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Archive for the ‘Grassroots’ Category

31
Jul'12

The Baron’s Archive begs attention (updated)

   Posted by: thebruce

When the ARGFest fires are lit and burning, the ARG wheels keep on turning! Late last week, Wikibruce received a package in the mail containing some time-sensitive content, with a message dated July 13.

Unfortunately, by the time it was received, the deadline for retrieval of July 20 had long passed. @Wikibruce then received word from @FelicityVelius that the deadline had been extended two weeks. From July 20, that means the following task must be completed by August 3rd — 3 days as of the time of this writing.

Here, outlined, are the contents of this package…

The “Package”

Lots of stamps

Envelope reverse…

 

GPS coordinates: 31.526805, -97.170242
These land on a UPS Store in Waco, Texas.

Package contents…

 

Two envelopes – one addressed to Wikibruce, the other to Mr.Eugene McKinstry.
* Post marked Chicago ILL, Dec 20 10am, 1912
* To 1010 James St., Seattle Washington

Letter number 1…

 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dearest Wikibruce:
I have followed your work with interest. Enclosed is a key and directions.

My time is running out, you will not hear from me again.

Open the box by July 20.

Yours, Felicity
(meow)

The deadline, via contact, has been extended to August 10th.

Letter number 2…

 

The card reads:

A Merry Christmas
Tis sweet to be remembered, if only with a thought,
So am sending you kind wishes that never could be bought.
( Grace )

The post-it note reads:

F-
This is all I could get out of the Archive. They’ve been at it for a while, huh?
-D

A message to Grace…

 

Hand-written message reads:

My Dear Colleague,

How blessed we are to reside in a land with a reliably prompt and private post. You will be pleased to hear that our commodity reallocation plan is proceeding according to schedule. Heavy investment in Steel, Rubber, Copper and Crude Oil should serve us well through the close of this Decade. If you have not already done so, our dear friend, Baron R. who I have been told is quite well though advanced in years, suggests a gradual sale of any European consumer based assets before the close of 1913.
To Our Continued Success, E. Harrison

Handling notes:
To be destroyed by or collected upon the death of recipient
A147-1B-1912

Copyright closer look…

 

No. 4 M.
Copyright, 1912.
Canterbury Series
WA-WildeCo-Boston-Chicago

What we can gather from this mailing is that there is an archive of “European consumer based assets” originally from ~1911-13 that were being distributed, which were likely in the possession of “Baron R” and being handled by “Grace” and “E Harrison” (the writer of the message). The letter was sent to “Mr Eugene McKinstry” in Seattle (per the envelope) in 1912, which was only recently sent to “F” (Felicity) from “D” (unknown). Felicity then in turn mailed the retrieval instructions to Wikibruce.

The question is – how will Wikibruce retrieve the box with the key by August 10th?  Any suggestions?

Felicity also has a blog herself at FelicityVelius.com and lives socially at @FelicityVelius and on Facebook.

I wonder what’s in that lock box…

[Update Aug 1]

Felicity has made contact again and relieved the stress on the deadline. Retrieval must now be done ASAP. *phew*  The wheels are turning…

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Grassroots, Rabbit Hole

5
Jun'12

The launch of a new high culture fashion trend?

   Posted by: thebruce

Monday was a slow day… But then it started looking up when a package (beware, this word will be used extensively throughout this report) was found delivered to the doorstep of Wikibruce! This package was bulky, but light and soft. My eyes were drawn to the corner, whereupon a 2×3 collage of… well, perhaps you should take a look at the photos below, and see what you can make of it…

The “Package”

Shipped from Toronto, this, umm, package sports on its cover a colourful array of pantalons in various states of undress.

The note…

 

A note that reads [sic]:

To Who It Concers: I Like The Cut Of Your Jibb. Join My Team Dont Delay!! Apply Today!!!

Yours Jud

The package also contained another single strip (pun not intended) collage of states of undress.

Tighty Whities…

 

Unfolded from within its envelope was a pair of fresh tighty whities. And, smack on the sweet spot, yes indeed – a QR code. Just when you thought they couldn’t be placed anywhere worse.

They put a QR code on it.

The QR code on it…

 

A closeup of the QR code on it – on the package, within the package.

Blinded by its majesty, I threw caution to the wind and scanned the QR code on it. This in turn led me to:

PutAQRCodeOnIt.com/splash.html

On this website, plain and simply, the visitor is greeted by this snippy little video:

View on Youtube

Lo and behold, at the end of the video, they put another QR code on it.  This one, of course, begins a trail of happytime QR codes which reveals a series of web pages:

(the following has been updated since initially postedapparently a mistake in the puzzle was fixed)

Now, firstly, each of these QR codes are comprised of both blue and black dots. Each these (including the home page) have blue dots spanning a central horizontal column.

Out of healthy curiosity, one can choose to combine the blue dots, as depicted in the result below. (only 3 have been combined in the image below, so you get the idea)

It seems pretty clear that a word is forming in the center.  Which, conveniently, may well play into this next puzzle:

The final page of the above trail, putaqrcodeonit.com/hiding, presents a hexagonal dial leading to six private, locked videos, each requiring a password. The webpage title reads “cyche“.

Could the blue dots form the password?

Viral Verdict

There’s something creepy afoot here. Someone has a thing for underwear, and QR codes. This may be a very volatile combination… on the other hand, it could be the start to a highly entertaining promotion for a new high culture fashion trend.

Yet these questions remain:

  1. Who is “Jud”?
  2. Who is on his/her team?
  3. Where is he/she hiding?
  4. What are the video passwords?
  5. Should I wear the tighty whities?
  6. What secrets am I hiding?

I leave these up to you (most of them), oh wondrous ARG community!  Tear this thing apart. Get to the bottom of it all. No time to waist bandying about!

If you have any input or solutions, please post your comments below, or visit the Unfiction forums and join in the discussion.

Don’t forget to wear your tighty whities!

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Categories: ARGs General, Grassroots, Miscellaneous Products, Rabbit Hole, Viral General

29
Jul'11

Now playing: Failtech, Glass Heaven, Foundonthetape, Inside Experience

   Posted by: thebruce

Wondering if there are any ARGs running that you might want to  heck out? Here are just a few that are currently running, from grassroots fiction to new promo campaigns, thanks to community members who’ve provided some basic details to help catch up:

Fail Technologies

duke9509 from Unfiction says:

Failtech is in its 2nd episode right now, but it all started with a tip about a Google ad asking for help and pointing to failtechnologies.com. (the episode 1 version can be seen at e1.failtechnologies.com)

From there, it seemed at first that we were dealing with an A.I. gone nutso (think GLaDOS, HAL, or InterdimensionalGames’ “Henry”), and that we were communicating with an employee trying to stop it all – that would be Genus Orein. He had us working through the security levels of their remnant website trying to help them reach “L10″ (level 10) in their facility at Antarctica so we could reboot- or otherwise work on the A.I. LAINSY (Logical Artificial Intelligence Networked SYstem).

We found that Genus is one of the higher-ups in the company, and he was at the facility along with Dan who became our contact. Dan’s on the Board Of Directors, and Genus runs a division. Soon we discovered that LAINSY’s screwed up security system was tampered with. Genus was trapped in a bomb containment unit due to incomplete lockdown protocols, but eventually managed to escape. The protocols were reset, and Episode 1 ended.

With episode 2 came the introduction to Scimitar. Later determined to be Alex Sword, the head of the BOD, he had been working with Genus and several others to reset LAINSY so that some special code could be run which would re-enable her to accept a blocked-off command. He was never more specific than that. Genus has apparently also been hearing voices, and Alex hinted that they were aliens. A couple of players ended up “splintering” from the group, fulfilling Dan’s request to reboot LAINSY. This powerdown caused a) biohazardous materials spilled during the facility lockdown to be released into more of the facility, and b) LAINSY’s security mainframe to flood.

Eventually, Alex put together a team of his own and went to Antarctica to find Dan and his crew safe and sound due to the warnings they’d received. Their two teams put on HAZMAT suits and went down through the contaminated facility to drain the water around LAINSY which was now boiling from the core meltdown caused by the accidental “unplugging” of some of her components. Fortunately, they were able to drain the water and salvage enough working hardware to initiate a crippled boot, and also to stabilize the core.

Sometime during these events, Genus began a strange blog at genusorein.blogspot.com which seems to show nothing but very cryptic drawings and hinting at some sort of coded language.

Glass Heaven

Jain from Unfiction says:

Last Saturday (July 23rd) the mysterious blog of William Jakobsen was discovered at GlassHeaven.org. Among other oddities, such as Will’s dog being stolen and replaced by an identical dog, the journal entries revealed a strange religious flyer found in Will’s attic. After decoding the mysterious writing and corresponding with an email address on the flyer we were given tasks to complete in order to earn the three pillars: Joy, Life, and Purity. Once these tasks were completed, the first of the new generation were born. Now we strive to learn more about each other, the Glass Heaven, and the Crystalline Lord. But it’s not all fun and games as an unknown ex-member of the church is interfering with messages from the Glass Heaven warning us of danger.

Will’s life is becoming more and more dangerous as well. Strange men in black capes bearing the prism-like logo of the church are delivering letters of warning to Will’s mailbox. His friend Lizzy is now a new generation member of the church.  And he still hasn’t found his dog.

Foundonthetape

Paraphrased from the ‘story-so-far’ posted to its Steam community group:

A YouTube channel (foundonthetape) is found with a very unusual video, and four days later another video is posted.

4chan and Reddit are on it, and a code in the middle of one of the videos is solved. It’s a hex string that resolves to “tinyurl.com/BVU-800″ which leads to a downloadable Halflife: Episode 2 map.

This source map is a singular room (img) with a camera at a fixed location. The player is not a fixed entity and can wander about, knocking over objects etc. Moving into the door at the edge of the room leads to a picture and plays an EXTREMELY loud sound file (typically known as a “screamer”).

Due to the attempted actions of an unsuccessful gamejacker on Steam, another hex code was placed on the foundonthetape channel which resolves to “foundonthetape@gmail.com email 10.7mb”. Sending an email to this address results in an automated reply of: “stuck im stuck im stuck im stuck im stuck http://www.megaupload.com/?d=3JLYPG9M”. This MegaUpload file is another HL:ep2 map, this time a relatively large tunnel maze with various scripting inside.

The Inside Experience

From Lysithea at Unfiction:

Christina Perasso, a self-described Jack-of-all-trades, has been kidnapped. The last thing she remembers is chatting with her Mom, Cathy Perasso. Three days later she woke up feeling like she’d been drugged. Trapped in a spacious single room bedsit with high ceilings, Christina’s only link to the outside is a laptop. The kidnapper is controlling just about everything including the power, water, food and internet connection. Grainy webcam snapshots posted to Christina’s Facebook Wall add veracity to the story. Examining these photos leads to a few in-game websites.

In Episode 2, some federal agents raid the physical location of Christina’s IP address. Instead of a girl they discover a plastic mannequin holding a router and a postcard. A short puzzle trail with more creepy poetry hidden in the source code is uncovered at 332811.com

The product placement of the Intel-powered Toshiba notebook in this game has been well done. The main character has excellent reason to become increasingly attached to the computer.

The Inside Experience is playing out on Facebook, youtube, twitter, phone and email. The PMs have three basic rules which boil down to TINAG: “have fun with the experience, but the characters don’t know that they are in a movie so please don’t tell them” Many players are hopeful that their Facebook posts will end up in the final movie. As a result, almost everyone is posting in character.

 

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Categories: ARGs General, Grassroots, Miscellaneous Products

24
Feb'11

Snow Town called – it wants its books back (updated)

   Posted by: thebruce

Apparently someone has been checking out books under another name. Whoever you are, please step forward. Four books have been checked out from the Snow Town Library in Maine, prompting a Ruthie Randolph to send four overdue book notices to Wikibruce. If these books aren’t returned, additional fines may be incurred.


Please, call 207-330-6677 and rectify the situation with the librarian. I won’t be in Maine any time soon!

In digging a little deeper, it seems we may actually have a serial book-reader on our hands. Jane Doh at ARGN.com also reported receiving overdue notices — for these same four books.

Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K

Read on for an outline and to dig a little deeper into this Snow Town mystery…

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Grassroots, Rabbit Hole

30
Dec'10

SAVER Corporation ramps up recruiting efforts

   Posted by: thebruce

SAVER Corporation needs you. It’s a simple statement, one familiar to many as the call to action of todays armed forces. Here at SAVER, it is as true as ever. SAVER Corporation is seeking open minded individuals to help in a number of ways, to face many different challenges.
(source)

SAVER Corp, operating out of Portsmouth, Virginia has begun a recruiting drive seeking individuals who are interested in joining their ranks as they “face challenges relating to the defense of this nation.”

Back in August, SAVER announced a new initiative in their recruiting, wherein the corporation would be searching for RPG players. “From the weapons we use, to the people using them, we must be ready to take any and all measures to assure we are prepared.” This of course is their reasoning for seeking out people who can “approach cases and threats of a supernatural origin with an open mind”.

The corporation is looking for people to fill roles covering:

RESEARCH

Researchers are our additional eyes and ears. Researchers agree to be contacted from time to time and asked advice on a wide range of topics, such as the best methods to put down an individual who was deceased, but continues to advance our agents in a violent way. The best researchers respond promptly, and can be promoted quickly for excellent work.

DEVELOPMENT

Those who work in Development are tasked with coming up with the next greatest weapons, or defensive gear – or at least the names of such things in the beginning. The best developers come up with very creative names, or even ideas for new weapons that can be researched. Developers can be promoted regularly based on prompt feedback and the unique ideas they bring to he table.

MEDIA SPECIALIST

Media Specialists are those who can get the word out about SAVER Corporation and our mission. The best Media Specialists will often spread the word about the company via there blogs, posts in forums, messages on twitter, etc. Media Specialists can be promoted regularly based on the volume of their messages, and their ability to adapt their message based on new challenges.

SAVER is present on Twitter as @SaverCorp, and activity has recently picked up. If you are interested in submitting an application, visit saver.co/get-involved and email staff@saver.co with your request.

Do you have what it takes? Can you become a beneficial asset to the defense initiatives at SAVER Corporation?

Visit www.Saver.Co for more details and to sign up!

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Categories: ARGs General, Grassroots

7
Apr'09

A big box of Babel Research (updated!)

   Posted by: thebruce

(updates appended below; most recent update: Sep.25.10 – Please see disclaimers at the end of the article before commenting)

Today, big things happened. The Box was opened. (ongoing updates appended)

The viral nature of this production certainly did its job. The original video on youtube had a description which was consistently updated every few days. But the description was a countdown. It now reads:

000000000000000000
000000000000000000
0000…………………..0000
0000……OPEN……0000
0000……..THE…….0000
0000……..BOX…….0000
0000…………………..0000
0000…………………..0000
www.whatsinthebox.nl
000000000000000000

So what happened? We still don’t know… but something. All content indicates that events are taking (have taken?) place in the year 2018, August 6th. Supposedly this is when the events of the video take/took place.

Read on to find out all that’s been discovered, and dig in to the story…

Read the rest of this entry »

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Categories: Grassroots, Viral General

22
Mar'09

What’s in the box?

   Posted by: thebruce

My mama always told me life was like a box of mystery

The latest viral video to hit the ‘tubes has caused quite a bit commotion!  Take a look below, and come to your own conclusion… Links are added below to other sites and articles discussing this very well done video and viral mystery.

It’s not official, it doesn’t seem sanctioned, but there is more to come…

Articles:

More info to come…

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Categories: Grassroots, Viral General

25
Feb'09

Now it’s personal…

   Posted by: thebruce

A.R.E. Rabbit HoleYou stumble on a blog, one created by a high school student a few days ago who received a mysterious package in the mail and videoblogged it on Youtube. The package contains a small memory card with some pictures and mp3s, and a crumpled paper on which is written a scratchy message to this person by name, saying that something’s coming – something big.  ‘Cool! A new ARG rebbithole!’ you think.  You pass the link around to some friends and let your immediate ARG community know about it… some even secretly wonder what it would be like to get a hold of this note to add to their ARG swag collection at some point.

Yes, this is an ARG, and the blog creator is a puppetmaster; the student is an actor.

Now what if this person were real?  What if the creator of the blog were a real person who received this real package, which was sent to them, and no one else, which even mentioned them specifically by name?  What if this were you?  Is that still cool?  Many would reflexively say yes!

Over the years I’ve been in the ARG scene, I’ve seen a few mysteries like this crop up occasionally.  Anywhere from personalized contact containing mini puzzles like secret santa riddles, to friends pranking friends or creating special birthday experiences. It’s rare that a lot of time and effort are actually put into producing a complex, deep experience, drawing them ever deeper down the rabbit hole, with no other target audience than a single individual. Actually, the only other example I can personally recall to that extent is fictional – depicted in the movie The Game, with Michael Douglas.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Categories: ARGs General, Grassroots, Puppetmasters, Rabbit Hole

6
Feb'09

Smorgasboard of News and Updates!

   Posted by: thebruce

In an attempt to cover quite a number of running projects and games, here are a few launches, news items, and announcements to pore over.

Serious Games

Akoha – Come play it forward!
Self-labeled as a “social reality game”, Akoha is physical card-based game with ‘act-of-kindness’ missions to carry out on or with friends. You can get cards by buying decks, or by being given a card by someone who just completed a task. The visual explanation explains how players registered at akoha.com can see each card’s history of good deeds (including video blogs, testimonies, etc), who’s done what, when and where, and players can also earn karma points for carrying out these tasks. With enough karma you can begin creating other missions for people to carry out. Akoha is currently in a beta testing phase, but it’s a “big, bold and crazy kind of idea”, and it’s Canadian!

Ruby’s Bequest
Ruby’s Bequest is a new game from Institute for the Future telling the story of the (fictional) town Deepwell and its residents, and providing “a unique immersive experience in which thousands of people will help forecast the future of caring in the United States.”. Sponsored by United Cerebral Palsy and AARP, the game will play similarly to World Without Oil, where 7 years will pass between the month starting from launch, March 9th to the April 10th conclusion. Find out more information and join in at RubysBequest.org

Movies/TV

Terminator: Connor Chronicles or Salvation?
A website has recently appeared on the radar: SkynetResearch.com. Little to nothing is known about it besides what’s currently visible. More weight seems to be placed on this being related to Terminator: Salvation, slated for May 22 release, as the site is owned by Warner Bros, according to the Privacy Policy linked in its footer. What do you think?

Who’s Watching the Watchmen?
Much has been revealed since TheNewFrontiersman.net was discovered and its contents opened. The New Frontiersman, reporting on ‘hero’-related news in a very mid-20th century manner, also has a twitter account you can follow, a Youtube channel to watch, a Flickr account to view, and a newsfeed to read. Content galore! A true alternate reality – Nixon on Mt. Rushmore?
Watchmen is slated for release March 6.

Video Games

FEAR 2 Level III Testing
FEAR 2′s viral campaign recently executed a live event in New York City, with the Armacham Mobile FEAR Lab experience. Silver case recipient J.C Hutchins was on the scene to record the report the entire experience. Read about and watch his test and experience at JCHutchins.net. Visit Armacham.com (don’t be afraid!) and see what upcoming dates are listed on the calendar… FEAR 2: Project Origin is slated for release on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, February 10th.

Singularity’s Mir-12
Russian spies, conspiracies, sci-fi, gorgeous women, it’s all here: visit MIR-12.com to find out what happened to Natasha Norvikov, and follow the ongoing investigations. If you can read Russian, you’ll have a much easier time! Raven software is releasing their first person shooter Singularity on Xbox360, PS3, and PC soon.

Halo Mysteries Return:
Mbaraki.2552
– Reported yesterday here at Wikibruce, new mysterious content has appeared in Bungie’s weekly updates in the Halo 3: ODST sections. The latest insert: “IDENT PROC 13262.0 MBARAKI.2552″ appeared in Jan 30th’s news.
* B.Net group Compound Intelligence discussion (membership req’d)
The Way Their World Ended – a twitter account named intimation, believed to be run by a form of AI, made contact with some people earlier this year. A dream-style puzzle was solved leading to the website thewaytheirworldended.com with weekly updates. Explicit references have been made to Halo, and past ARGs Iris, and I Love Bees. Speculation is mixed as to whether this is official or a grassroots ARG.
* Unfiction discussion

More Mirror’s Edge?
Hot on the heals of EA’s release of Mirror’s Edge, a new mystery has arisen hinting at an upcoming Mirror’s Edge 2 (confirmed to eventually become a trilogy). Pirandello/Kruger teases a red door… which soon after led to Newstream Energy. The investigation is ongoing!

Grassroots / other

Are you 23?
Disney’s launched a countdown of their own, located at Disney.com/23, for March 10, 2009. What’s so special about the number 23? (Besides Jim Carrey’s movie of the same name) Speculation, as it pertains to Disney, makes note of points such as Disney’s founding in 1923, or Steve Jobs’ purchase of Pixar in 1986 (23 years ago). The leading speculation which seems to be gaining ground is that it’s related to the March launch of Disney’s “Club 23″ (or D-23?) program. A revealing post on a Disney site has since been removed, but you can read the message here.

Ice Shock – Descendant
M.G.Harris was fairly open and public about an upcoming ARG for her book “Ice Shock“, which I reported on via ARGN.com back in November. She has now revealed the name: The Descendant, in a recent blog post. You can watch a 60-second trailer for the upcoming ARG at TheMGHarris.com fan site. Harris has slated its launch for March this year.

Yellow Curtain returns!
The Yellowcurtain wiki was recently updated with the news: “ATTENTION: Countdown for Yellow Curtain Episode 3 is ON!” While Episode 3 was apparently scheduled for launch January 15th, it may have been pushed a few weeks. Visit Yellowcurtain.com, watch anashel’s channel, or join the Facebook group for updates.

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Categories: ARGs General, Books, Grassroots, Movies, Video games, Viral General