David Pisa (he/him) is a freelance puzzle designer. He has developed original large-scale puzzles for Walking Shadow Theatre Company's immersive plays 1926 Pleasant, Saboteur (featured on GameInformer), and Cabal. His escape room UTOPIA (created with Jerry Belich for Riddle Room) was the recipient of a 2017 Golden Lock-In Award from Room Escape Artist. David has created day-long, week-long and one-room treasure hunts for various organizations. Projects include CITY OF GLASS for MN0PQ, CLEVER TREASURE PUZZLE PARTY for the 38th and Chicago Pop Up Art Storefront Project, the story and puzzles for MYSTERYPHONE (a smartphone-based choose-your-own-adventure game) for Northern Spark 2014 in collaboration with Monkey With a Mustache, and puzzles and games for Hennepin County Library's THE NIGHT LIBRARY at Northern Spark 2016 and 2017, plus private commissions.
David is Executive Director and a founding member of Walking Shadow Theatre Company. He has served as Production Manager for all of Walking Shadow’s productions since its inception in 2004. He has worked as backstage crew and followspot operator at Children’s Theatre Company since 2000, where he served as the IATSE union steward for 6 years.
My puzzle philosophy is to develop challenging but satisfying experiences that encourage cooperation and create a sense of discovery and accomplishment.
Puzzles are satisfying when there is an "Aha!" moment -- when the unwritten rules of a puzzle gradually reveal themselves; when a player tries an experiment without knowing where it might lead, and discoveres a new layer of information; when a player who has been stuck suddenly sees a challenge in a new light; when a group of individuals suddenly become a team and arrive at a solution.
I am intrigued by the group dynamics of people solving puzzles. Both within groups of people working together, and between people competing against each other. What happens when a puzzle requires you to rely on someone else? How do different learning styles and ways of thinking combine or conflict? When do people choose to share or withhold information?