Where The Players Make The Games! "Using 300 characters or less, describe an idea for a Puzzle Clubhouse game in which the player must re-contain escaped ghosts. Be as creative as you can!"Puzzle Clubhouse
is a quirky, comedic web game series
created by video game company Schell Games
with input from a highly involved player community. A new game episode comes out on the first of each month. Between episodes, the community creates, submits, and votes on game concepts, story ideas, artwork, and sound effects for upcoming episodes
The idea behind Puzzle Clubhouse is that making videos games can be a lot of fun, and many players are eager to contribute their ideas, skills, and passion to the game-making process. Launched through Kickstarter
funding, Puzzle Clubhouse is an ongoing experiment in crowd-designed and crowd-supported game development.
Like a comedy improv troupe working with audience suggestions, the development team produces each episode by weaving together a variety of community-generated ideas and content into a cohesive plot. The episodes follow the adventures of practical but puzzle-obsessed Everyman Jasper Jones
and his unpredictable Uncle Cornelius
as they explore Puzzle Clubhouse, a place where anything can happen
The development blog
has frequent behind-the-scenes updates from the dev team (particularly on Puzzle Ptuesdays
This website provides examples of:
- Audience Participation: The player community votes to decide the game mechanics, plot points, art, and sounds for upcoming games—and often the options they vote on are submissions from Creative Directors within the community.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The ice cream flavor selection offered by the guardian of the Forbidden Maze of Welcoming.
Maze Guardian: Your choices are: Cyanide, Decapitation, or... Cookie Dough.
- Big Ball of Violence: Whenever lawn gnomes get into a kerfuffle their fight is obscured by clouds of plaster dust.
- Big Labyrinthine Building: It seems likely that even the inhabitants of Puzzle Clubhouse aren't familiar with all its rooms.
- Blatant Lies: In Episode 1, Uncle Cornelius fails to come up with a convincing reason why he's wearing a gnome costume.
Cornelius: "No reason... I don't know, I was chilly... wearing what?"
- Building of Adventure: Jasper's life was boring before he came to Puzzle Clubhouse, but he hasn't had a dull moment since.
- Cast Full of Writers (And Game Developers): The majority of the series' voice talent is provided by Schell Games employees.
- Chekhov's Gun: The (lead) hat Uncle Cornelius is wearing at the beginning of Episode 0.
- Cloudcuckooland: Puzzle Clubhouse follows its own bizarre logic.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Uncle Cornelius and the other denizens of Puzzle Clubhouse, who seem to take even its most outlandish properties for granted.
- The End... Or Is It?: "Could this be the end of Puzzle Clubhouse? Find out next time, on the first episode of... Puzzle Clubhouse!"
- Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Jasper's dead end cubicle job.
- Fox-Chicken-Grain Puzzle: Referenced in a community-submitted decorative fountain that won the vote to become a permanent part of Puzzle Clubhouse's landscaping.
- Freeware Games: All the games and game prototypes on the site are free to play.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: OMG Those frogs got lasers.
- Glory Days: Jasper used to be celebrated for his puzzle-solving prowess.
- Imagine Spot: Laz0r France.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: The first episode alone contains dozens of these, featuring a cat named "Purrcival" and titled "To Gnome Me is to Love Me." A Call for Submissions to get community-generated ghost sound effects was called "Wight Noise."
- Informed Attractiveness: If it weren't for the other characters' reactions to the lawn gnomes, you might never realize how strangely attractive they are.
Jasper: (staring at garden gnome) It's... it's beautiful!
Cornelius: Don't look straight at them! You can get lost in their eyes...
- Kickstarter: In keeping with its theme of community-driven game development, Puzzle Clubhouse was funded through community support.
- Level Editor: Anyone can experiment with creating and testing their own Laz0r Fr0gs levels by following the instructions here.
- Microtransactions: An unusual example—Puzzle Pieces can be bought with real money, but have absolutely no effect on gameplay. Instead, they can be spent to vote on what content and ideas get incorporated into future episodes. Everyone in the Puzzle Clubhouse community also gets free Puzzle Pieces each day they log in.
- Oh Look, More Rooms!: One of the most frequent calls for community content is to submit ideas for wacky new rooms, since the clubhouse seems to have an inexhaustible variety.
- Official Fan-Submitted Content: The website has frequent Calls for Submissions and forum brainstorming threads where community members can get their ideas incorporated into Puzzle Clubhouse canon.
- Open the Iris: Jasper, when gazing into the eyes of the Petalwit Gnome.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Lots of lawn gnomes are creepy... the plaster lawn gnomes surrounding Puzzle Clubhouse are also strangely attractive and criminally lethargic.
- Portal Door: Some of the adjacent rooms in Puzzle Clubhouse are obviously not physically adjacent in space.
- Puzzle Game: Each episode is made up of two animated segments sandwiching a web game, often a puzzle game.
- Sleepwalking: The lawn gnomes in Episode 1—"They're sleepwalking vandals!"
- Straight Man and Wise Guy: Jasper Jones and Uncle Cornelius.
- Surreal Humor: And lots of it.
- Throw It In: The game idea for Episode 0 came from a random comment on the PCH development blog... the dev team decided creating an episode around lazor frogs would be an ideal test of the production cycle prior to the site's launch.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Lazor Frogs!