Archive for the ‘Puppetmasters’ Category


Kring gives you a chance to be a Hero – Conspiracy For Good

   Posted by: thebruce

Check out this press release from Tim Kring and Nokia, revealing a new social and educational game for change. Conspiracy For Good has been running since mid-May, but anyone is able to join the Conspiracy, so go take a look.
Wikibruce is also hosting the community wiki if you need a place to get caught up!

“HEROES” creator Tim Kring and Nokia launch Conspiracy For Good
June 22, 2010

Audience participation drives social and educational change

Espoo, Finland – “Heroes” creator Tim Kring and Nokia today unveiled Conspiracy For Good (CFG,, an inaugural movement that blends online and real-world tasks to effect social change through audience participation. CFG combines Kring’s original storytelling ( and Nokia’s Ovi platform ( to create a dramatic, fictional experience using interactive theatre, mobile and alternate reality gaming (ARG), music and physical participation to do good in the world. Participants will become part of the plot development and will find the necessary tools and clues to move the narrative forward and into the real-world, ultimately creating social and educational change for the Chataika Basic School, located in the village of Chataika in eastern Zambia.

“I believe that storytelling has the power to create positive change in the world. Audiences today want to be more involved in stories,” said Tim Kring, 2010 Digital Emmy Pioneer Award winner for transmedia storytelling. “Our goal with the Conspiracy For Good is to entice, engage, and inspire the audience to drive real-world change through their participation in a narrative.”

The Backstory (Fictional Plot)
Over the decades, members of Conspiracy For Good have been reputed to be quietly and effectively doing good in the world’s most troubled areas. But CFG is not without enemies, and it is now under fierce attack by Blackwell Briggs (, a London-based multinational company committed to advanced infrastructure development and security services. For help, CFG turned to Kring, a master storyteller, to share their story, recruit new members to read the signs, and bring down Blackwell Briggs.

Joining the Conspiracy For Good
Participants enter into the story, which fuses reality and fiction, through, where they will join like-minded thinkers, artists, musicians and causes, creating a unified voice to fight for social and environmental justice. The audience can take action within their own comfort zone and level of engagement to meet new people with similar interests online and in person, and have some fun too. Participants who join CFG will be able to solve mysteries online, play casual mobile games or be a physical participant in the London events that will take place from mid-July through early August.

CFG brings to life many of the experiences that Ovi, Nokia’s Internet service platform, offers to people that use its devices. CFG participation on Ovi occurs through a series of existing and upcoming apps including casual games like “Exclusion” ( and “Mainframe Liberator” ( that unlock codes to confidential websites, Ovi Maps ( to guide characters through the story, and Ovi Music where hidden information within songs can be deciphered to advance the story.

In the UK, participants will be able to download a special edition app called Conspiracy For Good: DeadDrop powered by Nokia’s Point & Find service. Available in the UK Ovi Store ( in mid-July, the app will allow players to point at objects and images in the real-world to discover clues and participate in challenges during the series of upcoming events in London.

“Tim Kring has truly realized the potential for Nokia’s Ovi platform as an additional distribution channel to once more advance storytelling through interconnected services and active audience participation,” said Tero Ojanperä, executive vice president, Nokia. “Conspiracy For Good is Nokia’s most powerful example to date for how content owners can blur the lines between the online and real-world to connect people to change.”

How to Join
Anyone is welcome to join the conspiracy from any country. For those who live in or plan to visit London later this summer, event participation is free, registration to is required and no purchase is necessary.

About Tim Kring
Tim Kring is one of the Hollywood creative community’s original transmedia storytellers, who works seamlessly across mediums, including viewing screens and delivery devices such as film, TV, broadband, computers, mobile devices and the printed page to engage audiences around the world in narrative and immersive story arcs. For four television seasons, Kring served as the creator and executive producer of “Heroes,” NBC’s Emmy®-nominated epic saga that chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities. An estimated 76 million fans viewed “Heroes” every week around the world on TV and via interactive online programming.

About Nokia
At Nokia, we are committed to connecting people. We combine advanced technology with personalized services that enable people to stay close to what matters to them. Every day, more than 1.2 billion people connect to one another with a Nokia device – from mobile phones to advanced smartphones and high-performance mobile computers. Today, Nokia is integrating its devices with innovative services through Ovi (, including music, maps, apps, email and more. Nokia’s NAVTEQ is a leader in comprehensive digital mapping and navigation services, while Nokia Siemens Networks provides equipment, services and solutions for communications networks globally.

About Ovi
Ovi is a family of internet services for use on Nokia mobile devices that keeps people connected to the people and things that matter. Ovi services include Ovi Maps with walk and drive navigation and premium travel content; Ovi Music with millions of music tracks; Ovi Mail for email and messaging; Ovi Share for sharing content; and the Ovi Store, filled with thousands of apps, games and media from the content industry’s biggest names along with independent developers. Content publishers are invited to distribute and monetize their content through Ovi by visiting More information is available at

Media Enquiries:

For Tim Kring
Rogers & Cowan
Sallie Olmsted/Jessica Boyer
Tel. +1 310 854-8124/+1 310 854-8141
Email: /

Tel. +358 7180 34900

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Categories: ARGs General, Educational, Puppetmasters


Kim-Lee-Thomas-Dombrowski: Storytelling in New Media

   Posted by: thebruce

Elan Lee, co-founder of Fourth Wall Studios and long-time ARG Puppetmaster, recently tweeted that a new paper he co-authored about ARGs and storytelling had been published online.

Titled “Storytelling in new media: The case of alternate reality games, 2001-2009“, authors Jeffrey Kim, Elan Lee, Timothy Thomas, and Caroline Dombrowski cover and discuss a variety of Alternate Reality Games that took place over the past 8 years, and compare their strengths and shortcomings.


New media allows previously passive consumers to tell and shape stories together. Yet most information is still disseminated in a top–down fashion, without taking advantage of the features enabled by new media. This paper presents five Alternate Reality Game (ARG) case studies which reveal common features and mechanisms used to attract and retain diverse players, to create task–focused communities and to solve problems collectively. Voluntary, collective problem solving is an intriguing phenomenon wherein disparate individuals work together asynchronously to solve problems together. ARGs also take advantage of the unique features of new media to craft stories that could not be told using other media.

You can read the entire paper at

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Categories: ARGs General, Educational, Puppetmasters


Cheers and farewell, Dave Szulborski

   Posted by: thebruce

April 23, 2009, ARG designer, beloved husband, father, and friend Dave Szulborski passed away. 

As announced by Dee Cook at unfiction:

Dave Szulborski passed away last night after a long and incredibly courageous battle with leukemia. He leaves behind his wife Marianne, his baby son Tyler, and many many friends both online and in the real world.

If you are interested in attending the funeral services, here’s the information:

Sunday night, visitation at Long Funeral Home, 500 Linden Street, Bethlehem, PA from 6-8 PM.

Monday morning, memorial service at St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church, 617 East Fourth Street, Bethlehem, PA at 11 AM.

If you would like to send along your respects:

It was Dave’s wish that in lieu of flowers, people contribute towards his son’s education. You can do so by sending a check to the following:

Long Funeral Home
500 Linden Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018

Make the check payable to Long Funeral Home, and put “Tyler Szulborski Education Fund” in the memo.

Also, there is a memorial page posted at the funeral home site where you can write in the guest book, and there will be an obituary posted on The Morning Call tomorrow.

Last, Dave’s wife Marianne would love to hear from you and keep in touch with the community. Her email address is She said that she is going to put some of the strings of cranes in with Dave to rest.

I personally met Dave only a couple of times, through the annual ARGFest events.  Last year, Dave S. graced us with his presence in Boston, and providing the Keynote address: “The Story Inside: Making ARGs for Fun and Profit”.  Fun always came first.

Two years ago, I had the privilege being selected as Dave’s Secret Santa at Unfiction.  I was floored, and immediately felt that pressure of hoping to find a gift that would be greatly appreciated (knowing, of course, he would appreciate any gift at all).  I gave him a copy of a book he was hoping to read at some point. And as is quite common, I made up a special puzzle for him to solve on receiving the book.  I never found out if he solved it. As a matter of fact, I never even found out whether he liked the book or not.

I was also privileged to be on the receiving end of some of Dave’s ARG swag from a game called Monster Hunters Club for the foreign film The Host.  My name was drawn randomly from entrants to receive – to save – an old collectible monster figurine or action figure.  On my doorstep a short while later was some unique ARG swag from the game.  Don’t worry, Dave.  Bionic Bigfoot will be safe from harm.

It was only two months ago, precisely, that I blogged about Dave’s condition, happy that was back out of the hospital and doing fine. Funny how fast things can change.

The few times I met him and spent time with him, he made an enormous impression. I recently bought his book “This Is Not A Game“, and am slowly reading through it. Dave was a brilliant, creative, intelligent game creator.  Others who’ve known him on a far more personal level and who’ve worked with him are expressing the same sentiments. He was a wonderful leader and inspiration to us all.

This article can’t possible describe all that Dave has done, or even come close to paying a satisfactory homage to the man.  So I resign to simply share my personal reflection of his influence in my life.

Dave, you will surely be missed.

(Please review the announcement above for information about Dave, memorials, donations, and others sharing about Dave)


Categories: Puppetmasters


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 »


Categories: ARGs General, Grassroots, Puppetmasters, Rabbit Hole


SXSW 2009 Web Awards Finalists Announced

   Posted by: thebruce

wb_sxsw09South by Southwest Interactive has just announced the finalists for the 2009 Web Awards. The 12th Annual SXSW takes place March 13-22, with the awards ceremony on Sunday, March 15.

A number of familiar names appear in the list of finalists this year, including:

(full list of finalists below)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Categories: ARGs General, Puppetmasters


Go behind the scenes at 42 Entertainment

   Posted by: thebruce has posted an in-depth behind the scenes interview with 42 Entertainment – the company that produced the Alternate Reality Game for Batman: The Dark Knight (aka “Why So Serious?“).

Read the interview with Susan Bonds and Alex Lieu about The Dark Knight over at Creativity-Online.  Find out some hidden secrets and the way things were from ‘behind the curtain’ during the campaign’s run.

42 Entertainment is also currently known to be running the ARG for Sony’s upcoming PS3 game Resistance 2 (aka “Project Abraham“)


Categories: Puppetmasters


Twenty Questions with Double Twenty

   Posted by: thebruce

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

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

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

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


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Categories: ARGs General, Puppetmasters


The reports of bees have been greatly exaggerated

   Posted by: thebruce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Categories: Puppetmasters, Viral General


Familiar faces in the Cannes Lions winners list

   Posted by: thebruce

The 2008 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival began Monday in France, and awards have already been announced in many categories. Yesterday, the Cyber Lions category was addressed, and some familiar faces were rewarded with some hefty recognition!

For last year’s Halo 3 Believe website website, AKQA (www.akqa.comreceived silver for “Websites & Microsites”.

The Halo 3 “Believe” site is the interactive companion to the global advertising campaign which positioned Master Chief as the greatest of Earth’s heroes. Utilizing sophisticated motion control cameras and digital compositing, the 1200 square foot diorama was transformed into a fully immersive experience, giving users the ability to interact with and explore the elaborate monument to humanity’s greatest battle as well as a wealth of other content.
(Halo 3: Believe – view the site)

Secondly, 42 Entertainment ( received two awards for their Year Zero Alternate Reality Game with Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails: the Grand Prix for “Viral Advertising” and a Silver for “Interactive Campaigns”

The ambitious Year Zero alternate reality game (ARG), a work of cross-media art involving websites, emails, phone calls, album packaging, tour t-shirts, thumb drives, music videos, murals, and live concert events with the new music of Nine Inch Nails at its core. Playing out over 10 weeks, the Year Zero ARG engaged over 2.5M participants. It started with a message hidden in the back of a concert t-shirt that lead to online websites – ultimately over 29 websites discovered over several months, 7.5M page views, 7M forum postings, 2M phone calls and thousands of original art submissions.
(NIN: Year Zero – see the overview)

Congratulations 42 Entertainment and AKQA!

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Categories: Puppetmasters


No more Holomystery

   Posted by: thebruce

The veil’s been lifted – the creators of the Holomove company, technology and, well, drama have been discovered. Speculation of its connections ranged from Microsoft’s Surface, to Fox’s upcoming TV series Fringe, to a very, very high quality grassroots ARG. But the following news was discovered posted on Microsoft’s MSDN Tech-ed blog:

In collaboration with Visual Studio, Microsoft has created the ultimate challenge that tells the story of Nathan Bozeman who gets the chance to change the world, but at an extraordinary price. Since the immersive game began in May 2008, it has captivated players around the world. Find out what’s happened so far and join the adventure—there’s still time to get involved.

Watch the experimental technology being developed at Holomove.

To join in, catch up on the trailhead at Unfiction.
Or check out all the current websites and media.

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Categories: ARGs General, Puppetmasters