Theory11, JJ Abrams and the Mystery Puzzle Box
by Alex J Coyne
The horror movie Hellraiser features one of the most famous (and probably one of the most unpleasant) puzzle boxes of all time. Theoretically, anything marked with a “?” in Super Mario Bros is another type of puzzle box – and well, there’s the movie Se7en. There was a puzzle and a box in that, too.
Puzzle boxes are a pretty good metaphor for human curiosity: We all want to know, what’s in the box? We can’t help but look as a stop to our curious nature – and it’ll usually bother us until we know. Overall, puzzle boxes can be a lot of fun. So much so that film director JJ Abrams collaborated with one of the world’s largest playing card manufacturers to bring the JJ Abrams Mystery Box to life. Check it out:
Introducing The JJ Abrams Mystery Box
JJ Abrams is best known for his frontiers into the Star Trek and Star Wars film franchises and the creation of Lost. As a director, he understands the power of the “big reveal” factor that lies behind successful magic and great stories, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to us that his other interests involve puzzle boxes and playing cards.
First, it started with a TED Talk by Abrams on how puzzle boxes relate back to being able to tell a story.
He’s also written an essay for Wired that describes where his love for magic and mystery came from in the first place.
This love for puzzle boxes resulted in a collaboration between the filmmaker and playing card company Theory 11.
Who is Theory11?
Theory11 is one of the world’s largest producers of playing cards – to card players, casinos, stage magicians and anyone else who might need a card deck.
It goes without saying that they’re known for high quality playing cards (and cards in every single variety you can imagine). For first-time decks, fancy decks, average decks, regulation decks, reproduction decks and even special trick decks, it’s likely that Theory11 is the place where you’ll go to find it.
If the Weasley twins had a real-life store where you could get lost in for hours, this would be it.
The company itself is headed by Jonathan Bayme, first known as a strategist for the US Playing Card Company and secondly as a writer and consultant for magicians like David Copperfield.
Of course, that’s not all: There are many other great thinkers, magicians and card players listed under their Staff page – all with biographies – and they have a separate page to showcase their more than 1, 500 artists and designers that includes names like Spidey, Jason England and Apollo Robbins.
Their extensive artist and designer page can be found here.
After that, browse through their selection of playing cards to be amazed.
So what’s in the box?
And appropriately, containing card decks.
According to the description on Theory11:
The decks are housed in a handcrafted wood box made of 100 year old reclaimed wood. Each lockbox is iron-branded and locked with an alpha-numeric combination. The lockbox includes a letterpressed note from J.J. Abrams enclosed in a kraft paper envelope stamped with a black wax seal. Each box is handcrafted.
With obviously limited stock, the puzzle boxes can be viewed on the Theory11 Store website (with link to purchase them).
You’re also welcome to ogle at any number of classic Unboxing videos available on YouTube– or order one and post your own.