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Archive for July, 2008

28
Jul'08

Comic-Con 2008: Resistance is viral

   Posted by: thebruce

Resistance 2

During Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego, many, many things happened.  Viral drops are a growing trend at events such as this, and Year Zero’s headline-making flash-drive-in-bathroom stunts at Nine Inch Nails concerts seems to have opened the ‘flash-flood’ gates.

A number of reports have streamed in of people receiving USB flash drives for various exhibitors – one of which was Sony’s upcoming Playstation 3 game, Resistance 2 – the sequel to Resistance: Fall of Man.

Sony launched their ARG / viral campaign back on July 1st, with a “Popular Technologies” flyer ad in Gamepro magazine, which directed people to GetAWarJob.com.  Since then, numerous videos and content and a few other websites have appeared or been discovered.

But this week at Comic-Con, a few lucky attendees managed to take home a special “America First – America Only” flyer, and a USB flash drive loaded with an image and a video.  The flyer was primarily intending to direct people to AmericaFirstAmericaOnly.com.

But thanks to an unfiction community member, celina63, I managed to acquire the contents of the flash drive.  Neither the image nor the video were ‘new’, at least to the online community already following the campaign, but rather intended to draw Comic-Con attendees/bloggers into the campaign.  The image and video are shown below.

As the video explains, Cassie (Katee Sackhoff!) has been commanded to select individuals from a group of soldiers, who have been transferred to a secret base in Alaska, to undergo a top secret medical experiment – an injection supposedly related to an outbreak of influenza.  But the moral toll the decision is taking on her is too much, and she enlists the help of the online community (hey this is an alternate reality – they had internet in 1950!) to make the decision.

Test subject #2 (the first, shown in the video, was Pvt. Joseph Capelli) has been chosen already – the voting results led to Channing Brown becoming the next injectee.  He was informed on Friday (July 25), and the results of the injection will be made known tomorrow (July 29).
What will happen?

Resistance has a hefty back-story built up from the first PS3 game and other media.  The Resistance 2 ARG looks to expand on the events taking place between the first and second game.

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Categories: ARGs General, Rabbit Hole, Video games

14
Jul'08

T minus x days to ARGfest ’08

   Posted by: thebruce

In less than 5 days now, ARGFest-o-Con 2008 will kick off in Boston, MA.  Last year, ARGfest invaded San Francisco for an awesome weekend of meeting and greeting, joining (most for the first time) community and industry members, puppetmasters and players, lurkers and veterns, young and old, local and foreign, from across the nation and across the continent, ushering in an era of world peace!  Ok… getting carried away.

ARGFest stretches vaguely from Friday through Sunday morning.  People typically arrive anywhere from Thursday through Friday evening, so that entire period is a general social meet and greet and drinkering.  This year, some key elements strengthening ARGFest’s position as an event you don’t want to miss:

  1. Friday night, 42 Entertainment (the company behind the TDK ARG themselves) has graciously sponsored 75 free tickets to see Batman: The Dark Knight at 10:30pm!  Tickets are available first come first served to registered ARGFest attendees, though regular tickets can still be bought while supplies last.
  2. The team behind the Holomove game will be performing a PM chat Friday at 4pm (which also be available online for those not at ARGFest)
  3. There will be a special labyrinth training event in Boston for The Lost Ring ARG on Sunday morning at 11am. Exact location (near the hotel) TBD.
  4. If you’ve been to Boston, there’s an attraction called “The Tomb” for which Jason Chrest of AporiACME has performed some magic, granting special reduced group rates (of up to 12) for the experience.
  5. Of course there’s the meet & greet cocktail party Friday night (before TDK) at the hotel. Who’d want to miss that?
  6. The traditional FestQuest takes place Saturday afternoon!  It’s always a mystery… you never know what’s going to happen… but for some reason it typically ends up gathering everyone for dinner.  Strange.
  7. Thanks to bingo-master BrianEnigma, there may very will be another implementation of Buzzword bingo – Unfiction member Bingo!

Much of this event has been made possible thanks to the gracious sponsorship of:

But with additional sponsorship from other organizations, ARGFest has been made possible again this year, with ever-more exciting content.

The panels and speakers planned for this year, taking place through Saturday’s schedule, include:

  • ARGs and Extended Media Experiences - Evan Jones, Lance Weiler, Yomi Ayeni, Blair Erickson, and Elan Lee
  • Serious and Independent Games – Ken Eklund, Alice Leung, Dave Szulborski, and Brian Clark
  • ARGs and the Rules of Engagement – Steve Peters
  • The Future of Alternate Reality Gaming – A Speech Blitz of 10 individuals with 3 minutes each (oooh)
  • The Expansion of Alternate Reality Gaming into the international arena - Brian Clark, Patrick Moeller, Alexander Serrano, and Geneviève Cardin
  • Long Live Unfiction – Sean C Stacey (who else?)
  • Player to Puppetmaster – Michelle Senderhauf, Andrea Phillips, Lindsay Mills, Jan Libby, and Jonathan Waite
  • Keynote address, The Story Inside: Making ARGs for Fun and Profit  - Dave Szulborski

For full details, how to sign up, where to go, and loads and loads of additional information and excitement, visit the official website: www.argfestocon.com

For other input and details that may not be officially listed (like konamouse’s ARG Museum), see the ARGFest Wiki.

To skip right to signing up (because you’re going to anyway, right?), go now, to the signup page, now!

I am personally arriving in Boston on Thursday evening, hoping to make it to the oh-so-famous Cheers inspiration (Bull and Finch Pub) on Beacon Hill, a few blocks from the official ARGFest hotel.

ARGFest events officially begin Friday night with the meet and greet at the hotel.

Hope to see you there!

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Categories: ARGs General

13
Jul'08

Eklipse Global Deleted

   Posted by: thebruce

A quick two-fer for those of you looking for something to look into, something mysterious, something life-changing?

I recently received a blog comment from haguruma, who links to his blog at kuromoritoshio.blogspot.com, including the following image:

The image also led to EklipseGlobal flickr account.  As a little background, haguruma is one of a number of aliases used by this person.  Pancito did a bit of research at Unfiction.

I also received an email from Tyler Mills earlier, simply reading:

Won’t you help me [decode] this, please?

It also included the following attachment

How does one decode a barcode?  Why, by scouring google for a barcode decoder, of course.  After a bit of searching, and trial and error, the linear decoder demo from Intelcom.ru came through very nicely.  The result?

www.deletedthegame.com

Time to go check it out!  The game itself hasn’t yet started, but launches August 15th and much has happened so far, setting the stage.

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Categories: ARGs General

9
Jul'08

Twenty Questions with Double Twenty

   Posted by: thebruce

Recently I was privileged to be invited to Hollywood to meet with the company Double Twenty, the creative team behind “The Secret Device” – the Alternate Reality Game tied to Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming sequel film Hellboy II: The Golden Army. I was also granted entrance to the special advanced screening of Hellboy II at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood, hosted by Guillermo del Toro himself, on July 1st. Having played “The Secret Device” devotedly, I can certainly say that it successfully had me ramped up for the movie, which I did find quite enjoyable, to say the least! But, this isn’t a movie review…

I had an amazing time meeting the team of Double Twenty and some of their partners for this project, having time to discuss ARGs, Hellboy, HETFET, and many other random topics. I was able to sit down with them and learn more about the company and their practice, and bombard them with questions. Below is the “Double Twenty 20 Questions” session I had with the lead designers, Matt Wolf and Tania Thiele.

GM: Hello and hello! First off, if you could introduce yourself – who you are, what your role is at D20, and, oh I don’t know… your favourite ice cream flavour.

MW: Hello. My name is Matt Wolf, I’m the founder and Creative Director at D20. I’m here with Tania Thiele, she oversees Community Experience for D20. Hmm, favourite ice cream would have to be Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup :)

Continued…

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Categories: ARGs General, Puppetmasters

8
Jul'08

The reports of bees have been greatly exaggerated

   Posted by: thebruce

Reports of new content have been spreading over the webz like wildfire.  As far as I can tell, the spark was lit when a news article was posted at bungie.net’s Compound Intelligence group, reporting that ilovebees.com content had been updated. It was redacted quickly, once it had been noted that the content was in fact the same.  But the flame had already caught, and discussion continues, and news is spreading.

Hate to break it to everyone, but ilovebees.com hasn’t changed.

Now, there may truth to the rumour that Bungie may be doing something on July 14th, the beginning of the E3 Expo, as per this exchange between Brian and Luke of Bungie in their latest podcast:

Brian: Isn’t there something going on on July 14th or something like that?
Luke: Yeah, around then.
Brian: Somehow that’s sticking in my head for some reason. Guess we’ll have to see.
Luke: Yep, we’ll just have to be patient. Who could say?

There may also be something about to happen as reported about 1019foxfm.net which is displaying this familiar text box with some minor adjustments, including a countdown to July 17th, 7:17pm:

However, even after all this, no – ilovebees.com hasn’t changed.  WAV files, audio, images, all are just as they’d been left – and still counting down to November 9th, 2552.

(now just my luck, 42 will come along and update the website :P)

That said, mark off July 14th (and July 17th, for that matter), and watch for… something.

UPDATE: The 1019Foxfm.net countdown has been adjusted to August 7th, and is no longer indicating July 14th.

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Categories: Puppetmasters, Viral General

7
Jul'08

I’m in ur Ingen, geneticizing your biologies

   Posted by: thebruce

In the past, researchers were lauded and honored for curing a single disease. But what if we could cure ALL illness? No more cancer, no more HIV virus, no more ebola… The suffering of millions could be lifted with a single injection. A working strain of Intragen will mean the end of all disease as we know it.

Brave words we hear all too often from genetic biologists these days. Most recently, it comes from IngenBio.

The owner of that twitter account is recording comments, thoughts, messages, all related to experimentation on this cure-all drug Intragen.  But where is it leading?

IngenBio’s website (IngenBio.com of course) contains some background on the company, including an image of their headquarters.

The site’s whois information lists PCBProductions.com as the primary contact.  Checking their site, we find that Contagion, an industrial band, references “40-CFR-761″ – a log code series repeatedly mentioned in IngenBio tweets, along with mentions of video logs in the IngenBio archive.

Archive.ingenbio.com leads to much more “eyes only” information about the company, and Dr. Leonard J. Kendall, Ingen Bio – Senior Director of Applied Biotechnology.  He apparently died in a lab fire on April 16, 1995.  Many test subjects have undergone treatment of the experimental drug, most of whom are now ‘deceased’.

Sending an email to kendall@ingenbio.com returns this reply:

CLASSIFIED
>>INGEN BIO ARCHIVE – EYES ONLY PERSONNEL
INTRAGEN ITC LOG RECORD Recovered video log fragments: 40:CFR1 – 40:CFR40. Kendall, Dr. Leonard J.
- Restored from Kendall lab Fire 04-16-95
<<Kendall>>

Kendall, Evelyn – Surveillance record: incomplete
Thorne, Garrett ? Quarantine Holding. Control 9 – Intragen ITC Adjuvant testing

INFEX Status – UNKNOWN
Secure server login: http://www.infex.tv
978-0-615-21243-2

Returning to PCBProductions, we also find that Infex is a graphic novel in development by Keith Arem and Brandon Humphreys.  It also links to Infex.tv.

A recent IngenBio tweet includes the cryptic phrase: 32.7075.117.1638>32.42.5>117º, 9.8mW>08.07.23
Breaking it down, it’s composed of a number of components:

  1. 32.7075.117.1638 is 32.7075, -117.163  (decimal GPS coordinates)
  2. 32.42.5>117º, 9.8 is 32° 42.5′, -117° 9.8′  (latitude/longtitude)
  3. 08.07.23 is 2008/07/23 – July 23

Other tweets are numbers indicating a countdown which appears to end at midnight GMT, July 24.
Locating the coordinates above, we’re taken to the San Deigo Convention Center, July 23.  The countdown time in local time would be 5pm, July 23.

The San Diego Comic Con event is being held July 24-27.  What mysteries shall be revealed about Infex and IngenBio?

PCB Productions in currently in pre-production on the new Contagion project, INFEX™. Based on the upcoming Graphic Novel created by Keith Arem and Brandon Humphreys.

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Categories: ARGs General, Books

1
Jul'08

(A) Lost Ring Found!

   Posted by: thebruce

One of the 5 lost rings has been recovered!  Or is that one of the 6?

The first ring, “La Sesa Ringo”, was recovered from Wellington, NZ yesterday, after receiving tips from TheO(pposition) about its location.  The Lost Ring is believed to be composed of portions of each of the 5 rings – a composite sculpture made long ago.

This NZ ring was located by solving the tips heard in a private voicemail message left by TheO:

This is Theo agent Dewaldewaard with a report about the transport of La Sesa Ringo, ring number one. The former location of number One was 35,402 stadia in the direction of Hestia 12 from Omphalos number 8. From there, I have shifted the ring 13,550 stadia in the direction of Hestia 7.8. From next Tuesday the ring will be hidden in clear daylight in a gallery in the center of a three circuit left-running labyrinth with a width of 5.51 stadia, where the entrance of the labyrinth falls together with the Tattoo Museum and the cross of the labyrinth is located under an angle of Zeus 12. In order to get hold of the ring, you have to give the ring keeper a password.

Tell the ring keeper the name, according to Hesiod, of the first monster born from the two-headed dog and his sister, who were both born to the mate of the last-born son of our present pan-cosmological state.

After intensive analysis and discussion about where the instructions lead, a team of players in NZ met at the Pop Up Gallery, 57 Ghuznee St (the green peg seen here) and gave the password: Sphinx – ultimately uncovering the first ring.

Around the inside are messages in Braille and Esperanto.

As of this writing, the 2nd ring is in play, somewhere.  Where is it located?  If you can understand this voicemail, join the hunt!  (even if you don’t understand, still join the hunt :)

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General