Quest design with RL objects

So I have a conundrum today. for an opening quest in our JtS game we needed a lock box. as we have no funding at this time for game design, I went to Goodwill for the box, hoping to spend less money, but also realizing that this decision would influence the boxes available. but, I also wanted something with character. So goodwill had options (YAY thrift stores!), and I came home with an old slide projector box. TONS of character, easily inked to fit our steampunk symposium motif.

so, the conundrum…..the box included projector slide rectangles, and about 10 old (1960’s we think) slides.
we had not nailed down the puzzle for the lockbox, but we have an idea what will be inside for the subsequent quest. so now that I have the box do I let the physical object and it’s interesting contents dictate the quest, or do I modify the box to meet quest needs? when designing an ARG and actually interacting in a world that can be modified for my purposes, should I let those inanimate objects have a say? this is my conundrum – and either choice will result in similar findings to progress our story forward, but the overall clue for the end of the story will differ significantly. This affords a new way to tell the story, to possibly date the story, to potentially increase engagement with theory so our players will want to continue playing. Importantly, I don’t believe there is a *right* answer to this conundrum. It will now depend on how we want to tell the story, and what type of quest we want our players to solve. So the conundrum really is, now that I have the box, how do I want my players to learn?
on a side note: I’ve been playing around with creative making, so I’m archiving my making on a tumblr page. Once the game launches and people are playing I’ll upload the tumblr post here for your viewing pleasure!

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