Puzzle Clubhouse is a quirky, comedic web game series created by video game company Schell Games, launched through Kickstarter funding. 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. A new game episode would come 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.
Like a comedy improv troupe working with audience suggestions, the development team would then produce 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.
Unfortunately, the series hasn't had any updates for several years now. The first four episodes can still be found and played on the Puzzle Clubhouse website.
This website provides examples of:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Updates on the blog often came on Puzzle Ptuesdays
- 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 2, 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 1.
- 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.
- Glory Days: Jasper used to be celebrated for his puzzle-solving prowess.
- Imagine Spot: Laz0r France.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Several, including a cat named "Purrcival" and episodes with titles like "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...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 2—"They're sleepwalking vandals!"
- Straight Man and Wise Guy: Jasper Jones and Uncle Cornelius.
- Surreal Humor: And lots of it.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Lazor Frogs!