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Archive for the ‘Rabbit Hole’ Category

10
Jul'13

Mysterious discovery prompts examination of a secret Disney project

   Posted by: thebruce

opt199488SMALL

im-ag-i-neer’ing, n. Imaginative concept in Design, Architecture, Engineering and Entertainment – Sym. See Disneyland

ameliaLast week, a girl named Amelia set out on a mission to uncover a mystery she happened upon while sifting through old belongings of her grandfather’s – Carlos Moreau. With the hope of creating a documentary about his life, about the stories he’d tell her as a child, she discovered a series of photos and writings of his, from back in the day; from the 50′s and 60′s to be more precise.

One of her big discoveries was information about a short story he named “Orbit’s Story” (which he later sold to Walt Disney, and to which he never returned). With this in mind, Amelia set up a blog site at storyorbit.com where she continues to share her discoveries, and also began the @storyorbit twitter account for a little more personal touch with her followers.

Invitation-JShe then discovered a letter sent to Carlos dated April 24 1964, from WED Enterprises Inc, inviting him to visit the World’s Fair in New York, and regarding a “special project”. The logo used by WED Imagineering is an illustration of the Tower of the Four Winds.

wf-picsFurther discoveries include photos taken in and around the “It’s a small world” [IASW] ride at the World’s Fair. The picture Amelia shared of the stack of photos included a couple of hand-written notes, also implying a secret “special project”.

One of the notes also included the phone number (607) 218-5820, that of a company named Lott Family Construction. Calling the number prompts an automated voicemail message from a rather non-technical individual, directing callers to the company’s website: LottFamilyConstruction.com.

lott-logo

This appears to be the company under which construction of the IASW exhibit was commissioned. Further research reveals that the name of its founder, Michael T Lott, does actually appear on a window on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom!  Walt Disney and his crew had created fictional companies to purchase land in Florida, and Lott Family Construction may well be one of those companies (in case you haven’t got it yet – read, “M T Lott”)

However, it also seems that not only is it Michael who records the voicemail message, but you are able to contact the company – and Michael – through email. Is Michael Lott real and alive?

Something is fishy about this “special project”, and its connection to It’s a small world, and the Four Winds sculpture which greets people at the exhibit’s entrance.

The Lott Construction website’s client list includes a number of interesting projects, such Mystery Manor and Deluca Fields listed under Special Projects, which follows Cultural Landmarks including Progressland and “it’s a small world”.

Email responses from Michael Lott include a small disclaimer in the footer about privacy and security, but also instructions for clients about about how to access information about their ongoing projects – found on their website by simply appending the project code to the web address. Does this mean there are ‘secret’ projects we can explore on Lott’s website?

june23-1952Next, Amelia shared a photo of another letter, this one dated June 23, 1952 – Disney’s first contact with Carlos, interested in his Orbit’s Story – over 10 years prior to Carlos’ invitation to the World’s Fair.

What exactly did Disney do with this mysterious short story of Carlos’?

Amelia continues to research her grandfather’s old possessions, looking for more hidden, secret information, and you can follow her progress at storyorbit.com and @storyorbit.

META

Interestingly, speculation arose from Amelia’s followers regarding suspicious similarities in the discoveries so far… The letter from Walt Disney Productions to Carlos was dated 1952 – which happens to be the working title for Disney’s upcoming 2014 Damon Lindelof film Tomorrowland, taking place in 1964.

Back in January, in an eerily similar set of events, following a tweet by Damon Lindelof teasing a photo of a box only labeled “1952″, director Brad Bird tweeted a picture of the box opened, which revealed a whole mess of really cool old…stuff.

[tweet https://twitter.com/BradBirdA113/status/294241097444634625]

Could this be a new big ARG for Disney’s sci-fi flick Tomorrowland? All signs and theories point to Yes!

The official (meta) website for this campaign called “The Optimist” describes it:

Walter Elias Disney was an optimist who believed in creating a living blueprint for the future. He and his Imagineers – those creative and skilled professional wizards who combine imagination and engineering – made fantasy into reality and built the magic of the Disney Theme Parks. But, what if that was just the beginning?

Amelia, a young filmmaker, has stumbled upon a revolutionary secret…and she needs your help. Collaborate with other curious individuals around the globe to solve a mystery that traverses the web, Disneyland® Park, and beyond before culminating at the D23 Expo.

The D23 Expo takes place in Anaheim, California August 9-11, 2013, which makes this a 6 week experience. The film isn’t slated for release for over a year. So, what will await the community at the end of this journey?

Back in October last year, Vulture.com also intimated:

We hear that the collaborators are planning an elaborate, very J.J. Abrams–like advanced marketing campaign that will start before filming even begins. The idea is to stage a treasure hunt for intrigued moviegoers that will gradually reveal clues about and build intrigue for the film right up until its release, and which may or may not be related to the contents of the box.

It’s wonderful how much curious fans have already researched and discovered about the real history of Disney! There are some fascinating little-known facts being uncovered. Be sure to follow along with the community:

And here a few related reports of interest from other sources:

 

Tags: ,

Categories: ARGs General, Events, Movies, Rabbit Hole, Viral General

5
Oct'12

Secret agents and bird calls, a Skyfall adventure

   Posted by: thebruce

Friday, October 5, 2012.
Package delivered.

Today, Wikibruce received a package via UPS. Its avian contents were simple. A photo of a barn swallow with a hand-written message on the back, a Sony IC Recorder.

The message on the reverse reads:

Greetings from Innsbruck, Geoff.

Spied this fellow building his nest unusually high in a tree. I believe that means the snow will be better here this year. Including a recording of his lovely little song for your enjoyment. Do with it what you will.

Cheers, J

On powering up the recorder, the display shows one audio clip. It’s named “50-112-251-215″, with a song title “barn swallow” by author “Jonathon Jongsma”.

My package, which I noticed was numbered as #8, is only one of  few delivered to various sources.  ARGN.com also received a package today, reporting on its contents, and discussion has begun at the Unfiction forums.

Puzzling clues…

The four numbers resolve to an IP address, 50.112.251.215. When visiting the IP address as a website, “a top secret” website is revealed for the Royal Secret Intelligence Service. It contains a prompt to analyze audio from your microphone as an aural password verification step.

Putting two and two together, when playing the sound barn swallow audio clip, the user is verified and…

…the adventure begins!  Try it yourself, then see where it takes you.

Edited to add this tip: Thanks to ARGN, you can play this audio clip via Youtube after enabling the aural capture. If your speakers are loud enough, the sound should be successfully recognized.

Also of note, viewing the website’s source code reveals a few bits of information hidden as meta data. This text also strangely includes multiple instances of the unicode character 9608:

“For ██ ██ eyes only. If you are not ██ ██ please delete immediately. This ████ provides access to the ██ ██ selection exam which identifies recruits for ████ and ██ ██ in the field. Do not share this link.”

And a strange sequence of the 9608 character:

“██ ████ █ ███ █ ██”

With the next Bond flick Skyfall releasing in theatres on November 9th, could this interactive adventure be the lead-in to a larger ARG-like campaign? Or is this is a one-stop entertainment production?

If you’ve run through the experience, successfully or not, share your experience in the comments below!  Or join in the conversation at Unfiction.

Tags: ,

Categories: ARGs General, Movies, Rabbit Hole

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!

Tags:

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

18
Jan'12

A rabbit hole into the mystery of Alcatraz

   Posted by: thebruce

What do a dying white flower, a Ford Mustang lapel pin, and a comic book store have in common?

They’re three of a hand-full of cryptic items received by a number of media and community outlets, including Wikibruce.com, tied together only by the historic – and mysterious – prison island of Alcatraz, as portrayed in the new TV series from JJ Abrams.

Alcatraz is historically known as the “The Rock” – an island situated in San Francisco Bay converted to a maximum-security prison, touted essentially as an impenetrable, and inescapable fortress. Supposedly.

In 2007, I had the privilege of visiting the prison when the ARGFest alternate reality gaming conference took place in San Francisco. The tour was a chilling, exciting look into history, providing a glimpse at the troubling and unsettling lifestyles of those who were sentenced and trapped within its walls.

It’s not surprising that Alcatraz has greatly interested creator JJ Abrams whose TV series premiered January 16th, which explores a mystery about the island and its inhabitants. And of course, JJ with his metaphorical mystery box has once again begun a viral/transmedia campaign to help extend the show and its story beyond our television set.

On Friday the 13th, Wikibruce received this package, laid out below, containing some mysterious artifacts from Abrams’ world of “Alcatraz”. If this extended experience is planned to be anywhere as expansive as the LOST Experience, it’s a good bet there is certainly much more to come during the life of the TV show.

The Package


This package was shipped from Burbank, CA. It’s unlikely that the source of the shipment is of any significance, being primarily to hide the viral creator identity (999-999-9999 is certainly not a mistake!).

The Box…


 

The metal box inside the packaging had no lock, and is a brushed metal texture.

Its contents:

1. A tour brochure “Discover Alcatraz” from 2011

2. A decrepit white flower

3. Alcatraz branded key

4. A Ford Mustang lapel pin

5. Newspaper clip from SF Intelligencer, March 22 1963

6. A postcard sent by “Susie” to “Nana Feinstein”

7. A souvenir lenticular postcard

8. Torn corner of page 65 from “Inmates of Alcatraz”

9. Torn magazine page with a book review and 2012 Ford Mustang ad

The Flower…

 

Other reported packages have contained a still live-looking flower, but have been reported it as either a white lotus, or a daisy.

There is a yellow chrysanthemum flower connection with the film Escape From Alcatraz:

We are first exposed to this flower in the yard during the prisoner’s sole hour of recreation each week. Doc, a venerable, old felon, paints a self-portrait with a flower in his breast pocket. Upon probing by Morris, we learn that it is a metaphor for his spirit. While the warden can take away all of his rights, the one thing they cannot take away from him is his flower. As long as he has his flower, his will to live, and, to some extent, to escape, will continue. To some, this symbolizes the never-ending struggle to escape from the island. Yet, to all, it provides them with a symbol of hope that they too will not wilt under the severity of the penal system.
~source: Return to Alcatraz

The Key…

 

Replica of an Alcatraz cellhouse key. All packages’ keys appear to be identical.

Ford…

 

A Ford Mustang tri-bar lapel pin.

Ford, clearly a corporate sponsor of the show, will undoubtedly be appearing repeatedly in any Alcatraz-related content, as seen in the Mustang ads below.

The Newspaper Clip…

 

San Francisco Bay Intelligencer, March 22 1963. The article of interest: “The Final Lockdown” by Gretchen Juerera. This article is dated the day after Alcatraz was closed and all inmates reportedly transferred.

Reverse: teaser ad for the announcement of the 1964 Ford Mustang.

(transcripts below)

The Final Countdown

ALCATRAZ. The very name connotes solitude, fear and punishment.

Thousands of America’s worst criminals were sentenced to hard time in this notorious penitentiary; many died there, others served out the full term of their respective stays, but nobody ever escaped. It was a severe locale that offered little to no promise of hope or redemption.

Last night, however, all USP Alcatraz prisoners vacated the premises once and for all.

What was the government’s official reason for closing the facility? In a word: money. Estimates indicate that it was costing over ten dollars per day to house the typical inmate. Compare that to the three-dollar per capita cost at other federal institutions. The financial strain was becoming too exorbitant to bear; shutdown was inevitable.

Prison officials declined our interview requests, citing their prohibitively hectic schedules. Instead, Warden Edwin James issued the following statement to the press:

“This is an immense undertaking. We are completing the transfer paperwork on 256 inmates and working to find comparable positions for all 46 of our federal employees who will be displaced by this transition. But rest assured; our relocation initiative is taking every precaution to preserve the safety of all individuals involved, especially the civilian population at large.”

So, what will become of the ominous rock jutting from our majestic bay? City planners are remaining tight-lipped on the matter, but one thing is for sure: it is indelibly seared into the landscape of our past, our present and our future.

1964 Ford Mustang teaser:

The most exciting thing on TV tonight will be a commercial

Get your first good look at next year’s most exciting new car.
The new 1964 Ford Mustang!
Tonight

Susie’s Postcard…

 

A postcard depicting Alcatraz Island. Other packages received different postcards, however they all had the same message from “Susie” written (individually hand-written, I might add) on the backs.

Alternate versions can be seen at Comingsoon.net and Movieweb.com [img]

The message references the scene near the beginning of episode 1, where a young girl (who we can assume to be Susie) breaks away from her tour group, and spots the episode’s antagonist Jack Sylvane lying in a cell.

Dear Nana,
Alkatraz is fun. It smells old here. I went to a part where I wasn’t supost[sic] to go and a man was sleeping in the jail cell. I screamed and mom and dad found me. The guard told the sleeping man to leave. We all went home on the ferry.

Love, Susie

Souvenir Postcard…

 

This postcard is a heavier stock lenticular postcard, from 2008. The two scenes, seen by pivoting the card vertically, depict Alcatraz cell block C circa 1960, and as it appears ‘today’ (2008).

No further writing is on the clean postcard.

The Inmates…

 

This torn corner of page 85/86 is from the book “Inmates of Alcatraz“. On the front, p65, is the mug shot of Jack Sylvane, the episode 1 antagonist. The page itself appears on-screen (src: WelcomeToAlcatraz), though slightly different in page layout. Jack’s prison ID reads:

U.S. Penitentiary
Alcatraz
2024
04 27 56

On the reverse is another inmate who we know as episode 2‘s antagonist, named Ernest Cobb. His ID:

U.S. Penitentiary
Alcatraz
2047
08 25 60

Nancy’s Book Review…

 

And finally, the artifact most relevant to the online campaign, a book review by Nancy Gleinen. This is page 34, torn from a magazine named “Commerce Quantified”. Nancy reviews the book Inmates of Alcatraz, by Dr. Diego Soto. Letters throughout the article are circled, however, and when put together spell “legendsofalcatraz”

This quickly led people to LegendsOfAlcatraz.com, a landing site boldly branded for the TV series. At the time of the show’s premiere, it contained a countdown to the airing of episode 1.

Inmates of Alcatraz appears in the TV show as the book that led officer Rebecca Madsen to Diego, who she considered a specialist in Alcatraz knowledge, as she sought help to locate the criminal (and ex-Alcatraz inmate) Jack Sylvane.

On the page reverse: Poetic symmetry – an ad for Ford’s upcoming 2013 Mustang. “All legend. Zero compromise.”

Nancy’s Non-Fiction Nook
Literary reviews by Nancy Gleinen

With his enthralling Inmates of Alcatraz, Dr. Diego Soto goes behind the bars and unlocks the twisted lives of a population formerly lost to history.

If you want a healthy dose of murder, regret and intrigue, don’t resort to watching soap operas – head out to your local bookstore and pick up the latest entry in Soto’s already impressive oeuvre that I like to call ‘Alcatraz revisited.’  He goes beyond the usual suspects (your Capones, your Machine Gun Kellys, your Birdmen) and paints an intimate portrait of dozens of forgotten inmates, each story leaping from the page with ferocity and renewed urgency. It’s as if they’re reanimating before your very eyes!

Despite the human-centric title, the book also delves into the foreboding setting of Alcatraz Island. ‘The Rock’ has never been so jagged, menacing and craggy – every vista provides a skewed take on humanity, Soto-style. He finds a way to transform the irregular outcropping into a shiv of brilliance. It is the judge, jury and executioner in this sordid tale of amorality run akok; no matter how notable the real-life characters in this book may be, they will never overshadow the prison itself.

But don’t take my word for it – Soto’s whimsical prose speaks for itself. Here’s an excerpt from the opening chapter of Inmates:

“Everything about USP Alcatraz is larger than life; the people, the history, even the daily operations boggle the mind. For instance, the feds shipped about a million gallons of fresh water from the mainland every week. Imagine: bringing water to an island. Trip out on that.”

Trip out, indeed. Soto bites into his subject matter like a jubilant piranha, shredding all preconceptions and injecting new blood into the burgeoning subgenre of obscure historiography. He revels in every scrap of evidence, reads them like decaying tea leaves and translates the whispers of the past into thunderous declarations of the now. Suffice it to say, Inmates of Alcatraz is my Book of the Week!

Diego “Doc” Soto is also the owner of a comic book shop called “Doc’s Comics and Collectibles”, which appears a few times in the show. He’s a somewhat social author, in that he’s also set up the twitter account @SotoDoc, though hasn’t used it in months. Additionally, he set up a very minimalistic tumbr blog for his store at docscomics.tumblr.com. Inside, we find an embedded commercial for his Inmates book — watch here:

View on Youtube

From the episodes themselves, keen-eyed observers noticed a number of easter eggs and potential leads. For example, one of JJ Abrams’ staple easter eggs is the inclusion of the name “Kelvin” in his projects – his way of dedicating his work to his grandfather who influenced him as a child. Two instances have already been spotted.

Additionally, in episode 2 a QR code was spotted next to Jack’s new cell block’s label “AZ 2024″. As of this writing, no one’s recreated a scannable replica of the code to determine what it reads.

We’ve also been led to an official twitter account and hash tag to follow – @AlcatrazLegends / #LegendsOfAlcatraz

Viral Verdict

Having watched the 2 hour premiere, it’s clear that the package contents were intended to tease at elements of the 2 episodes’ plots – from Jack Sylvane and Ernest Cobb to the very minor role of the young girl on the prison tour. The fact that much of the box content is available today for anyone visiting the island doesn’t lead me to believe that there any additional hints or unresolved threads. I’ve even combed over every artifact with a black light, hoping to find a hidden message, somewhere, but come up blank.

The existence of the (abandoned?) twitter account, and Diego’s tumblr blog implies that transmedia- possibly ARGish- content was, and likely still is on the drawing board. However, where LOST’s campaign provided mysteries and clues from the get-go, it seems that this rabbithole package has been fully resolved, being simply a teaser for the 2 hour premiere episodes.

The show itself has interested me, however, with a healthy dose of crime action, humour, and mystery (though somewhat diluted by preview videos and detailed looks at the series plot), but it left with a decent cliffhanger, beckoning me to return and watch the next episode.  My primary hope though, is that with the apparent structure of the plot dealing with returning inmates – and guards – the extended experience will provide an independent parallel plot with its own characters and real-world mysteries and events tied in to the show, akin to the extended experience provided by the creators of Heroes.

Are authors Nancy Gleinen and Gretchen Juerera just one-offs? Will we see Diego’s book “Inmates of Alcatraz” appear in full for sale on Amazon or in book stores? Will Susie and Nana make a reappearance? Will we have more of Diego’s comic-book store activities entertain us? Will we help solve an inmate mystery and track down a criminal in the real world?

Stay tuned! — Since the show aired, LegendsOfAlcatraz.com has revealed something new…

 

Alcatraz on FOX

Some official Alcatraz lore guide videos:

Other Alcatraz transmedia experience links

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Rabbit Hole, TV Series, Viral General

14
Jul'11

Test Subjects Needed: The Genesis Countdown

   Posted by: thebruce


This is your time. The world needs you. You must act now, before it’s too late.

On Friday July 15, at 12:00pm Pacific time, another countdown will reach 00:00 – a second opportunity for willing test subjects to volunteer themselves to the cause.  But what’s in store this time?

Previously…

On June 30, the first countdown reached zero opening the door to a hectic nation-wide scramble — a mission labeled “Icefly”. In 15 cities across the United States, over the course of many hours, subjects were directed to specific physical locations in each city at set times, revealed randomly every hour. The first to arrive at each had to complete a task which would allow them to fulfill their portion of the mission — to rescue an Icefly. Watch this road report from one volunteer:

View on Youtube

Recap…

Weeks earlier, mysterious instances of the phrase “TEST SUBJECTS NEEDED” began appearing at the end of 5 Gum TV commercials. Additionally, a number of E3 2011 attendees were handed envelopes containing branded paraphernalia, and print ads for 5 Gum began appearing including in the lower corner a small white wasp-like insect (which is now believed to be an icefly) along with a coded phrase. Whether in the form of morse or a QR code, this message led people to TestSubjectsNeeded.com.

This website hinted at a sensory experiment, one asking for volunteers – test subjects. Users were prompted to complete a word association test, and then asked to sign up and provide contact information and a mailing address. Candidates were then permitted to create a unique, custom badge for their profile.

Following on June 13 at the Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee, a surreal event occurred. Between concerts, crowds of energetic people were treated to a gentle rainfall of glowing blue blinking lights. It was a scene quite reminiscent of some depicted in various 5 Gum commercials – individuals staring up into large swarming clouds of dots, objects. As the blue lights slowly hovered to the ground, the Bonnaroo crowds picked them up and examined them.  On their wings were QR codes that led to MissionIcefly.com.

View on Youtube

In the days and weeks to follow, subjects world-wide who had signed up at TestSubjectsNeeded.com began receiving packages in the mail from TestSubjectsNeeded.com (package sent to Wikibruce shown at right). Black or silver packaging contained another “icefly” – the origami helicopters with blinking LEDs that fell at Bonnaroo.

By now, MissionIcefly.com had been thoroughly examined. It displayed a timer that was counting down to June 30, at 12:00pm pacific. Once the countdown hit zero, Mission: Icefly began. When these first 15 successful test subjects completed their missions, a URL appeared in a corrupted video leading people to a new location, and a call to action narrated by Terry O’Quinn.

This monologue explains the importance of our senses, and specifically HSP – Heightened Sensory Perception.  The backdrop for the narration is footage of individuals who lead the charge for the discovery and laboratory examination of an icefly that was buried in arctic ice – possibly for untold ages.

Having watched the entire video, users were directed to a chilly arctic landscape, in which stood a single lone door. This door, locked as of this writing, is the frame for a second timer; a new countdown leading to 12:00pm pacific, July 15.

Those 15 volunteers who rescued the iceflies took them home. These mechanical artifacts, when plugged in, began blinking in morse code, SURVIVALCODE.COM — the website that reveals more about … well, what this is all about… sort of.

While this campaign was discovered to be a partnership between veteran ARG creators 42 Entertainment and edgy gum franchise 5 Gum from Wrigley – the full extent of the campaign is as yet unknown. Skepticism about the campaign, as well as wild theories and speculation about its promotional content have run rampant, including hopes for connections to X-Men, Halo 4, even Bungie’s next video game; but they are just that: rampant speculation. Regardless, the project has been met with great excitement from the growing fan community, who’ve also created Facebook fan groups to connect and coordinate.

Prepare…

So, what will happen this Friday the 15th?

With the creation of user profiles on SurvivalCode.com came the revelation of a ‘game’, of sorts. A “Game Code Activation” feature allows users to input special unique codes that are found in specially marked packages of 5Gum. These codes, when redeemed, can be applied towards the collection of “keys”: Constellation keys, or Facility keys. Even their purpose, once again, is still unknown. But with the existence of what appears to be the beginning of a comic-book style story revealed in the form of ‘logs’, these keys may be used to unlock additional exclusive content, answers to mysteries, or perhaps rare prizes.

And what of the mysterious Traelek Institute? Mentioned by name in the initial prelude log comics, it’s believed to be the location of the classroom scene shown in The Genesis video, with Terry O’Quinn’s character appearing as a lecturer. Is it an evil organization? Or a high tech corporation that promises to save the world?

At the very least, if this is simply a promotional campaign for an upcoming 5 Gum flavor, it’s certainly pushing the edge of gum marketing, and has convinced thousands to run out to their nearest gum-selling stores on the hunt for icefly-labeled 5Gum packs. The campaign has been filled with high production quality, the hint of a grander story, a greater mystery and threat to humanity, promises of future events, challenges and puzzles, and of course a recurring appearance by adored LOST star, Terry O’Quinn.  It’s the making of another 42 Entertainment-style mass-market Alternate Reality Game, in the footsteps of The Dark Knight’s Why So Serious?, and Tron: Legacy’s Flynn Lives campaigns.

Test Subjects Needed.
Friday July 15th, 12:00pm PDT...  Will you be the hero human-kind needs to survive?

Perception.
It can’t be measured, proven, or even defined — but it warns us when we’re in danger.
And it’s warning us now.
Human kind is at a crossroads.
If we want to survive, we must heed the call and explore the depths of our shared consciousness.
This is a time for heroes… for seers, for sages.
This is your time. The world needs you.
You must act now, before it’s too late.

  • You can keep up to date with the ARG happenings at Wikibruce by bookmarking and visiting the community wiki:
    Icefly.Wikibruce.com
  • You can also join some of the community in IRC chat on the handy wiki page, or directly at:
    icr.chat-solutions.org:6667, channel #testsubjectsneeded
    (come by the chat especially on Friday at noon pacific time, 3pm eastern, to follow along live with the countdown’s events!)

Additional links:

Community:

Other media coverage:

Test subjects disclaimer:

These are not conventional experiments. Qualified test subjects volunteering their person for sensory based research will undergo enhanced amplifications as sensory reliant human beings. The outcomes of these experiments will provide experiential data on the effects of said studies on the body and mind of test subjects: the very finest and most rigorously obtained data from healthy test subjects chosen for their special capacity for excelling in said experiments. The specific nature and details of these activities will remain strictly verboten to test subjects excerpt at times when it becomes explicitly and unequivocally necessary, such as when the test subject is close to imminent transformational occurrences. Those involved will show an extraordinary commitment, cooperation and discretion in conducting these unconventional experiments, with a peculiar yet outstanding dedication that sets them apart. Following all instruction when and where given throughout the course of this series of experiments will afford test subjects opportunity to open and expand their sensorial faculties and ensure safety during the complete overhaul of their sensory capacities and capabilities. Test subject senses may not function as they are commonly understood to, and therefore may result in accelerated stimulation during, throughout, and indeed long after the conclusion of these unconventional experiments. Please remember that those with advanced understanding of the flexibility with regards to common laws of physics (E.G. gravity, inertia) are kindly asked to refrain fro participating in the unconventional experiment. Necessary parties, such as authorized test subject researchers, scientists, biologists, audiologists, optometrists, or test subjects, anthropologists, on an ad-hoc basis. Also note that we guarantee that no warranties or assurances are or will be provided to test subjects regarding the sensory capacities of any individual qualified as a test subjects, and any association test subjects may find between their experiences during these experiments and such phenomena as: heightened consciousness, sensory euphoria, ambidexterity, reverse color blindness, auditory night visions, tactile revelations, olfactory enlightenment or hair growth are completely coincidental. Adhering to all instructions when and where given throughout the course of this series of experiments will afford you the opportunity to open all doors and unexplored facilities in your realm of understanding. When the counter above hits zero the time will come for you to volunteer your services to the Human Preservation Project. Test subjects are needed now. You are needed now.

Tags: , ,

Categories: ARGs General, Miscellaneous Products, Rabbit Hole

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

6
Jul'10

Defending the rights of those trampled upon!

   Posted by: thebruce

IFILR.org - Propaganda Posters

Want to know more?

Tags: ,

Categories: ARGs General, Rabbit Hole

26
Feb'10

Tron Legacy ARG gets YOU in the game!

   Posted by: thebruce

Flynn Lives!
It’s prompting nostalgic retro-flashbacks to the 80′s, all this hype for the upcoming film Tron: Legacy – a sequel to the classic cult sci-fi adventure from 1982 Tron. But the new face of Tron presented by 21st century technology and special effects has the fan-base in a tizzy. It’s having a similar effect as the recent reboot of Batman had; and perhaps it’s not unconnected that the same marketing team behind Batman’s Why So Serious campaign is heading up Tron’s Flynn Lives campaign.

Visit the
TRON ARG WIKI
at Wikibruce.com

Last year at the San Diego Comic-Convention, a very successful live event (with online components) was the platform for the public revelation of a life-size ‘Light-cycle’ and the first public teaser trailer from the film (watch the official video recap here!). This event opened the door for fans to start following FlynnLives.com – hoping, wishing, and praying that whatever happens between then and the movie’s release would also award them with some sweet Tron swag! If the Comic-Con event was any indicator, Tron fans would be in for a wild ride over the next year.

Tron: Legacy Bit NO mailed rabbithole packageSure enough, in early February 2010 I, along with other people all over the globe began receiving small packages in the mail containing a palm-sized “Bit” as seen in the original Tron, with a hand-written phrase written on the inside lid of the box reading “/zerohour“. From this, the website FlynnLives.com/ZeroHour was discovered with a binary-coded countdown to 11am EST, February 24th – Zero Hour.

ZeroHour binary countdown clockThe Tron community erupted with theories, as over the next few days a mysterious message was slowly revealed below. A list of cities appeared, located within the United States, Canada, France, UK, and Australia – but there were no instructions accompanying them.

An email was distributed just before “Zero hour” hit reminding people to watch their nearest city. Right on schedule, three cities first lit up linked with instructions to meet a contact at a specific time and place in each city. What happened was a feeding frenzy of F5′s and website refreshes for the next 9 hours as all 27 cities lit up three at a time. At the drop points, the first person to arrive and say the code phrase to the waiting contact (and only the first person!) would be given a cell phone by which they were instructed to locate a deaddrop containing exclusive Tron collectible swag – as well as codes to be entered online.

At this point, FlynnLives.com allowed anyone to create a profile, including contact information. This implied potential phone calls, text messages, even physical mail to be distributed in coming months. Once signed up and connecting the profile to a facebook account, players discovered they could earn achievement badges – bragging rights. Additionally, those lucky enough to be the first to each ZeroHour location and enter at least one of the discovered codes online also received a special achievement, and their name listed as one of 66 special operatives.

Flynn Lives sample badge: Gridlock Rendezvous

At the end of this ZeroHour event, players online and offline were rewarded with a new desktop background, and instructions to visit PitCell.com at 4:00pm EST the next day — to be the first to register for an exclusive, limited IMAX screening in one of five listed cities: Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, London, and Sydney. Of what the screening is – still a mystery.

Going to an IMAX screening?
Add your name to the list
if you’d like to meet up
with others in your area!

The next day, when this second zero hour hit, once again the refresh-frenzy began. Word had spread over the course of the day through mainstream media, and people worldwide were waiting in anticipation for the moment the (FREE!) ticket registration for this IMAX event would open. In an unbelievable record (where is Guinness to confirm?) The Los Angeles IMAX event was flagged SOLD OUT in under one minute. New York quickly followed suit about 5 minutes later. Toronto and London were next in short order, and Sydney selling out closed the deal.

Sample ticket to Feb 27th, 2010 IMAX screening

A leading theory at this point is that individuals who grabbed a ticket in time (which is good for two people) will have access to view a special IMAX 3D scene from Tron, much like the 6 minute prologue scene for Batman: The Dark Knight. But details about the Tron screening as of this writing are still up in the air.

That’s not the end of it, however. After the updates, more was discovered online. Additional mysteries and strange codes, a hidden discussion forum with reference to Encom International, and what appears to be a deeper story still to be unraveled.

With tron: Legacy not slated for release until December 17th, 2010, this hype campaign is sure to kick up a notch or few in upcoming months, and those who miss out on this IMAX event shouldn’t fret about missing out entirely. Sign up for a profile, and watch for any opportunity to get in this game! One thing to keep in mind is that this kind of catering to a market fanbase is best and most successful when free, and only as good and enjoyable as the fans, players, and community make it.

You can join the search for Flynn in numerous ways:

Tags: , ,

Categories: ARGs General, Movies, Rabbit Hole

20
Mar'09

A Writer’s Therapy: The Charlotte Sessions

   Posted by: thebruce

As if ARGs blurring the line between fantasy and reality weren’t enough, a new mystery is being uncovered, blurring the line between fantasy and reality about a writer whose line between fantasy and reality is blurred!

Wednesday, march 18th: Wikibruce received a package with a bulge in the mail from one “P. Martin” on Mission Blvd. in San Diego.  It was mailed March 13th.  Inside - a riddle wrapped in an enigma…well, a newspaper at least; the San Diego Union Tribune, of March 10th, pages A3-4,9-10.  If that’s important at all.

Contained within the neatly folded newspaper was an old, rattled audio recorder.  Taped to its front was a sticky note (redundancy for the win) with the phrase “Play me” teasingly scrawled across its face.

Some clarification on the instructions would have been nice, but I went with the easy answer and pressed play on the recorder. Success! For once, batteries were included.  Immediately, a recorded interview began playing betwen a man and woman.  The nature of the conversation appeared to be one of a doctor / patient relation.

Based on the discussion ensuing at Unfiction, it’s been determined that this is an ex-novelist, discussing her problems with her therapist. Put on your crazy pants!  Characters in her stories come to life. Most recently, a character Charlotte, whose story the writer chose to leave incomplete, appeared to her – on the street, supposedly as the cause of a large multi-car collision.

The writer’s first episode, however, starring one of her other characters – Julia – would have been enough to traumatize most people. But I’ll leave you to discover that story.

This doctor / patient interview has been getting pieced together segment by segment by people who’ve received similar packages in the mail.  At the time of this writing, 5 segments have been reported, spanning (what is believed to be) two and a half sessions.  This tape was labeled “2/2″ (2nd session, part 2). You can hear below.

Download (1.3MB)

What’s known so far? The story is very reminiscent (well, undoubtedly related) to the novel Therapy, by Sebastian Fitzek, released March 17th. From the website:

A twelve year old girl, Josy, has an inexplicable illness and vanishes without a trace from the doctor’s office during treatment. Her father, Viktor Larenz, a well-known psychiatrist, withdraws years later to an isolated North Sea island in order to deal with the tragedy. Here he receives a dangerous visit from a beautiful stranger. Anna Spiegel is a novelist and she suffers from an unusual form of schizophrenia: all the characters she creates for her books become real. And in her last novel she has written about a young girl with an unknown illness who vanishes one day without a trace. …
Is the inconceivable possible? Do Anna’s delusions describe Josy’s last days? Viktor Larenz begins the therapy in an attempt to uncover the horrible truth.

Below is the full compiled audio from the currently reported session segments: 1/1, 1/2, 2/1, 2/2, and 3/1. Take a peek…

  • Join in the discussion at Unfiction, where people are actually trying to determine where the recordings took place and where the locations mentioned are!
  • Transcripts are listed at Wonderweasels.org

Tags: ,

Categories: ARGs General, Books, Rabbit Hole, 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 »

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Grassroots, Puppetmasters, Rabbit Hole

17
Dec'08

WoW, The Legacy of Julian Teng

   Posted by: thebruce

In 2006, ARGNet published a year-in-review article in which the idea was raised of running ARGs in virtual worlds such as Second Life and World of Warcraft.  As a twist, Rez Nation even broadcast a podcast from within Second Life.

Today, Wikibruce received a trailhead, to which I’m obliged to respond: OMGKLOO!

A new ARG is underway incorporating the alternate reality of World of Warcraft – but not exclusively.  Developed for GamerDNA, it’s called “The Legend of Julian Teng”, and is set to incorporate the WoW MMORPG, puzzles and mysteries, and likely a number of real-world (or, non-WoW) events, locations, and interactions.

The story behind “The Legacy of Julian Teng”
Brian Morgan and his friends started playing World of Warcraft to stay in touch last summer, but Brian’s research into the mysterious Tunguska event and the life of Julian Teng has caused them to grow further apart than they could have imagined. The last time anyone saw Brian Morgan he was playing a Tauren called Tunguska on Korialstrasz in World of Warcraft in mid-November. Nobody has heard from him since.

Wikibruce had already been asked by a community member to set up a wiki, which is now live at JulianTeng.Wikibruce.com.  To catch up on events, visit Brian’s friends’ guild website buds.gamerdna.com.  Here’s the video of Brian’s friends as they discover him strangely missing:

And now, I present two exclusive Julian Teng clues - two of a few that have apparently been sent to various websites.  This clue came with the filename “3.jpg”

The second clue – that’s a special one. To encourage community involvement, gamerDNA is allowing community members to ‘vote’ for their favourite sites and clues. Wikibruce’s clue is below – so if you want to support Wikibruce, and help this site win a “very exclusive clue indeed”, follow the image to gamerDNA and give it up a thumbs up!  You can also take a look at other clues sent to other websites.

  • Go and visit the Julian Teng Wiki to get caught up
  • Head over the GamerDNA’s ARG Community forum to connect with other players!
  • Remember, this isn’t just for players of World of Warcraft – anyone can be involved!  After all, Brian’s real, and he’s gone missing…!
  • (O Unfiction, where art thou?)

Tags: , ,

Categories: ARGs General, Rabbit Hole, Video games

12
Dec'08

The Stranger Is Watching

   Posted by: thebruce

(Click for large versions)



Reports of a disturbing email today…

from: Stranger and Stranger
to: Stranger and Stranger
date: Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 10:49 AM
subject: spread the truth
mailed-by: googlemail.com

they say they have her body.

 

on display tonight in portland, they say.
saturday in sacramento.
monday in san francisco.
tuesday in los angeles.

 

do you believe them?

 

well, of the two of us, i know the truth.

 

i say they’re lying.

 

but people will show up. they will believe.
will you help me convince them otherwise?

 

wkapfm.com/evidence_message.zip

 

print these photos out.
pass them out to who you can.
tape them to the walls.
leave them where people will find them.

 

and most importantly:
tell them how to contact me.

 

people need to know.

 

if you won’t be there,
spread the word where you can.

 

take pictures.
send me proof
and i will reward you for your diligence.

 

ever
watching,
ts

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Rabbit Hole

19
Nov'08

Blood money incriminates international bank

   Posted by: thebruce

Not long ago, a report came in from Germany about a mysterious letter received from “Louis Salinger”.  Patrick Möller reported the mail, and the steps he was prompted to then carry out.

Pointing the browser to folgedemgeld.de (‘follow the money’), he was greeted by Louis Salinger, chief inspector of Scotland Yard. After being given information about an investigation into the “International Bank of Business and Credit“, he was told to travel to Treptower Park in Berlin to meet a contact who would give them more information.  At the park, however, they discovered a CD with the words “STOP THE INTERNATIONAL” scrawled on its face (appropriately, a website bearing the same phrase is where ‘folgedemgeld.de’ leads), and containing a wealth of information.  (see his photos here, UPDATE: or the very nicely composed official mission de-brief)

Earlier this week, another recipient came forward – gupfee, from ARGNet – who reports having received a very similar package as to that which Patrick was led.  Inside the package were a number of items, including a USB key with photos and a message from “Colin Newbrink”.

Download- Colin Newbrink’s Message

You’ve never heard of me, but my name is Colin Newbrink, and I’m in a bloody mess. Please, listen, I need your help. I don’t know how all this happened – I’m in hiding, my family’s in danger.  Somehow, I’ve stumbled upon a conspiracy so big and terrible.

But let me tell you how all this started.  I work with the London branch of a good works organization, called Global Eyes Development Fund. We fight poverty, remove land mines, bring aid and education to developing nations, in a continued quest to transform, to right wrongs, and help the needy.  At least, that’s what I thought for the five years I ran the office… until I went to Africa in September.

I saw something I wasn’t supposed to see. This “coordinator” from headquarters – Harriet Matar – I thought she was there to arrange travel plans. But… I still can’t believe it… I saw her give this suitcase of cash to some very bad guys. I mean bad. A group known to be seeking the overthrow of a democratically elected government.

I start digging.  Turns out Global Eyes is a front.  The real power behind it is the IBBC.  So I go to my mentor and friend in Berlin, a man named Wilhelm Wexlar, who’s on the globalized board. I told him everything – what I saw, what I discovered. He listened. He was shocked as I was. He told me he’d make some phone calls, try to get to the bottom of this. So, I have an ally.  But who knows who else is listening.

Ever since I left that office, I’ve been followed and tracked – I see eyes everywhere. Even my wife told me that strange men have been showing up around the flat in London. So I panicked. I know it sounds paranoid, but I know this is happening.  I’ve taken my wife and two children to a secure location and returned to Berlin, stashing evidence against The International to make sure I have some leverage.

If you find this disc, I pleas with you to get it to the proper authorities. I am told that Louis Salinger of Scotland Yard has been investigating this IBBC. I think he’s your man.

BCX-04 BCX-05 BCX-06 BCX-07
BCX-08 BCX-03 BCX-10 BCX-11
BCX-02 BCX-09

Since reporting these packages, people have discovered StopTheInternational.com.  On this website is a field where serial numbers of money flagged in their database can be entered.  There’s also a map showing specific drop locations of evidence against the IBBC – the first location being Berlin, retrieved by Patrick.  Other locations flagged for drop events are Los Angeles, New York, and London.

Los Angeles‘ drop is scheduled to occur, according to its countdown, at 1:00pm PST on November 19.

Other websites found so far to be related are TheIBBC.com, and GlobalEyesDevelopmentFund.org.

Suffice to say, this may well turn into a worldwide hunt for blood money, plus much more!  Others have since reported finding blood money conspicuously located near them.

 

Here’s the juicy bit:  There is substantial rumour this is the next project to come from the minds at 42 Entertainment (who also brought us alternate reality games and campaigns promoting properties such as The Dark Knight’s “Why So Serious”, Resistance 2, Gun’s “Last Call Poker”, and Halo 2′s “I Love Bees”)

It’s also fairly clear that this is a new campaign for the upcoming movie The International, starring Clive Owen (IMDB). The movie is scheduled for a February 13, 2009 release.

Some other recipients of blood money reported online include: Movieweb, Firstshowing, Despoiler, Patmo, ARGN

UPDATE (11/19): The Los Angeles cache has been recovered (read the first hand report).  Much like the Berlin cache, new files and images have been revealed, including the answer to the mission: find a login to the IBBC secret archive, and report it to Salinger.

Tags: ,

Categories: ARGs General, Movies, Rabbit Hole

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

23
Sep'08

One one one what?

   Posted by: thebruce

Philebrity.com is reporting on a new mysterious viral discovery in Philadelphia – large puzzle piece have been showing up around town.  They were tipped by a reader (reportedly) who said they’ve been seeing them around town, and “went to the site at one-one-one.net and it redirected to a flickr pool which at the time of this writing has only one photo uploaded.
The flickr group’s description says: shoot. upload. solve

That’s all.

If you live in Philly, can you help put together the pieces of this puzzle?
Or is this just “Kitby”‘s idea for a ‘Project 365′?

**UPDATE

Kitby has posted a photo of the instructions that were found with that puzzle piece:

Tags:

Categories: Rabbit Hole, Viral General

16
Sep'08

What is the last thing you want to see?

   Posted by: thebruce

A rainbow?  Aurora Borealis?  The Titanic?
I Am Blind.

Someone is.
Recently, ARGN received a mysterious message on its tipline (download and listen here) with an computer-emulated whispering voice saying:

Alone in the darkness. Send your mailing address to 1003@iamblind.org

The email address we’re not sure of yet, because all attempts to email it have resulted in bounced responses.  Perhaps someone else might be figure out an alternate transcription of the email address?

The website, however, contains the single phrase, barely visible: “I am blind”.  Placing your mouse pointer over the phrase causes another sound bite to be played.  This one sounds like a recording in a crowded area such as a mall, where a number of voices are overlaid of people answering this simple question:

The last thing I want to see is…

What does it mean?  One theory is that it’s a viral campaign for the upcoming movie Blindness, releasing Sept 26th.

The final response, however, feels eerily significant:

I would try to remember each day, and maybe if I was successful enough, maybe it would be like I could see again.

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Movies, Rabbit Hole

7
Aug'08

Calling all smort friends…

   Posted by: thebruce

Someone’s been locked up in a warehouse in Thailand and they need our help!  Though, I don’t really know who to trust… I mean, I received this tip from someone named slayher.  That doesn’t sound too reassuring.

hey, i’m not getting a lot of traction with the regular gaming crowd, but i heard youre a good detective?  My brother, 2600, and his gaming team, B Dangerous, are locked up in a Thai warehouse.  They had a run-in with some bad guys after winning a tournament at the Caribbean Club.  tryin to figure out ways to help them help themselves, know what I mean??
 
www.SaveBDangerous.com
 
help me, the bruce, yr my only hope!
oh, bring your friends.  i heard they’re smort.

Despoiler also received a tip this week, although with different content.

Nevertheless, if you’re smort, go get’em!

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Rabbit Hole

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