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Gaming charity challenge leads to Midnight Madness at IET London: Savoy Place

IET London: Savoy Place saw teams of puzzle experts pass through its doors in the small hours of 20 May, as the London STEM venue transformed into an immersive game hub for a 14-hour puzzle race across the capital. 

From dusk until dawn 15 teams of some of the smartest minds in the City battled it out in a series of fiendishly difficult puzzles around London, including a mystery game hosted at Savoy Place.

The overnight Midnight Madness challenge came to the capital for the first time and saw puzzlers face an array of immersive storylines, using over 45 actors and volunteers, before arriving at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) venue at 3am Sunday morning.

The technical puzzle at Savoy Place took competitors over three hours to complete.

Taking over the entire venue and transforming numerous exhibits and rooms, players had to solve a theft mystery to find Newton’s flask.

Casting Savoy Place as a fictional university, the five suspects, played by actors, included professors, rebellious students and the Dean himself. To crack the case, players navigated the libraries and boardrooms of the IET, as well as a set of puzzles that asked them to chase down ringing phoneboxes and talk their way into the crime scene.

As the sun came up and all the evidence was gathered, the teams presented their conclusions to the police, retrieved the flask from the thief and raced on to the secret finish line location.

During the expedition, which also took place in 25 iconic venues across London, the intellectual athletes had to navigate a giant chessboard, while avoiding Mission Impossible style lasers; undertook an occult ceremony on a boat cruising down the Thames; conducted a 40-piece orchestra; painted on Leake Street; solved a puzzle on the 32nd floor of the Gherkin; and finished by racing a pedalo across the Serpentine.

The technical puzzles were designed by William Reynolds, a senior F1 engineer and Member of the Young Professionals Community Committee. 

“Working with IET London: Savoy Place has helped us share and incorporate the many exciting facets that technology and engineering can create amongst the cities workers and public. It also allowed us to create a really immersive challenge for the Midnight Madness contestants,” said Reynolds.

Midnight Madness is in aid of Raise Your Hands, which supports small, effective charities that improve the lives of children across the UK and supported by Goldman Sachs Gives and GAM Investments. 

The challenge at the weekend raised an initial £210,000 for small charities.

Photos: ©Rah Petherbridge Photography