Archive for October, 2008

17
Oct'08

It’s alive! A lone beacon of hope (updated!)

   Posted by: thebruce

It has a pulse… Is Project Abraham back?  Is the AAA alive and kicking?

The Alliance for American Autonomy left us over a month and a half ago, having gone underground after being discovered by the government.  But there was also a fax-like machine left where the ‘Tip Box’ used to be.  Now… the “waiting” light has a pulse.

So now, we wait…

UPDATE! (Oct 20) – The website has been updated with a list of cities, and a countdown to Monday October 27 at 3pm Eastern (noon Pacific).

Tags: , ,

Categories: ARGs General, Video games

10
Oct'08

You say you want a revolution

   Posted by: thebruce

Well, you know, we all want to change the world. But this revolution is within crisis having been forced underground, and will be untelevised.

An email was received the other day (seriously, email is like an emergency help-me hotline) from revolution8308@aol.com containing a strange strings of ones and zeros secret binary message, that decrypts to:

I hope you get this meSsage. I’ve been floating for weeks without an anchor, and I finally had To make my own home on Jesse’s old webpage, therevolutionuntelevised.blogspot.com. I fear that AnarchY follows you where ever you go, but that Is far beyoNd the point.
Please tell my SIster, Do not worry about mE. I can TrutHfully fEnd for mYself. These ARE hard times, my faithful COMpanIoN.
I need to Go. Please respond quickly.

An astute obsserver would notice the capitals, which eerily spell out: “STAY INSIDE THEY ARE COMING”.  Spooky…

From here, we’re led two directions – the link in the message is to a blog, therevolutionuntelevised, containing (at the time of writing) a single entry transmission by “J.A.”, expressing hope that it’s being read.  That is all.  Well, actually he commented after posting, saying:

If you want to help, Try finding eitHEr Finn or AllY. Those two ARE probably your best bet. But Don’t even try Arguing with AllisoN, she’ll GEt youR brain in a knOt. Her and Us UndergrounderS, we like codes.

Codes, like messages in capitals… hey speaking of capitals, there’s a bunch here, once again spelling out “THEY ARE DANGEROUS”.  …Who is “They”?  They are coming, and They are dangerous!  I seem to recall a documentary in theatres recently on these “They” people.

Second, a quick google of the email address also leads to another top secret public blog – revolutionwthincrisis, containing another transmssion #1, but this is from the U.N.D.E.R.G.R.O.U.N.D., labeled S.T.A.G.E. 1:

EMERGENCY TRANSMISSION 1:
 
Havenwood is collapsing around us. We’ve been forced underground by Stephen and his allies. If you’re recieving this, assistance is required. Repeat, this is a distress call. Assistance is required.

Well, after responding to revolutions8308, Esteed received another transmission:

Oh, thank goodness for human contact, even if it’s not Finn. You can call me J. I was…how should I say this…separated from my sister Hana and my host body (who we’ll call A.) about a week ago. I’ve been wandering in confusion ever since, trying to make contact without the other side knowing. I can’t tell you everything about them now, but be wary of a man called Stephen. HE IS DANGEROUS. FIND FINN AND ALLISON IF YOU CAN. THEY CAN HELP.

This message will self-destruct in 30 seconds. Not really.  But it should. That would be cool for an email.

Find Finn!  Find Allison!  Help J, and A, and stay away from They!

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Rabbit Hole

9
Oct'08

Gearing up

   Posted by: thebruce

(note: this article’s contents are updated regularly as new findings are reported)
Last Update: (Nov 25, 9:40amET)

AKQA is at it again. This time, They’ve created an online viral for Gears Of War 2 – following a similar experience as Halo 3′s Believe campaign, their GOW promo site flies through a disaster zone, providing glimpses into the story, characters, and dramatic events from the GOW universe – in the form of videos, images, and audio clips.

They’ve also incorporate the community viral trick in that various members of the gaming and blogging community (from individual forum members to Wired) have received packages in the mail – large, heavy, COG gears – each labeled with a unique code to enter on the viral site.

Once entered, a special ‘easter egg’ asset is unlocked, and certain ‘stops’ in the fly-through become unlocked. As expected, Gears communities are abuzz with these findings.

I’ve gone searching for the CSID codes myself, and have them listed them below, with the sources as best I can determine (I will try to keep the list updated!). Go check out the viral site at gearsofwar.xbox.com/lastday and try the codes!

BONUS POPUP CONTENT CSIDs:

AVATAR 1
  088342-YFTVD-EL = Trina @ GamingAngels
AVATAR 2
AVATAR 3
AVATAR 4
  995241-QMEFA-EL = Rajio?
  973744-5ZCGK-EL = Rajio
AVATAR 5
  617461-ZMTDP-EL = Andy @ BreakingTheGame
AVATAR 6
  129514-OH1IK-EL = Frank Caron @ ArsTechnica
  519404-VQ180-AO = DeaconBlade @ Unscripted360
  514892-SCJHD-AO = Cyberflame @ EpicGames
AVATAR 7
  984883-3ZGKW-AO = Parris @ TalkingAboutGames
  732502-XP7XT-EL = Nate Ahearn @ IGN
AVATAR 8
AVATAR 9
  807081-DJ2T2-EL = Dustin Burg @ Xbox360Fanboy
AVATAR 10
  359406-33W0C-AO = Mastaglach820 @ EpicGames
AVATAR 11
  059349-VPC2K-AO = Goverland @ EpicGames
AVATAR 12
  900629-EHE0S-AO = ThrillsKilla @ TheXboxDomain
  193383-LKR92-EL = ?
AVATAR 13
  529369-BLXIL-EL = DesignJockey @ GamertagRadio
  463060-V9N93-PM = Hilary @ IGN
AVATAR 14
  913018-ZSFBM-EL = MDK @ GearheadsOfWar
  362010-LGXR9-WI = Deadpixels
COLE AVATAR
  356404-CB1RH-JP = Isakazo @ Blamefm
ASCII 1
ASCII 2
  895575-B851V-EL = Wired
  078567-J7RGW-AO = Godfree @ GamertagRadio
  115190-6VE5T-AO = FragMaster B @ LagXBL
  216410-HHUIN-EL = Drea Avellan/Pinksage @ Beetstro.com
  484014-RSCQO-AO = "Club 108" on Xbox Live
  524398-NGV5V-AO = Peench @ PregameLobby
  329279-DN5XS-AO = Nick @ Co-Optimus
  125135-KETX3-AO = P0werup
  198605-FTCGK-AO = Hooligunn
  032507-E7QTM-AO = simburgur
  155067-4SVR1-AO = MechaNecro
DERRICK 1
  427363-BTA2N-AO = SergeantMajorFury
DERRICK 2
  524701-IZWEI-AO = Aceattorney @ Teamxbox
DERRICK 3
  836452-IO6AR-GJ = ModernDevil
LASTDAY 1
  750497-ELJW7-JP = _Linx (russian)
LASTDAY 2
  581647-M5BYO-EL = DjDaTZ @ 360sync.com
LASTDAY 3
  309952-HL6CK-AO = Fourzerotwo
  000473-IEIM1-EL = Docta Splatta
  085177-MJ3V5-PB = Collectible within GOW2 (Act 1.2 and 2.4)
  838186-22A03-SF = Collectible within GOW2 (Act 2.6)
  911706-DZUHO-JN = Collectible within GOW2 (Act 5.2)
LASTDAY 4
  914237-8LCVH-AO = GUI J @ Gamerspub
  134513-2BRL6-AO = XanthViper @ JoystickWidow
  535128-INQXP-EL = AOWWaterborn @ 2old2play
  069268-N1BJW-AO = 360 Prophecy ep. 39
DOORLOGO 1
DOORLOGO 2
  467253-JJFQA-TE = Team Bay Area
  275720-GGWOU-7K = SoupNazzi @ 2old2play
  389041-9Y07E-1X = Porkfry
  700660-FC906-EL = thebruce @ Wikibruce
COMIC WILDSTORM
  465928-U425T-IR = within Gears of War 2 comic
Errors:
  212238-VXNUP-AO = DirtyDiva @ GamerscoreBlog (code invalid?)
Other video game CSIDs:
  59 550 60GK8C6-9A = Collectible within GOW2 (Act 1.5)
  444526-MI2K9-3B = Collectible within GOW2 (Act 5.4)

Reports with no codes:
  Jonas Allen @ DailyGame (photos w/censored csid)
  GamerDNA
  Collette @ Destructoid (passed to ThunderHeartXI)

sixokay has also been posting images of the received COG Gears on flickr (click here)

UPDATE: It appears that GPS coordinates are now showing up throughout the interface. A number have been found and listed in the official Gears of War forum (listed below). Reports are that real-world COG gears need to be found at these locations to unlock special content on the promo site.

UPDATE: xlRagnarlx reports at epicgames that he and Guy The Ace found and unlocked the COG tag located in Budapest. His CSID unlocked the first ‘tab’ on the promo site. Tabs 2, 3, and 12 were previously unlocked by other people, but xlRagnarlx is the first to report on his findings.

TAB #1 – “Broadcast Dish” UNLOCKED by L (xl Ragnar lx and Guy The Ace)
- FOUND: 39.4441, -119.7045 (Reno, NV) – [GearinUpAllDayyy, mouleman23]
- FOUND: 47.4261, 19.0000 (Budapest) – [L]
- FOUND: 34.1365, -118.3520 (Universal Studios, CA, Citywalk) – [?]
TAB #2 – “Arcade Cabinet” UNLOCKED by P3t3rM4rwood
TAB #3 – “Wheelchair” UNLOCKED by Fyroegef
TAB #4 – “Phone” UNLOCKED by ChiefWiggum
- FOUND? 37.7879, -122.4070 (Union Square, SanFran.) – [?]
- FOUND: 47.6521, -122.3065 (Seattle, WA) – [ChiefWiggum]
- FOUND: 41.2533, -95.9295 (Omaha, NB) – [Atom1cllama, dongcopter]
- FOUND: N51.5178, -0.0949 (London, UK) – [Gee of War]
TAB #5 – “King Raven” UNLOCKED by SAFI
- FOUND: 37.6242, -122.4081 (San Bruno) – [GearsGirl]
- FOUND? 47.5605, 19.0597 (Budapest) – [xl Ragnar lx]
TAB #6 – “” UNLOCKED by EnforcerX19
TAB #7 – “Body” UNLOCKED by Bushmaster
- FOUND: 37.838248, -122.262351 (Berkeley, CA) – [Bushmaster]
TAB #8 – “Fueling Station” UNLOCKED by Avatrix
- FOUND: 42.3461, -71.0978 (Fenway Park, Boston) – [Avatrix]
- FOUND: 34.1302, -118.3489 (Hollywood) – [?]
TAB #9 – “” UNLOCKED by TheFord
- FOUND: 39.9559, -75.1468 (Philadelphia, St.George’s) – [TheFord]
- MISSING: 40.729568, -73.996506 (NYC, Washington Square)
TAB #10 – “” UNLOCKED by KalieApple
- FOUND: 39.9559, -75.1897 (Philadelphia, Drexel University) – [Katie]
- MISSING: 51.5167, -0.0732 (London, UK)
TAB #11 – “Stop N Go Diner” UNLOCKED by IANATASS
- FOUND: 37.7778, -122.3888 (San Francisco) – [Exo, IANATASS]
TAB #12 – “Mural” UNLOCKED by Roberto
- FOUND: 39.7564, -5.0092 (outside Madrid) – [Roberto]
TAB #13 – “Leaflets” – UNLOCKED by DarkestJamesG
- FOUND: 51.4617, -0.9368 (Reading, UK) – [DarkestJamesG]
TAB #14 – “Time Capsule” UNLOCKED by TBEpicForum
- MISSING: 42.311033, -83.069233 (Windsor/Detroit, ON)
TAB #15 – “” UNLOCKED by NikNak
TAB #16 – “Lancer” UNLOCKED by MrsParks
TAB #17 – “Posters” UNLOCKED by Daniel
TAB #18 – “” UNLOCKED by NikNak
- FOUND: 43.2930, 5.3632 (Marseille, France)
TAB #19 – “Letters” UNLOCKED by Harold
- FOUND: 40.758816, -73.984573 (NYC, Times Square) – [luiek20]
TAB #20 – “Journal” – UNLOCKED by Valarmorghulis3
TAB #21- “Heart Monitor” UNLOCKED by RedEvilDragon
- FOUND: 43.6956, -79.3959 (Toronto, ON) – [Red Evil Dragon]
TAB #22 – “” UNLOCKED by DramaticLemurs
- FOUND: 51.4105, -0.3018 (London, Eden and Fairfield)
TAB #23 – “Derrick” UNLOCKED by TaxiSquad27
- FOUND: 40.764748, -73.973114 (NYC, Central Park) – [TaxiSquad27]
TAB #24 – “” UNLOCKED by LintMachine
TAB #25 – “Ammo Case” UNLOCKED by Exo
- FOUND: 47.6532, -122.3060 (Seattle, WA) -[NataSS]
TAB #26 – “” UNLOCKED by Boogle

UNKNOWN TAB

- MISSING: 39.949503, -75.146784 (Philadelphia, near Liberty Bell/Chestnut/4th)
- MISSING: 47.650917, -122.347333 (Seattle, WA, Hwy 99 bridge, troll)
- FOUND: 39.949274, -75.171698 (Philadelphia, Rittenhouse Sq.) – [IAmTimO]
- FOUND: 39.96521, -75.179327 (Philadelphia, Francisville) – [Docta Splatta]
- FOUND: 40.735394, -73.990776 (NYC, Union Square) – [ChrisA9]
- FOUND: 42.352776, -71.074634 (Boston, MA) – [avatrix]
- FOUND: 42.358432, -71.091585 (Boston, MA) – [avatrix]
- FOUND: 37.240657, -121.969351 (Los Gatos, CA) – [Aphostile]
- FOUND: 34.1369, -118.1231 (Pasadena, CA) – [?]

LOCATED BONUS CONTENT COGS
- FOUND: 40.758560, -73.976730 (NYC, St. Patrick’s) – [ModernDevil]
- FOUND: 33.0352, -96.6613 (Plano, TX) – [SoupNazzi]
- FOUND: 42.361267, -71.057596 (Boston, MA) – [AOWWaterborn]
- FOUND: 37.826807, -122.4228 (Alcatraz) – [Team Bay Area]
- FOUND: Mailed to PlatformNation.com – [Steve519]

CSIDs for COG tags that unlock tabs in the promo sie:

UNLOCKABLE CONTENT CSIDs:

677002-T427V-WK = Budapest - xl Ragnar lx, Guy The Ace
196580-VKB1B-0J = London, UK - Gee of War
778786-TQOQR-OF = Omaha, NB - Atom1cllama, dongcopter
329307-KZD3O-PQ = Fenway Park, Boston - Avatrix
577694-LZR6S-ID = San Francisco - Exo (+IANATASS)
734948-2HSO7-IB = Berkley, CA - BushMaster
692337-K1TWD-5Q = Seattle, WA - Exo, NataSS
611701-Z80W3-NG = Toronto, ON - Red Evil Dragon
389857-LRH2J-40 = (PlatformNation.com, Seattle, WA) - Steve519
756321-AHTEF-9Z = (EpicGames GOW2 Forum Community)
988985-R65YY-SQ = New York City, NY - TaxiSquad27
890856-9IQBY-MI = (Reading, UK) - DarkestJamesG
(unreported) = Seattle, WA - ChiefWiggum
(unreported) = Boston, MA (MIT) - Avatrix
(unreported) = Boston, MA (Commonwealth) - Avatrix

* Errors:
(invalid code?) = Reno, NV - GearinUpAllDayyy, mouleman23
(invalid code?) = San Bruno, CA - GearsGirl
(invalid code?) = Los Gatos, CA - Aphostile
?5?C??-GCY25-6U = E For All - Doomstick (invalid ID)

UPDATE: More COG tags have been showing up in other countries through their local gaming sites. The effect of their CSIDs on the promo isn’t yet confirmed, but are likely bonus content.

SOME INTERNATIONAL COG TAGs:

HUNGARY - reference
47°29'58.55"N 19° 2'45.74"E
46°05'56.26"N 18°13'11.96"E
46°15'17.44"N 20° 9'57.71"E
46°54'01.98"N 19°40'26.65"E

SPAIN
VALENCIA - reference (John Lol - pic)
BARCELONA - reference (Xavi Robles - pic)
ZARAGOZA - reference (Aimé Villa - pic)
ALICANTE - reference 

UPDATE: Here are some additional game-related links for the sake of completion.

Enjoy!

Tags: , ,

Categories: Video games, Viral General

9
Oct'08

infected

   Posted by: thebruce

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Movies

7
Oct'08

Virtual Virtues Vividly Voices Vexingly Viral Values

   Posted by: thebruce

 

The Alternate Reality Gaming genre has remained virtually untouched by mainstream / contemporary Christianity, it seems.  This doesn’t include, however, the trendy use of Bible verses that show up almost commonplace for poetic purposes, spiritual themes, emphasis of good vs evil, etc.  It’s a time-honoured tradition found in movies, tv, video games, books, and virtually any creative medium in use today, wihout necessarily being religious in nature.  So to have a Christian ARG - not a mock piece, not satirical (as opposed to religion, that is) – but an ARG built/sponsored by Christians, in an overwhelmingly secular entertainment/marketing genre, is rare.

Recently, Christian author Ted Dekker promoted his book series the Lost Books of History with a well-produced ARG. It attracted flocks of Dekker fans to the in-game forums and to Ted’s own forums, gained some new fans (such as yours truly, who ended up purchasing the books) and in the end a final gathering was enjoyed by many fans.

Another campaign for a youth event got off to a rocky start – “Everything is going to change” was the catch phrase, and their attempt to gain attention for their website via youtube videos tagged with popular ARG phrases and names, earned it a fairly bad reputation from the start in the ARG community, as if it were attempting to ‘piggy-back’ off the popularity of other games.

Today, a new controversy has opened to the public.  But this one’s a bit different…after a little digging.

When the trailhead was first posted at Unfiction, I was very, very skeptical. Citizens of Virtue claims to be a Christian organization that is beginning a campaign to “educate the world on God-sanctioned morality”, based on the “classic seven virtues”: Temperance, Patience, Chastity, Kindness, Humility, Diligence, and Charity.  That’s not too bad given the context.  But after reading more detail on the website, such as their convictions, written letters, their accomplishments, etc, the organization comes off more and more as a ‘right wing’ conservative organization – one that isn’t typically viewed very highly in the public’s eyes, with some shady goings-on behind the scenes.

“CoV” is also the maker of a drug they’ve named “Passionix” – “the innovative new solution to the passions that can override the judgment of our youth and lead them into temptation.”  (a product eerily reminiscent of another recent local ‘drug’ campaign called “Obay“).

CoV also runs a camp called Camp Francis.  All seems well and good, if it weren’t for some worrisome / possibly satirical letters and content from past campers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,

Categories: ARGs General, Books