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The 2018 Puzzle is a puzzle that started August 30th 2018, and ended on September 3rd, 2018. It consisted of videos uploaded to the Singing Monsters YouTube channel. The videos contained hints to a larger story and eventually led up to the 6th anniversary events and the new Epic Monsters being revealed.

Videos

Five videos were posted to the MSM YouTube channel, each with a unique title, description, and intentionally scrambled video with largely spoken audio.

Video 1

Yt upl seg-xx mmddyy 01010011

Yt upl seg-xx mmddyy 01010011.mov

Upload date: August 30th, 2018
Title: yt_upl_seg-xx_mmddyy_01010011.mov
Description: ⬛⬛R⬛⬛⬛r⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛e⬛⬛⬛e⬛⬛⬛i⬛⬛⬛D⬛⬛⬛W⬛⬛⬛i⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛S⬛⬛⬛⬛i⬛

Video 2

Yt upl seg-xx mmddyy 01010000

Yt upl seg-xx mmddyy 01010000.mov

Upload date: August 31st, 2018
Title: yt_upl_seg-xx_mmddyy_01010000.mov
Description: A⬛⬛⬛c⬛⬛⬛e⬛⬛⬛n⬛⬛⬛v⬛⬛⬛_⬛⬛⬛h⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛r⬛⬛⬛⬛E⬛⬛⬛p⬛⬛⬛⬛t

Video 3

Yt upl seg-xx mmddyy 01000011

Yt upl seg-xx mmddyy 01000011.mov

Upload date: September 1st, 2018
Title: yt_upl_seg-xx_mmddyy_01000011.mov
Description: ⬛_⬛⬛⬛o⬛⬛⬛d⬛⬛⬛t⬛⬛⬛i⬛⬛⬛W⬛⬛⬛_⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛a⬛⬛⬛n⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛u⬛⬛⬛⬛

Video 4

Yt upl seg-xx mmddyy 01000101

Yt upl seg-xx mmddyy 01000101.mov

Upload date: September 2nd, 2018
Title: yt_upl_seg-xx_mmddyy_01000101.mov
Description: ⬛_⬛⬛⬛o⬛⬛⬛d⬛⬛⬛t⬛⬛⬛i⬛⬛⬛W⬛⬛⬛_⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛a⬛⬛⬛n⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛u⬛⬛⬛⬛

Video 5

Yt upl seg-xx mmddyy 01001001

Yt upl seg-xx mmddyy 01001001.mov

Upload date: September 3rd, 2018
Title: yt_upl_seg-xx_mmddyy_01001001.mov
Description: ⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛d⬛⬛⬛I⬛⬛⬛r⬛⬛⬛w⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛.⬛⬛⬛⬛d⬛⬛_⬛⬛_⬛⬛⬛r⬛⬛⬛

Puzzle-solving

It didn't take long after the first video was posted for speculation to appear and for people to try and figure out what these videos meant.

Titles

The titles, made to appear like placeholder filenames, were among the first to be deconstructed. __yt__ was presumed to mean 'youtube' __upl__ 'upload' __seg__ 'segment' __xx__ a numeric placeholder, like 01, 02, etc. __mmddyy__ a date place holder in month day year format __01010011__ a binary code (example given for first video) __.mov__ a common video container format; Apple's QuickTime

While most of these were of little interest, the zeroes and ones were quickly identified as being binary, and with 8 zeroes or ones, resembled a byte. Converting this binary number base to a decimal number base, and then converting that decimal number to a character in the alphabet according to the common ASCII table, a letter could be obtained.

Video binary decimal letter
1 01010011 83 S
2 01010000 80 P
3 01000011 67 C
4 01000101 69 E
5 01001001 73 I

By the time of the third video, speculation was that 'SPC' could spell out "space", which seemed to fit with the first video's visuals, and which the fourth video all but confirmed. However, the fifth video threw a wrench in the works; "SPCEI" could not spell out "space", but it could spell out "SPICE" or "EPICS".

Descriptions

The descriptions of each video looked like random letters with blocks interspersed. When the second video came out, it was quickly determined that the length of the descriptions was the same, and the letters in the second video only appeared where there were blocks in the first, and vice versa. People quickly surmised that the letters should substitute the blocks from previous videos, leading to the following substitution:

Video 1: ··R···r·······e···e···i···D···W···i·····S····i·
Video 2: A···c···e···n···v···_···h·······r····E···p····t
Video 3: ·_···o···d···t···i···W···_·····a···n······u····
Video 4: ···e······_············t···r·_········.·····r··
Video 5: ·······d···I···r···w········.····d··_··_···r···
Result : A_Recorded_Interview_With_Dr._Wardin_E._Spurrit

By the time the third video was released, the text read "A_R·cor·ed··nte·vie·_Wi·h·D···War·in·E··Spu··it", which was easily decoded to "A recorded interview with .... Spurrit", after the Spurrit Statue, although it took until the fifth video for certainty to appear regarding the first name, with most guesses pointing to "Warrin E. Spurrit", rather than "Wardin E. Spurrit".

Video

Each video was intentionally scrambled by the My Singing Monsters channel. While some effects were not easily counteracted (distortion, blurriness, and noise), the primary change was that the pictures appeared inverted in colors - as with a photo negative. Screen captures that undid the inversions, as well as later videos that showed the entire videos in their purported normal colors, made it easier to see that the five videos depicted the following:

Video 1: An apparent desert scene under a night or space sky
Video 2: A hazy mountain range with snow seem from a birds' eye view
Video 3: A hazy forest path scene
Video 4: A castle among flowing hills
Video 5: An underwater scene.

These appeared to be similar to the five Natural Islands: Air, Cold, Plant, Earth, Water (or variations thereon).

The castle in the fourth video, specifically, was identified as being a real life castle: Eilean Donan

Audio

Each video had eerie sounds and ambient sound effects, but consisted largely of the voice of an apparent narrator. The spoken words were sometimes difficult to make out - and no closed captions were available for the YouTube videos, but were transcribed as:

Video 1:
Do you feel as though you've seen everything [there|that] is to see in our world on this Earth? Of course not. And we are talking about an entirely new world only recently uncovered. We can only imagine what's out there to discover. No possibility can be ruled out any longer! As many puzzles as our world holds, this system of islands does not just present new pieces - but a whole new puzzle entirely. Puzzle pieces {repeats 3 times}.

Video 2:
cannot say for sure. But I don't think the environment is given enough credit. We are able to explore areas that we were never able to before. We [have advanced] our capabilities and overcome so many obstacles. And yet, so much is still out of reach. It's my [hypothesis].

Video 3:
What creature is it? The fangs of a tiger, the height of a giraffe - would these not be considered [monstrous|monsters]? When first discovered? We now look at these creatures as things of beauty, with qualities to be admired. And I think we are knowledgeable enough - as a species - to appreciate the same could be said for our new friends; they are less monsters, and more marvels. Do you feel as though {audio cut off}.

Video 4:
I have proposed many times before that the biology at work here supposes a much larger array of permutations than we have recovered. I believe that even [through regular means] we will eventually begin to see rare breeds. Through dormant properties, waiting to be activated. Now, is breeding the only cause to this activation? We cannot say for sure. But I don't think {audio cut off}

Video 5:
It's my hypothesis that as we venture further than ever before, as climates and landscapes become more and more extreme, we will find suitably extreme life forms. The adaptations in these environments must lead to new varieties in order to incorporate variables that we have never even considered. I believe that the term 'monsters' a bit of a misnomer. Yes, some of these musical beings can be a bit shocking to the eyes at first sight. But what creature is it? The fangs of a tiger {audio cut off}

Because some videos ended with words that other videos began with - for example, Video 5's "what creature is it? The fangs of a tiger" ending is also the beginning of Video 3 - each video's could be put into the appropriate order:
Video 4 - Video 2 - Video 5 - Video 3 - Video 1

Using this video order, the earlier binary codes and their decoded letters could also be put in order: E - P - I - C - S

Thus confirming that the keyword was "Epics".

My Singing Monsters social media posts

On September 4th, 2018, the My Singing Monsters social media accounts on e.g. Twitter and Facebook, made post with a text showing that they had been planning this puzzle for a long time: "Noggin was scrolling through our feed and discovered something shocking! Read the first word from each of our tweets since August 20th to find out what has Noggin so rattled."

Doing so yielded the words:
Scaratar Was Just The Beginning Anniversary Month Is About To Get A Little Bit More "Epic"

Thus further cementing the "Epic"/"Epics" theme.

Unscrambled video

On September 4th, 2018, the My Singing Monsters YouTube channel also posted the full, unscrambled video.

A Recorded Interview With Dr. Wardin E

A Recorded Interview With Dr. Wardin E. Spurrit

Upload date: September 4th, 2018
Title: A Recorded Interview With Dr. Wardin E. Spurrit
Description: With the community's help, we've unscrambled the series of mysterious transmissions posted to our channel! They appear to be the lost recordings of Dr. Wardin E. Spurrit, a pioneer in the field of Monster-Handling who possessed some fascinating theories on Monsterkind...
Video: Normal - all five 'puzzle' videos combined without distortions, inverting, noise, and clearer audio, but ending in a large red unfamiliar Monster eye. Audio: The same as for the other five videos, with the following added speech at the end: I think that it is without a doubt that we have only just begun to have our eyes opened.

Solution

Even though the description, video order, and keyword 'EPICS' were discovered by the end, there was still no firm idea as to what 'EPICS' meant; new islands? New monsters like Wublins and Celestials? New type of monsters like the Glowbes? Or a new class of monster, similar to the Rares?

In the end, it took a reveal video posted September 5th, 2018, to make clear that it was a new class of monster; the Epics, potentially even more rare than Rares;

My Singing Monsters Epic Monsters Are Here!

My Singing Monsters Epic Monsters Are Here!

Speculation

Even so, the community has continued to speculate as to the words of Dr. Wardin E. Spurrit.

Of specific note is the statement "I believe that even [through regular means] we will eventually begin to see rare breeds.", which may be interpreted as meaning that Rare Monsters may become available outside events, with the Epics essentially taking their place. If so, this would make it much easier to obtain Rares, and fill the Rare Wubbox, which has led to speculation that an Epic Wubbox is an almost foregone conclusion.

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