live” action sci-fi favourites off the top of my head (I may have forgotten some):

0. The Matrix
1. Ultraviolet (screw the critics)
2. Blade Runner
3. Star Wars
4. Aeon Flux (screw the critics)
5. Total Recall
6. Minority Report
7. Avalon
8. Demolition Man
9. Terminator

My more psychological / distopian would include older movies like Zardoz, Man Who Fell To Earth, Logan’s Run, Soylent Green, Mad Max, Metropolis, etc.

Baron Digbody’s Castle – Spooky Interactive Mystery

December 9, 2005

Baron Digbody’s Castle is the third Moustache Mysteries interactive mystery produced. This one includes the booklets to play the mystery offline with friends. It is ideal for Halloween time and indeed was played several times with great success.

Perhaps Dan Zen’s favourite mystery, it features a cast of crazy characters and a twisty plot.

Still to come is the Violet Vale – a fortune teller’s ball mystery and The Hungarian Hunting Lodge – treasure hunters mystery.

You play Gloves, one of the Chauffeurs vying for a position at the castle. The opening mini-game of driving a car along a twisty road to get to the castle will give you an indication of your driving skills ;-). This also works lightly into the plot.

Please contact us if you are stuck and we can help guide you through.

Kula Pu Idol – Hawaiian Bungalow Mystery

December 9, 2005

The second of Dan Zen’s fully interactive mysteries, The Kula Pu Idol mystery was launched as people were looking forward to summer vacations. Set in the Hawaiian bungalow of Princess Lava Lava Yo, the mystery features a dozen characters most of whom seem to have alternate identities.

You play the pool keeper and have stumbled on an auction for the Kula Pu Idol. Although it seems more like a party to you, there are a lot of mysterious things going on underneath.

Best of luck and if you enjoy the mystery, please let others know and let us know too! We hope one day that the mysteries will be made into movies – then at least they will be solved 😉

We played this mystery a couple times at parties where everyone had booklets and it was pretty incredible.

Utopia – Erotic Mystery

December 9, 2005

In 1998, after a couple years of trying to sell games, Dan Zen decided to take them all away and concentrate on one game at a time.

Utopia, an erotic mystery, was the first game.

A five hundred dollar prize was offered for the first person to solve the mystery. And people were to line up for a month to get ready.

The first two days were free if you invited 10 or more friends. Thousands of people lined up and only a handful paid.

It is quite difficult to make money with original online entertainment content.

The mystery predated the most influential television movement of the day by several years.

Moustache Mysteries and Microsoft

December 9, 2005

Moustache Mysteries is a series of Shockwave interactive mysteries. The first, Lady With Brooch, was delayed in its launching as a distributor was sought.

A year later, Microsoft was developing an early portal campaign and paying content providers. It was making “shows” that would happen at certain times. Dan Zen had already done that with Gorgolon, realizing that for a multiuser game, scheduling the game to boost participation makes sense. Dan Zen had also provided daily inventions and danisms that changed every day to entice return visits.

With these techniques already innovated, Dan Zen adjusted the mystery to last for a certain period of time then say “come back tomorrow” and approached Microsoft. Unfortunately, Microsoft quickly decided that there was not enough money to pay content providers. A trend that only worsened over the years as content providers eventually had to pay portals like MSN to get on their site.

The first of the Moustache Mysteries was built while working on the McLuhan CD ROM.

Four tools were built to populate the mystery with characters, clues, rooms, and hundreds of statements. The mystery has over 3,000 lines of code including a 12 level nesting of conditionals. Within this nesting are calls out to functions that determine which statements are passed depending on secret keeping capabilities, who is in the room, odds, etc.

Lady With Brooch, was played offline at mystery parties with booklets.

The parties were very successful and four more would come – The Kula Pu Idol, The Violet Vale, The Hungarian Hunt and Baron Digbody’s Castle.

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