The Mysterious Origins of Mastermind, the Codebreaking Board Game

“THIS IS NOT FUN,” Dan Teitel thought.

Fallout 3 was full of computer terminals, and if a player wanted to hack one, they’d have to beat some minigame abstractly representing the hacking process. Teitel, a programmer at Fallout developer Bethesda, was, in 2007, responsible for implementing the design for that minigame, and he remembers thinking players would just hate it. “It was going to have letters that would appear on the screen and a countdown timer… yet another [video game minigame] that would be panned by gamers as tedious and obtrusive,” he says. “I was no game designer, but I saw it as my duty to improve upon this idea somehow.”

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