Win! $6000 Of Home Entertainment Gear, Thanks To Netflix And Stranger Things

Hello and welcome to the biggest competition Kotaku Australia has ever done ever.

Thanks to Netflix and Stranger Things, we put together the most complicated (and strangest) competition in Kotaku Australia history.

And guess what: you've already had your first clue and you didn't even realise it.

Image: Supplied

The main prize: $6000 to spend on home entertainment gear to get your Netflix on. Get a new TV, get surround sound speakers. Get whatever you like! 10 runners-up will receive a $100 Netflix voucher.

The competition: we've hired a crack team of goddamn riddle masters to put together a series of fiendish puzzles. Think riddles. Think the Da Vinci Code. Think escape rooms. Think outside the box.

Matthew Lee (from the amazing Enigma Room escape game in Sydney), our own Jeremy 'Junglist' Ray, John Kane from Gritfish, Sean Gardiner and Gareth White (both from the Sydney Uni school for mathematics) have all worked together to create an incredible large scale puzzle that exists on Kotaku. Over the course of the next three weeks, we'll be posting each puzzle within Kotaku posts themselves.

Good luck. You're gonna need it.

We'll allow the puzzle creators to explain...

The Puzzle

We've hidden a series of puzzles on Kotaku Australia. Six posts in our Stranger Things series exploring the stranger moments in gaming history — one puzzle in each of these six articles we'll be rolling out. The aim of each puzzle is to find a word, phrase or name as the solution. Once you complete each puzzle, you'll receive part of a metapuzzle which will have it's own solution. Submit your solution to the overall metapuzzle below for your chance to win the prize!
Google and Wikipedia are your friends. If you’re unsure what something means, don’t be shy to look it up (or variations on it). Also, feel free to use any internet tools such as decoders or solvers that use popular ciphers.
The puzzles are themed. Factor that into your considerations.
Always be on the lookout for codes, patterns, secrets, or ways to interact with something. Think outside the box. Or in HTML terms, think outside the [div].
Each post involved in the puzzle will be signposted by a Stranger Things blockquote. Other than letting you know you’re in a puzzle post, this blockquote is not a part of the puzzle itself. It will look like the following:

Kotaku's Stranger Things series is presented by the new Netflix original: Stranger Things. When a young boy vanishes, a town uncovers a mystery of secret experiments, supernatural forces, and one strange little girl. Watch it only on Netflix from July 15.

There can only be one winner, but if you do want to share information and talk about the puzzles, it’d help us if you used the #strangerthings hashtag in the comments. That’s up to you — it’ll just make it easier to monitor where people are at :)

We have several clues in mind for each puzzle if you're having problems — so keep an eye out for @TheEnigmaRoom in the comment section of articles in Kotaku's Stranger Things series.

The metapuzzle is inspired by the Stranger Things first trailer:

When you think you have a solution to each of the six puzzles, enter it into your browser as a suffix to — eg If you’re right, you should be greeted with a page notifying you of progress!

Want more help? There are a few puzzle societies that do this sort of thing regularly! (And who also helped us out with this!) We totally recommend you check out their pages:

The Schedule

We'll be posting two puzzles a week over the next three weeks.

The first can be found here. Someone may have solved it already!

The remainder of the clues will be released as follows...

Puzzle #1: is hidden over here. Puzzle #2: is over here. Puzzle #3: is here. Puzzle #4: is up now! Puzzle #5: is here. Puzzle #6 of 6: is here.

When you think you've solved the puzzle, enter the solution in the form below. Those who submit the correct answer will make themselves eligible to win. You're gonna have to work for this one, but $6000. It's gonna be worth it!

Solved all six puzzles and have the overall metapuzzle answer? Enter here!

  • Entry open to Australian residents only

At this point I would like personally thank everyone involved in helping out in the creation of this puzzle. Thanks to everyone from Enigma Room. They do incredible work and you should check out their escape rooms. I think it's the best in Sydney. Special shout out to John Kane, his game Killing Time At Lightspeed comes out later this year.

This is gonna be fun!

Good luck everyone! Terms and conditions can be found here.


    Sounds like wicked fun! Definitely could go for a crazy surround sound rig. One question though: The schedule is comprised of dates already passed. Typo?

    What does #strangerthings do? (this is a test)

      So... nothing?

        My guess, allows them to quickly filter through posts on their side that relate to puzzle content. Of you can just use browsers find function for the tag...

    Finally! A comp not entirely based on creativity!

    Each entry will be individually judged based on literary and creative merit.

    I bet @fatshadylive will be all over this

      Nah this will just expose me as not that smart.. My skills are in the sharing of complex riddles.. that smarter people than me have figured out :)

      I really need that prize for my new house so I spent some time last night but no luck so far.. #feelsdumb

        Well it's not a substitution cipher, and the red commas are just commas. :)

    i'll give up $6000 for a better internet connection.

    Just need to say Stranger Things blows away any other miniseries I've ever watched

      I'm 3 episodes in and it's amazing to me how good it is so far!!

    Man there's nothing like the feeling of trying three ideas that don't work then suddenly seeing a pattern emerge, so you feel like genius for about two seconds before realising how dumb you were to try those original ideas in the first place.

    Thanks, for that.

      I know right? I was going for an hour on the first bit and then saw it and slapped myself...not for being dumb...just know. Still slightly unsure if I have the correct solution to the first puzzle, stream of consciousness is hard to wade through especially in such length, but the question makes too much sense.

        Once you have the solution to the first puzzle you put it in to the url and if you're right you'll get taken to a page with confirmation and some pieces of the overall puzzle.

    So far this month I've gotten stuck in Limbo and stuck on Braid, now I'm gonna get stuck on this!!

    Damn, I have that exact set of walkie talkies. Talk about a flash back.

    I tried Kotaku. In the end, it was the second clue. I guessed the first one pretty quickly but after two hours scouring the second clue, I couldn't figure it out.

      Don't give up! Read the comments and you should get it.

    Is this open to residents of NZ? The above form says open to residents of Australia only, but the full T's and C's state open to residents of Australia and NZ. Thanks in advance for the clarification!

    Its almost end of business day here in Oz. When is the 3rd puzzle gonna be posted? #strangerthings

    Last edited 30/07/16 6:13 pm

      Over here:

    With only two puzzles remaining I can't see how the missing elements in the new puzzle can be filled, if what we've experienced so far is anything to go by.

    @ The Moderators/Editor:
    The current link to Puzzle#3 is the same as that of #4. FixItFelix :)

    Last edited 30/07/16 6:18 pm

    Meh. Gotta say, this is not my cup of tea. Feels too much like work. I'm out!

    Absolutely loving this competition. Even if I don't win, I've had a tonne of fun. That said, for that prize, I'd still love to win :P

    And it must have been a whole lot of work to set-up. Like, unbelievable. I'd love to see more stuff like this but it's so thorough and clever that you really wouldn't be able to do it that often! But thank you for the challenge!

    Working on the metapuzzle and my search history has rapidly devolved into madness.

      I know that feel. I am currently feeling that feel.

      Yeah I too am working on the metapuzzle but not making a lot of progress at the moment.

    How do we know if we have the correct answer? or do we just submit and hope for the best until the winner is reveled?

      Exactly! I have something, but not sure if it's a clue to get the answer or if it already is the answer.

        at least you have that much. I have about 30 tabs open and no idea how any of them relate...

        I'm not sure but my thinking is that the metapuzzle is consistent with the other puzzles where you end up with a prompt that directs you to the final answer.

        We don't really have confirmation but you could use the 200 words about your stranger twists to explain how you got to the last point if you're not 100% confident.

        Last edited 04/08/16 6:49 pm

          I really hope that we get some clarification on whether there is a prompt or not. I've made some ground with the meta-puzzle, but not enough to affirmatively have an answer yet, and not knowing whether there is a url to check makes the whole thing seem hopeless. #strangerthings

          Last edited 04/08/16 7:39 pm

            The solution that I've got only makes sense if the puzzle ends in a prompt.

              *leans across the desk, peeks at the work of everyone else because my paper is still blank*

                Pretty sure I'm most of the way there. Do we have to watch the Stranger Things show (or read plot spoilers) or is the question the meta-answer?

                Last edited 05/08/16 10:34 am

                  "The metapuzzle is inspired by the Stranger Things first trailer"

                  Note: that last reply was from the official clue account... It seems to heavily imply that
                  the trailer has an 'answer' to the 'question'


          I've certainly read plenty of weird stuff in the last hour to fill those 200 words.
          I don't think the final answer will need to be as precise as the URL answers

        So I think I got it? I tried typing it into the URL with no luck but I'm fairly confident in my Answer so I took a chance and submitted.

    Has anybody submitted an answer they are confident about yet? I'm pretty sure I've worked out all the word pairs but I don't think I'm getting any closer to solving the overall puzzle!

    Last edited 04/08/16 7:47 pm

      I'm confident and would say the metapuzzle is about on par with the other puzzles.

      Have you watched the trailer?

        I'm fairly confident, however I'll wait til the end of the day and go over it once more before putting my final answer in.

        Edit: was going to wait, but grew too impatient and submitted. My answer fits, lets hope there was nothing more needed.

        I have to say I've enjoyed these puzzles. Was late to the game, got most of them eventually without much help, but the ones I needed help with boy did I need help. Still it's so satisfying when the pieces fall into place, instead of being just given the answer. It's been a good diversion from work :) Thanks all.

        Last edited 05/08/16 12:23 pm

          Some are saying there's a question...I'm not seeing this question. I've matched most of the pairs (although I have 4 words remaining that don't go together at all, and I can't find matches in even my solved pairs for them) but I'm not seeing any kind of question.

    I was scraping along (barely) before now, feeling so proud! I have all the pics lined up, and now I'm like.... (☉_______________☉)

    Done! Phew. That was an AWESOME competition. I haven't invested so much time into something like this, ever. The excitement at that moment when the Metapuzzle started to fall into place was, well, to be honest, embarrassing... like a CHIIIILD'S! Good luck to everyone else still chugging along. :)

      Dang, nice work on solving it. I'm not making much progress myself yet.

      Can you at least say whether we can put an answer into the Kotaku URL like the other puzzles to see if we're on the right track?

        I'm confident in my answer and had no luck with it in the URL.

        Hmm, I'm thinking about what I can say...

        Well, the URLs were used as a way to provide you more "postcards", right?

        Last edited 06/08/16 1:15 am

    Anyone willing to provide a general hint on how to start deciphering the Meta Puzzle?

    I'm looking for groupings of 2 words that naturally work together and so far I've found only 2 or 3, but even they feel a little forced...

    Last edited 05/08/16 11:25 am

      Look at the big picture when you're putting the words together.

        Got it

        Last edited 06/08/16 8:10 pm

          You'll know you're on the right track when you notice something in common with each solved pair.

            Got it, although I think I'm onto something deeper...

            Last edited 06/08/16 8:12 pm

              I don't think there's anything past that point.

          Haha, yeah sorry I'm not the most helpful with clues. I tend to err on the side of being totally obtuse so that it makes sense only to me. @trjn is better at this, see above.

          Do you want to email me so we can try to help each other? my username at gmail

    Damn! I just saw the 6th puzzle today. Solved that one and even matched the word pairs but now m stuck.... I don't wanna be stuck in the last bit of the metapuzzle!!! Nooooo

      I just dunno how the pictures are connected... I'm sure that's the last bit to fully solve it

        You might find some direction by reading through this article again.

      I have 6 words that aren't going together - does that mean I've messed up somewhere? All the other pairs seem right!

        Depending on what pairs you have you may have enough to go on to the next step, and be able to fill in any blanks as you go along. You also might notice a pattern with the pairs you do have.

        Google is your friend. Don't hesitate to use it.

        You should see, even if you are unfamiliar with the paired words, that they do make sense. If not, then you've likely made a mistake, yes.

    I've sat here for hours and tried a number of things and i'm not making any progress. :(

      Where are you up to?

      Have you made any pairs at all?

        Yeah solved it yesterday.

        My main issue was that I didn't even realise that the images actually lined up. So i was trying to find pairs in all 28 words rather than just the possible combinations when you join the pictures together. Stupid mistake and cost me about a day

          How are people getting a question or sentence out of this? I've matched most of the pairs now (although the remaining 2 unmatched pairs don't go together) but I'm not seeing any kind of question or sentence forming.

            My guess is that your pairs arent matched. Hopefully im not spoiling it too much, but each matched pair should have an answer. Once that starts happening you;ll see a way forward.

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