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Archive for the ‘Video games’ Category

8
Sep'10

UNSC Control Point Defense

   Posted by: thebruce


On September 4, Toronto became ground zero for a Covenant attack on a UNSC control point, just as was warned in the Xbox News video series (which has since come to a disturbing end).

Teams of 6 troops marched onto the (laser) battlefield to ward off Covenant attackers and defend the UNSC obelisk. Presented with a Halo: Reach t-shirt and lanyard, they were then ushered into a tent where they could train on Halo: Reach’s multiplayer firefight.

People who had pre-ordered their copy of Halo: Reach were granted the privilege to switch sides on the field and play as an enemy Covenant again the UNSC onslaught.

The event lasted 6 hours, with over a thousand players cycled through the battlefield. Even Master Chief himself showed up to support the troops.

  • Halo: Reach drops September 14, 2010.
  • For more high quality photos from the events, visit Flickr.
  • For more details about the viral components leading up to the Toronto and Vancouver UNSC events, visit halo.wikibruce.com.

Halo: Reach Toronto Control Point Defense community event from Xbox Canada
Go to Youtube

Don’t forget – Remember Reach…

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Categories: Video games, Viral General

19
Sep'09

A payphone rings in New Mombasa… do you answer it? Do you?

   Posted by: thebruce

Master Chief: Bobble HeadPerhaps this article would be better entitled: Why I love Halo: An Epic Analysis.

I’m not a Halo fanatic…relatively speaking. I’m not shy about being an enormous fan of the Halo franchise, but I don’t own a Master Chief costume, nor have I ever worn one. I don’t know every little intricate detail of the Halo universe. I can’t ramble off stats, ID numbers, the name and rank of every known character. I don’t play the video game most of the day, every day, and it’s a fat chance I’d “pwn” anyone in multiplayer these days if I did. At all. I’m what you might consider a discoverer, or a story enthusiast.

Halo: Combat EvolvedI was an early adopter of the original Xbox back in 2001, due solely to previews of Halo: Combat Evolved. At that point, I was a gamer. My friends at first were annoyed with my constant raving about Halo, yet many eventually caved and began playing as well – and soon, much more than me. My game-playing fanaticism and multiplayer skill slowly faded as I was drawn further into the mystery, the story world that had been created by Bungie Studios.

I would not hesitate in the slightest to refer to the Halo franchise as “Epic”.

Quite often I compare the potential scope of this universe to that of Star Trek or Star Wars. To me, for a story to be epic, it must have potential to become a ‘part of the whole’, a story told within what feels to be a much, much larger untold story. For an epic to be successful in my opinion, it needs to employ a certain formula. It needs first to be told from the perspective of an individual, or providing only a very small portion of the larger picture, and still make a personal connection with the audience. If done right, this story alone would capture its audience.

Consider recent entertainment franchises like Terminator, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or even the Chronicles of Riddick. Each begins by telling a self-contained story from a single perspective, while leaving many questions unanswered in the end. Sarah Connor has to survive against a deadly killing machine from the future. Neo strives desperately to discover and understand what the Matrix is. The little hobbits in peaceful Hobbiton have their worlds turned upside by an unknown, evil force. Harry potter learns about a strange, magical, hidden world. The convict Riddick uses his extreme skills to survive and escape a deadly planet. Each of these tease at a larger universe with untold stories, but begin with an engaging tale of discovery or exploration of something unknown.

Enter Master Chief, Spartan John-117.

Master Chief gazesPresuming one knows nothing of the previous, indirectly related Marathon titles – with Halo, we begin from the Chief’s perspective, opening up not only in the middle of a war we know nothing about, but making that first, eerie discovery of a foe that threatens much more than we could imagine (I will never forget watching for the first time the cinematic cutscene in which the Chief discovers the Flood). Already, the premise is clear that this isn’t just a self-contained video game story, but actually only a very small window into a universe filled with history and a future, conflict, and characters that truly feel as if they have backstories and full lives.

( Continue to the next page )

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Categories: ARGs General, Books, Movies, Video games

24
Mar'09

Resist or be Terminated

   Posted by: thebruce

Skynet Research

SkynetResearch appears to be having some technical difficulties. From an email sent earlier today:

ATTENTION: ALL VISITORS TO SKYNETRESEARCH.COM

Skynet Research is experiencing technical difficulties on our corporate website. A networking error has generated interference in the audio presentation. Do not be alarmed. Skynet Research is doing everything in our power to resolve this technical issue as quickly as possible and resume normal operation.

Visitors to the SkynetResearch.com website should ignore this interference entirely.
Do not attempt to discern, repair, or otherwise tamper with the audio signal broadcasting during this time. Failure to follow this command can lead to further corrupting of the impacted data and cause further difficulty.

Skynet Research is also aware of rumors circulating that there is another explanation for this interference on the website www.ResistOrBeTerminated.com. This is false information. Skynet Research has no affiliation with this particular URL, and Skynet Research suggests all Internet users avoid www.ResistOrBeTerminated.com altogether.

Thank you for your patience, and you can be rest assured that Skynet Research will soon return to providing services that improve life for all human beings!

We are committed to making your life different,
Skynet Research

Visit SkynetResearch.com and you’ll find a strange distorted sound in the background.

Some quick audio manipulation to slow the sound down to a fraction its speed reveals a radio transmission from what sounds like a resistance ground assult team.

Listen
(1.2MB)

An attempted transcript of the audio reads:

This is recon team (—- three) to base. Base, do you read? Requesting extraction. (pause) I say again – we’re overdue by three days. We’re (—–) and we’re ready to debrief. Say (again) – we’ve completed reconnaissance. We’re prepared to (set) all tech comm units on (skynet attack). Current coordinates: (Romeo 2#####). Repeat. Immediate extraction for four man team. One (injured). We’ll attempt next contact at 0900 hours. (——) *cut*

Update: Full transcript revealed and added below.

This update has revealed a new website, ResistOrBeTerminated.com, which looks to be updating with news about Skynet Research.

Things are starting to heat up, it seems!

And now, more ‘behind the scenes’ information 

Some clever users at Unfiction have uncovered some preview content from ROBT.com, that wasn’t yet supposed to be available for the public.

…Content that indicates this ARG may very well be tied to the upcoming video game Terminator: Salvation (Wikipedia), scheduled for release May 29, 2009 on all major consoles and PC – as well as the Terminator: Salvation movie opening May 22, 2009.

Nevertheless, while the video game is looking very nice, and the movie even moreso, there’s certainly something going on with Skynet Research here and now!  So go check it out!

UPDATE:

Here is a leaked video clip from the Terminator: Salvation movie…

UPDATE x2:

Unfortunately, the leaked video clip has been removed from Youtube by request. In other words – expect to see it again soon!

UPDATE x3:

ResistOrBeTerminated.com has been updated with an image containing single frames from the leaked video:

As well as a new video from Bre Pettis

UPDATE x4:

ResistOrBeTerminated has posted an analysis of the reduced audio, filling in the holes:

This is recon team Strider Three to base. Base, do you read? Requesting extraction.   I say again – we’re overdue by three days. We’re (garbled) and we’re ready to debrief. Say again – we’ve completed reconnaissance. We’re prepared to set all Tech Comm Units on Skynet Attack. Current coordinates:  Romeo (garbled). Repeat. Immediate extraction for four man team. One injured. We’ll attempt next contact at 0900 hours.

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Movies, Video games

23
Feb'09

Home Is Where the Mystery Is (updated! 3-23-09)

   Posted by: thebruce

Update! – (March 23, 2009)

“Xi has begun!” says the official US Playstation blog. Clearly stating:

The world’s first console-based Alternate Reality Game starts today in PlayStation Home.

Called Xi , the adventure takes place in a series of secret areas in Home – and beyond – changing day by day, week by week, in real time. Anyone with a PLAYSTATION 3 can join in the fun for free – in English, French, Italian, German or Spanish.

To discover the mystery of Xi, simply log on to PlayStation Home and look for the graffiti on the wall in the main square. Find that, and all will be revealed…

So, if you’ve got a PS3, go check it out!  See what the hype is about, and whether this really is an “Alternate Reality Game”.


Xi Greek Letter, mysterious symbol found in PS HomeSony is beginning to make good use of their communal Playstation Home virtual space for the PS3 community. While still in an open Beta phase, it’s being adopted by many, many players.  But all is not static and ordinary in this organic, virtual utopia.

North America and Europe have both been receiving odd messages, and finding short, strange video clips eerily displaying a symbol or logo of the greek letter Xi, and what looks like robot head.  At first glance, they may look like bugs in the system, little holes in the code from developers that haven’t been fixed yet.  But… that seems too easy an explanation. Especially since it’s happening world-wide, they’re not getting fixed in a timely manner, and well, the videos are blatantly placed for optimal viral effect. :)

In Home, the player has a PDA that is viewable at any time. That’s the interface to community updates, news, locations, general commands, etc - a typical ‘start’ menu.  In the Community section, however, the News tab has been showing strange text messages; but these don’t seem to be aimed at players, but rather mistakenly placed messages between… well who knows?  The Updates tab has also been showing some odd Java-based code content.  These updates have only shown for short periods of time, but they’ve coincided with discoveries of hidden video clips found in various locations of Home spaces.  It appears these updates have occurred on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Discussion of this mystery is spreading, but the primary sources of player sleuthing are at the Playstation forums for Europe and the US, and at Pandemic Studios.  One user has also set up a Google site to help track the updates.  It’s not easy when the pieces of the puzzle vary from place to place and don’t match up between the US and Europe regions.  So the mystery must be in the content, not the context.  What can you make of these snippets?  I’ve done my best to try to organize what’s known, but dates and locations are hard to nail down.

“AlphaSpace/AlphaZone”

News:
ACCESSING RECORDS…1 ENTRY RECEIVED…FILE
PARTIALLY CORRUPTED…Date…unknown.It has
been days since we had an accurate report from the
computer.The CPU is…failing. Fast. Communications
are…too erratic. External is down. Internal is patchy at
best. Core life-support functionality…that’s restricted
but still working. For now.
Update:
–Open Alpha Test Space–
if s==”AlphaZone3″ then
OpenDoors(AlphaSpace[8])
end
(Video-EU-robohead) at the end of the Redbull video
(Video-EU-zone1) ‘AlphaZone 1′ (EU)

“Barrier”

News:
Visual recognition confirmed.
Security barrier now open.
Update:
– r =
Validate(cSecurityAvatar[g->MAINTENANCE_DATABASE]);
if (r) then bBarrierOpen=true;
Trigger(AudioSecurityOpen);
else
–Transmit(AlertSecutity) //jess :)
Trigger(AudioSecurityFailed);
end
(Video-EU-hallway) at the end of the Redbull video

“Water Pressure Valve”

News:
Three weeks ago there was a significant drop in water
pressure – too large to be explained by any leak.
Yesterday, another drop in pressure was noticed.
Update:
–Home maintenance Aqua – 3/cs:1
svalve=GetWarningSource();
if sValue==’FEC819′ then
–Home Square
CallEngineer(t1);
elseif sValue==’A76bC1′ then
–Central Plaza
CallEngineer(t2);
else
–Apartments
NotifyMaintenanceControl();
end
Return 0;
(Video-EU-stairway) at the end of the Redbull video
(Video-US-hallway) at the end of the Bowling alley “I Love Ninjas” video

“Xi_S93″

News:
jess are you there? ————- Xi is almost ready.
Update:
function Xi_S93() {
MemCpy(&Stapler,&35623,sz);
for ctr=1,MAX_EXP do
SecureWrite(exp[ctr]}
end
Wipe(&Stapler); }
(Video-US-robohead) after the movie theatre previews

“Maintenance Elevators” UPDATE!

News:
HELPFUL REMINDER
Maintenance elevators serve as vital conduits for
Maintenance personnel only, not as a short cut for
alpha testers. Please respect Maintenance rules.
Update:
–Maintenance Power Usage – period to 20th February
2009.
 
% change on previous period
————————————————–
Security +2.1
Repair  -3.8
Manufacturing  +0.6
Staff areas  -7.2
Elevators   +28.4
(Video-EU-underground) after the Redbull video
(Video-US-underground) after the MLB video, Central plaza

An additional mystery (and it’s uncertain if this is related to the strange code, messages, and videos above) has been discovered only in the US Home, where if looking out to the upper-left-most area of the Central Plaza from the right side of the exit doors still within the bowling alley, you can make out the corner of an ad billboard that looks like the latter half of a “KILLZONE 2″ title banner. Some have also found a very low-resolution, blurry clip of what looks like a screenshot from the game.  Could this be a hint that a Killzone 2 space is coming to Home soon?

My theory is this: Sony is brilliantly using mystery within the tool itself, to hint at upcoming additions to available content (it seems to me the timing of new spaces and content is related to the updates above) – rather than just announcing updates, this viral aspect increases hype and discussion, getting people into Home who may not be already.  Well, it worked for me: after hearing about this mystery, I decided to check it out myself.   Home is still in open beta – but third party content spaces have been added already, including spaces for Far Cry 2, Redbull, and Uncharted.  I think people who are speculating at upcoming Spaces with these snippets as clues are on the right track, and the current mysteries may very well be pointing to a new space soon, such as for Killzone 2.  But it’s just a theory.  The significance of Xi, however, remains a mystery. The announcement of a new game would certainly be a strong possibility as well.

UPDATES!

This area will be kept up to date with news on this mystery…

  • (2/24/09) A ninja named Locust_Star could be heard/read shouting “sensootaka sannyuu mokuyoubi” – or, “sensou taka sannyuu mokuyoubi” which translates directly to “war hawk coming thursday”, confirming the arrival of a Warhawk game space with the v1.11 PSHome update Thursday.
  • (2/24/09) A new daily message indicates that there will be certain ninjas running around between 9-10am PST (12-1pm EST) within PSHome, carrying messages to their masters, which could be intercepted.  Version 1.11 of PSHome will also be rolled out on Thursday.
  • (2/23/09) TheSixthAxis has a new entry that’s quite suspicious… The RSS summary for this entry reads: “XI, My Friend. Open Up. I remember when all this was just grass. Sorry, glass.”  TSA has previously posted entries hinting that they have inside info.
  • (2/23/09) The recent video shown on the EU server Redbull video is now available in North America’s Central Plaza.

Whatever the mystery is, however, it’s creepy enough, vague enough, and enticing enough to have people going bananas over this “Xi” the world over.  Suffice to say, they want answers…

Xi Protest

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Categories: ARGs General, Video games, Viral General

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

5
Feb'09

Rumours of Activity in Mombasa

   Posted by: thebruce

Halo LogoSuspicious content in two of Bungie’s recent news updates have started the rumour mill turning once again.

January 24 Update
First line in the section titled “Halo 3: ODST”:

IDENT PROC 13217.0 MBARAKI.2552

January 31 Update
Again, in the section titled “Halo 3: ODST”:

IDENT PROC 13262.0 MBARAKI.2552

What’s going down in Mbaraki, and what do 13217.0 and 13262.0 represent?

These updates are much in line with Bungie’s style. Other instances similar to this occurred surrounding ‘The Superintendent’ (a series of posts by a mysterious username on B.Net, and Weekly Update news inserts by the AI seen in the full ODST trailer) and ‘The Smuggler’ (Weekly Update news inserts before the release of the Halo 3 map Cold Storage)

With both Halo Wars and Halo 3: ODST being released in 2009 (March and 3rd Quarter respectively in North America), expect a lot of mystery and commotion to build in the ARGish/viral rumour-mill.

  • Visit the Bungie/Halo 3/viral wiki at halo.wikibruce.com
  • Join in ARG specific community discussion at args.bungie.org
  • Members of the Bungie.net group Compound Intelligence can join the discussion here.

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Categories: ARGs General, Video games

19
Jan'09

Exclusive Document for Julian Teng – The Effects of the Tunguska Blast on an Eyewitness

   Posted by: thebruce

Wikibruce recently received a special exclusive clue into the Legacy of Julian Teng. This comes after previously receiving this exclusive clue:

To read the entire extensive text of the document entitled “The Effects of the Tunguska Blast on an Eyewitness”, please continue and read the full article below.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Categories: ARGs General, Video games

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?)

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Categories: ARGs General, Rabbit Hole, Video games

25
Nov'08

Every Tardy Tag Tells a Tale

   Posted by: thebruce

Wikibruce COG 700660-FC906-ELBetter late than never, as they say. Wikibruce received a Gears of War 2 COG tag yesterday – it must have quite the tale to tell, having traversed all those hills and valleys, miles and miles of weathered terrain, woretorn battlelands…

Alas, while The Last Day campaign has essentially come to a close with all locked tabs having been unlocked, all hidden COG tags around the world either found or labeled MIA, and the Gears of War 2 video game past release – this COG still has one gift to give: a unique CSID.

  • 700660-FC906-EL

This presents the DoorLogo 2 icon which, unsurprisingly, is not one of the remaining undocumented bonus downloadables.

The Last Day campaign had community members and fans runnin al around the world looking for high quality COG tags with unique codes that would either unlock a special ‘tab’ on the promotion website or pop up one of a number of special downloadable assets, from avatars, to sound clips, and wallpapers.

People on the hunt for the tags, either from GPS coordinates posted online, or through local game retailers who ran their promotional contests and giveaways, (or by mail) after receiving their COG tags would effectively provethe slogan – Every tag tells a tale. They’d share their expedition, their adventure, their trials and struggles as they pursued the ever-coveted Gears of War COG.

Its value was different to everyone; some wanted money and would sell them on eBay to the highest bidder (one sold for nearly $500USD); some wanted fame, reputation, bragging rights; some simply love the game so much, it’s a priceless commodity to add to their collection.  Whatever the reason, people around the world flew out in droves, and created tales of their own.

 

Every tag tells a tale.
See you on Xbox Live!

For an overview of the 1000 COG campaign run by AKQA, see “Gearing Up”.

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Categories: Video games, Viral General

17
Oct'08

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

   Posted by: thebruce

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

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

So now, we wait…

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

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Categories: ARGs General, Video games

9
Oct'08

Gearing up

   Posted by: thebruce

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

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

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

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

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

BONUS POPUP CONTENT CSIDs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNKNOWN TAB

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

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

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

UNLOCKABLE CONTENT CSIDs:

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

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

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

SOME INTERNATIONAL COG TAGs:

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Tags: , ,

Categories: Video games, Viral General

25
Sep'08

Keep it clean: more Bungie teasing

   Posted by: thebruce

Sept 25, 2008 – Another countdown hit zero. This one located on Bungie.net, with the target time at 7:07am Pacific. What happened at zero?

A mysterious Bungie.net user named IIIIlll or otherwise known as “The Superintendent” posted two news article recently, including segments of audio log transcripts from ONI (UNSC Office of Naval Intelligence).  Of course, the community analyzed the logs to no end.  But this latest update had everyone refreshing bungie.net’s homepage seconds before the counter hit zero.

The Superintendent has a history of cryptic, vague posts at Bungie.net’s forums. Recently, Bungie had planned to unveil an annoucement, but Microsoft, being their publisher, pulled the plug on their plans just before it was to happen at E3. That didn’t set too well.  So this countdown was eagerly anticipated, to say the least.

On hitting zero, a news article was posted including links to a teaser trailer for what is believed to be a new Bungie game.  Not a very ARGish result in itself, but the trailer does contain many, many, many scenes and frames with text and numbers for people to document and analyze.  Speculation and theories are already running rampant about the time period and the visual content of the trailer. Suffice to say, The Superintendent AI has the starring role in the trailer.

The trailers can be downloaded here:

Quicktime Small
Quicktime Medium
Quicktime Large
Windows Media Player Small
Windows Media Player Medium
Windows Media Player Large

I also managed to export a full frame-by-frame compilation from the high definition trailer, and uploaded the significant frames with visual/transcribable content to flickr, available here

Of significant note are a few frames bearing resemblance to some teaser images posted to bungie.net over the past months of the Superintendent.  Mainly, one phrase has been kicking up a dust storm.  Reported at ComputerAndVideoGames.com, the phrase “Maddie, where are you?” appears to be possibly be connected to the (very real) search for a (very real) missing girl.  A post by Shishka, a Bungie.net “overlord”, indicates it’s “an unfortunate coincidence, but a coincidence nonetheless“, confirmed by Sketchfactor of Bungie.  The phrase was connected to a bebo.com profile with a title of the same phrase, raising awareness for Maddie.
Quite a coincidence it is!

Current speculation is that the trailer is taking place between Halo 2 and Halo 3, from the perspective of New Mombasa as the Covenant Prophet Regret opens his slipstream portal in its skies (recall in the game, the Covenant ship exited slipspace bringing with it tatters of New Mombasa buildings and general destruction – her we get to see how that immediately left the city).  It appears that the Superintendent is an Urban AI located at New Mombasa – perhaps much like a Halo Wall-E!

A date also appears in mangled text in later frames – 01/06/09 – which may refer to January 6, or June 1, 2009.  There’s also a set of numbers that resembles a 1-800 number that appears, but it resolves to a real bank and may likely also just be a coincidence.

Who, or what, is “Vergil”?
And what’s special about “Level 9″?

With so much content, much of it random and undoubtedly insignificant, there’s probably going to be a lot more coincidental connections reported while the trailer is ripped to shreads by the community.  That said, if you still haven’t watched the trailer, GO NOW

So this is in all likelihood not another ARG promotion, but for any Halo fan, there’s certainly more Haloverse campaign goodness on its way…  PREPARE TO DROP

Tags: , ,

Categories: ARGs General, Video games, Viral General

15
Aug'08

Project Abraham reveals top-secret Desktop Background

   Posted by: thebruce

This week, Cassie’s voting crew chose Nathan Hale [wiki] as the next injection candidate. Thankfully, it appears another serum being delivered from Base Station Genesis has had far more positive results, and this will be the injection Hale faces this coming Tuesday.

Not only that, Cassie’s actions have been under observation, due to the ‘personal’ nature of some of her interactions with the candidate soldiers – specifically Hale and Khaner. Jarod Daltings has been suspended, and his observations catalogued in the SRPA Terminal [wiki].

But of most importance, is an image discovered in this observation package – a very high quality (1920×1200), surveillance photo of Katee Sackhoff Cassie Aklin. Of course, the image has now been made public, so who knows how many will now have Katee Cassie officially gracing their desktop background.


Download the full image here
(or from the original source)

A list of today’s update events can be found on the wiki timeline

Tags: , ,

Categories: ARGs General, Video games

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.

Tags: , ,

Categories: ARGs General, Rabbit Hole, Video games

27
Jun'08

An icy Blizzard revelation (updated!)

   Posted by: thebruce

All week, the splash page to Blizzard’s homepage has been graced with a slowly deteriorating icy fortificaton.  While it’s doubtful this is or will be an ARG, it’s certainly raised quite a viral stir.

Friday, the splash image updated to clearly show two ominously glowing eyes in the center, along with the 5th (and final?) symbol or rune, each now glowing and much more visible.  The runes have been appearing one by one throughout the week, each believed related to various Blizzard franchises or games.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags:

Categories: Video games, Viral General