You are standing in an open field
west of a white house,
with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
[What do you do?]
Next year, Smoking Gun Interactive, an independent video game studio which was founded in 2007 by the creators of the award-winning Company of Heroes, will release the first in its new graphic novel series, “X.” The initial installment was written by none other than Douglas Rushkoff, who you may remember from his columns in such publications as the Guardian, Discover, and the Daily Beast; from documentaries like The Merchants of Cool; and from being mentioned on BoingBoing approximately every twelve minutes. Rushkoff is no stranger to the digital age, being known for coining terms and concepts such as viral media (or media virus), digital native, and social currency, according to Wikipedia.
X – Page 2 (image courtesy Smoking Gun)
A special preview of the graphic novel began to roll out yesterday, located at Exoriare.com and if you look closely, you may be able to spot a wee rabbit hole embedded in the graphics. Hey, if we located it, it can’t be too hard to find! Smoking Gun promises more interactivity to come.
“One of our main goals as a studio is to constantly innovate in how we tell our stories”, said Smoking Gun CEO and Creative Director John Johnson. “Our perspective is, if you can interact with it, then it can be part of the experience we deliver. And if you cannot interact with it, then we will evolve it to the point where it can be part of our universe. There are no boundaries to where we can go or what we can accomplish.”
The novel’s subject matter lends itself well to the world of ARGs, incorporating elements of science fiction, alien invasion, and vast conspiracy. So far, we have not yet spotted an attractive brunette in distress, however.
As a small, scattered group of people stumble onto the truth, they find that they are too late: every great power on earth has already aligned itself against humanity. The war is all but over. Their struggle to discover the truth will lead them into a massive conspiracy that predates humanity itself – from the world’s most ancient sites to the global centers of power.
For those few brave enough to resist, reckless enough to see, and foolish enough to fight history itself, the war has never been over. For those few, the struggle will not be complete until the old prophecy has been fulfilled[.]
Have you seen the recent videos “leaked” to the web featuring Seth Green and his temper? Apparently, he was mugged outside of a video production studio. We saw some discussion of this after a tape of the parking log “security footage” also surfaced, and while we thought the comments about it being a “hoax” or “prank” were probably somewhat on point, we never suspected it might be related to a promotional campaign for a popular candy product. But then, we’re kind of dense that way. Thank god for this morning’s email from Sarah on behalf of the Nestlé Butterfinger Team!
All of us at Butterfinger are big fans of alternate reality games. We’re totally in awe of their creativity and amazed at the devotion and passion they inspire in ARG fans. In fact, we were so inspired we decided to create our own “lite-version” ARG. And since we’re Butterfinger, we’ve developed an irreverent, clever take on an ARG–a humor-based adventure at DudeWheresMyBar.com starring the inimitable Seth Green, and centered on the recent theft of his vintage Butterfinger bar.
Since the ARG community inspired Butterfinger to create this game, we wanted to tell the unfiction team about it personally, and hope you will try it. Our game is intended to appeal to both dedicated ARG fans, looking for a light-hearted laugh, as well as casual game players. We hope you will experience DudeWheresMyBar.com and have fun with it. Plus something cool about this ARG Lite – a grand prize for the winner – a real, solid-gold Butterfinger bar worth $10,000.
Stay tuned for updates on the game. In the meantime, we’d love to send you a supply of Butterfinger as a small token of our thanks and appreciation for the inspiration you’ve given us, so please email us your mailing address.
Enjoy the game “Dude, Where’s My Bar?” – We look forward to hearing what you think.
Angry Seth Green
Image courtesy DudeWheresMyBar.com
Aww, that part about being an inspiration makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, just like whenever we eat a Butterfinger! Unfortunately, the second half of the previous statement just made us feel a little bit dirty, too. First one is free, guys!
Speaking of which, we left in the quote the part about them offering us some free product because Michael Andersen scared us recently with the story about the
FCC FTC cracking down on bloggers who post product reviews without disclosing if they’ve received any free gifts from the company producing the product. We’re not exactly sure that this applies to us but we are pretty sure we have insufficient funds to pay any such potential fines, so we’re erring on the side of caution here. On the other hand, if the FCC FTC wanted to go ahead and pass some “Net Neutrality” regulations, we’d be perfectly happy to spew superlatives in a positive review of the Commission itself. If it helps them to decide, we can also offer them discreet but strategic “wardrobe malfunction” events on a personal basis. Just sayin’.
Anyway, surf on over (does anyone “surf” the “intertoob” anymore?) to DudeWheresMyBar.com and help Seth Green solve all of his problems! There could be a solid gold Butterfinger in it for ya! Hope you have good teeth.
For more information on the campaign, check out the press release.]]>
We recently received this really quick query from Kristen:
do you know about the 2012 ARG?
Why, yes! We have indeed heard of such a thing! In fact, the inimitable Institute for Human Continuity was generous enough to help sponsor this year’s ARGFest-o-Con, and even provided attendees with nifty swag in the form of a letter that we never got around to scanning and posting (but we’re pretty sure somebody must’ve by now).
Anyway, today may be a magical day for superfans of the upcoming movie 2012. Not only was voting to begin today in the election for a leader of the post-apocalypse remnants of humanity but apparently Comcast has teamed up with Sony Pictures to provide a sneaky preview of a scene or scenes from the movie, a month and a half prior to its release date of November 13.
Hop on over to their mini-site to find out how to view it in your area (assuming your area is served by Comcast) and let us know if you figure out where to actually vote in the election because we can’t find it for the life of us. Which apparently will end soon, that life of us, when the whole world is destroyed by suicidal asteroids with super-mega-swine-flu. The day after our birthday, by the way; that’s gonna be some Götterdämmerung party!
In the meantime, we’ll be watching all 300 comcastic channels tonight at 10:45pm to see how this is all gonna shake out. Also check out This Is The End if you want to read up on all the wonderful ARGish happenings out on which you may have been missing.]]>
If there’s anything that will bring us out of a blue monkey funk months-long bender, it’s an invitation to a party! At least, we assume the following mail drop is for a party because we Googled “Hermaeus” and found out it has something to do with celebrations in honor of Hermes involving boys and gymnasia. Hey, waitaminnit….
The Cardinal Case
New York City
Secrets stole I, treasures too;
I invite you to pursue.
How to win my worthy gifts?
I am one of many shifts.
This Hermaea worth shall prove
And the chaff from wheat remove.
Will you my fond pageant see
And earn this purloined property?
Place to place, we’ll celebrate.
Kindly, gentles, save the date.
Invitation – Click to Enzoomify
While it’s absolutely conceivable that this message has something to do with the Catholic church or certain creatures traditionally feathered in crimson, some of the Twitterati claim it’s really the next chapter in Prototype 161. Then again, it’s been so long that those guys surely must be in full production mode by now. What’s the standard shelf-life of a prototype anyway?
Regardless, we’re looking forward to the free plane ticket we expect to follow shortly, except this time not addressed to “Space Bass.” Hey, did we mention we live on the opposite coast from NYC, you blatant teases?! *shaking fist*
What is the letter on that sticker, anyway? I? S? F? YUZZ? The world may never know.]]>
If you follow the LG15Today Blog, you’re probably already aware that the Maddison Atkins ARG restarted the other day but rather than just a new chapter added to the story, this time around marks a reboot of the entire plot. Maddison Atkins was an interactive, episodic video series along the lines of Lonelygirl15 that originally launched in 2007, produced by Jeromy Barber, centered around the titular character and her friend Adam, and their experiences related to some unexplained local murders or something. We’re not sure if any kidnappings were involved but if there are this time, we might be persuaded to help with a rescue attempt! Rowr.
ARGs are notoriously un-replayable so this reboot intrigues us. From comments we’ve seen around the blogosphere, it appears that the characters and settings may be the same but the storyline will not necessarily depend upon the previous history. Could Jeromy be the next J.J. Abrams of alternate reality gaming? How about the first, then (because those Lost experiences were kind of, well…)?
Since we’re already breaking new ground here, we decided to hit the Puppetmaster himself up for some hints. Here’s what he had to say:
Hmmm Exclusive Tips… I do know that people are already passing up opportunities to progress the plot. It’s not something they can just watch, and waiting has its consequences. They have to interact to uncover what is next. To be absolutely honest, there’s a drop out there right now that the fans might miss if they don’t hurry up …. I don’t know if that’s what you were looking for, but there you are.
Sounds to us like a call to action! Check out the new videos, follow Maddison on Twitter, and head over to the Unfiction thread to discuss developments, if you’re so inclined.]]>
Brace yourselves, for we are about to concoct a post without the use of our customary snark. In truth, we’re completely enamored of this new App for the iPhone (2G or later, App priced at $6.99) called “The Hidden Park” which combines elements of location-based gaming, augmented reality, and alternate reality gaming to produce a fantastical romp through real-world parks for kids and their parents. Says the creator, James Kane:
Kids follow a GPS enabled map, answer phone calls, and collect evidence of magical creatures.
I thought you’d be interested because it’s kind of like an ARG with training wheels. Currently it’s only available in specific parks, but we’re working on a version where parents can add their own parks.
Indeed, according to the website, the app works in Central Park in New York City, Boston Common in Boston, High Park in Toronto, Kensington Gardens in London, Englischer Garden in Munich, Royal Botanic Gardens in both Melbourne and Sydney, Botanic and Zoological Gardens in Hong Kong, and Ueno Park in Tokyo. ARGh, why not Portland?! Also, how come we want an iPhone so very, very badly again?
Stein (one of the animated characters)
Here’s a bit more detailed gameplay description from The Hidden Press Pack:
The adventure begins when the children receive a video call from a troll named Trutton, head of the Magical Wildlife Protection Association. Trutton explains that their park is in danger of being bulldozed by greedy developers. The kids must collect evidence to prove the existence of magical animals in their park.
The children navigate their way through the park by following a map that lets them know where the magical creatures live. Of course, Trutton’s map is magical – as they move past landmarks in the park the map tells them where to go next.
The children must solve puzzles and riddles on their way to the next destination. Clues to the answers can be found on the signposts in the park.
Following Trutton’s directions, the children take photos of various landmarks. As if by magic, Trutton’s fantastical friends appear in the photos – sometimes right next to the children! The photos are stored in a gallery, so at the end of the day the children have an album of their adventure.
Children then have the option of joining The Hidden Park online community, where they can enter their photos into weekly competitions and learn more about the game.
Seriously, who wouldn’t want to be able to take their picture with a dragon?!
Family Posing with a Dragon
Bonus, if you’re in the area of New York City, you can try out the game for free at the Come Out and Play Festival 2009 from June 12 through 14. Also, we’ll be insanely jealous of you!
A couple more pics after the jump. Any readers out there who want to try this out and review the gameplay for us? At least until we can convince The Hidden Park to come to our town?
Mimis (in their unnatural habitat)
Coolest Family Photo Evar…with a DRAGON!
What do 33 keys, La Société de la Croix Verte, and a girl from the future named Xira have in common? A brand new car! Well, if you live in or around Québec anyway, which we don’t, but we didn’t have anything better to do today.
As far as we could piece together from the following video, Xira is looking for something she refers to as the “essence” and the website referenced in the video, reperio.ca, has page titles translating to “find the soul,” so she’s probably a vampire. This would fit in with our current theme recently begun by the invasion of robots and then werewolves, but would have absolutely nothing to do with the title of this post. Dammit! We’re always doing that!
33 Keys is an alternate reality game that challenges players to immerse themselves in a real-life, sci-fi adventure for the chance to win a brand new 2010 Mazda3.
Check out the Unfiction thread here. Or don’t, it’s pretty pathetic and a little whiney. Where is this fan site they mentioned in the video anyway? And while we’re at it, why the hell is the domain name Italian for “found” but the entire ARG is in French? And are you the Gatekeeper? And when are these super-awesome blogger web TV radio outdoor guerrilla mobile tech events coming to our town?!
We’re staging a protest! Watch for us on the news at 11. Or “onze.”]]>
Are you a werewolf? Hey, thanks for asking! Nope.
Oh, was there more? You thought we wouldn’t be insulted and hurt and crying a little on the inside when you sent us a dog biscuit in the mail? What do you take us for: cold, heartless, automatons? Jiminy Christmas, that was the subject of our last post, for crying out loud (which we are, now. Jerks)!
Dog Biscuit, with Sticker
Crowdsource That Shit Challenge: Identify that brand of dog biscuit! Comment here with your guesses.
*Waves at ARG Netcast*]]>
If we learned anything from The Beast, it was that Mechas are people too, they’re just better than us. Except for when they’re lonely and pathetic like our new friend 011iver (pronounced, “Oliver”). 011iver sent us a postcard because he’s looking for a date! Unfortunately, while we like robots just fine, we are not exactly robosexual if you catch our drift.
[R]obots need love too! -011iver
Postcard Reverse – Click to Embiggen
Luckily, 011iver’s friend “Tim Scribbles” (note: not his pr0n name) has hit upon a foolproof idea to find love for his cybernetic buddy…a World Wide Web Home Page delivered direct to your Browsing Machine via the Magical Intertubes! Oh, is there nothing that cannot be done by the Information Superhighway? Our hacked credit card account responds with a plaintive, wailing, “Noooooooo!”
Postcard Obverse – Click to Enlargenate
Just for the record, the name of our site is Despoiler not Deflower. Bzzzt!
But we also like kittens. Dingdingding!]]>
As reported on this week’s ARG Netcast (Episode 88), we received the following tip from the Pleasant Valley High School Drama Department, which appears to be putting on an interactive murder mystery play on May 16th. Anybody live in or near Iowa?
Someone has been messing with our poster and created this awful one. Can you help us find out who?
Poster – Click to Enlargenate
The poster includes a link to the blog of a small-town reporter who already appears to be following this mystery somehow. And her blog links to what might just be the most hilarious choice of in-game sites evar, an online escort service! We have to wonder if the Pleasant Valley Faculty is aware of this particular part of the marketing strategy for this play and, if so, we’d like to shake their collective hand. After we stop laughing.]]>