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 Despoiler

Take a Walk with Rachel

Posted by SpaceBass on March 25th, 2009 filed in tips, upcoming
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Rachel's Walk

We’re adding a new category today. Usually we receive tips and trailheads for campaigns just launching or already in play but our latest tip doesn’t fit so neatly into that slot. It’s not that this news is too big, you understand, it’s just that we can’t be sure that every announcement labeled as “upcoming” might or might not, prior to its projected date of fruition, turn out to have in the interim suffered from the ARGospherical equivalent of “premature ejaculation.”*

Never fear, however, for David Flor, founder of Darklight Interactive (who you may remember from such past projects as Looking Glass Labs and BrainClouds), promises that he is one puppetmaster who knows how to place his partner’s pleasure first.

Today Darklight Interactive (“DLI”, for short) officially announced their upcoming game Rachel’s Walk. The team behind Looking Glass Labs now aims even higher to bring an unprecedented cross genre alternative reality game. Rachel’s Walk will combine elements of traditional ARGs as well as old school role playing, adventure games and interactive fiction to engage players in an unparalleled immersive world. The players will have the ability to control and interact with almost everything around them – people, places, and objects – through a specialized interface. The players will have the opportunity to explore the vast lands, interact with the diverse population, and discover a domain that exists only in dreams.

Though much of the story is still shrouded in secrecy, DLI revealed that the players will follow a young girl named Rachel into an unfamiliar fantasy world, and embark on an epic journey that blurs the line between fantasy and reality, a journey filled with mystery and fantasy, heartache and joy.

Check out the full press release at BrainClouds, register to play at Rachel’s Walk, and/or jump into the Unfiction thread to compare alternative spellings of “Darklight.”

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Charlotte’s Fly Parlor

Posted by SpaceBass on March 17th, 2009 filed in tips, trailheads
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Charlotte is Becoming Real

The latest package to arrive at the Despoiler campus definitely wins a prize for the most enigmatic. In fact, if we hadn’t already been aware of an ongoing discussion at Unfiction about this new campaign, we would have had exactly zero ideas how to title this post. Parodoxically, no title at all might have represented less fail than was realized here just now.

Package Contents

Hmm, a dictation recorder with a sticky note taped to it reading, “Play me.” Pause for a moment to ponder the double-meaning. And seeing as how the device came stocked with working batteries, what did we have to lose?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The tape itself is marked (in what appears to be a distinctly European hand) “1/1.” Other packages received by ARG community members have been inscribed with “1/2” and “2/1,” although an argument raged for a time about whether or not the one was in fact a letter A or V, or maybe the two was a Z. Arguing is fun!

Tape '1/1'

Near as we can tell, the woman – a novelist or former novelist – suffers what they technically term in the medical community as “Crazytown,” and a handful of antipsychotic meds she rattled off in the interview just “made things worse.” If it weren’t for her accent, we could swear we dated this woman at one point.

Speculation has it that this may be related to the book Therapy, written by Sebastian Fitzek and published by St. Martins Press. Where do we go from here? You know, baby, we’ve been trying to find out but we’re still some way from knowing. Transcript of the audiotape after the jump.

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Descendant: The Ice Shock (Joshua Files) ARG

Posted by SpaceBass on March 3rd, 2009 filed in tips, trailheads
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Descendant

Who knew an Alternate Reality Game could have three different titles at once? Well, only everyone who has ever tried to figure out what to call an unnamed campaign during the first few days of its run, that’s who!

Back in our day, ARGs didn’t have titles, they just poked you in the eye with a sharp stick and you were HAPPY for the nostalgic remembrance constantly afforded to you for the rest of your life by that scratchy ol’ eyepatch you’ve had to wear ever since then, not to mention the unending ridicule. Kids these days just don’t know how easy they have it….

Hi there. You might be able to help us with something. It seems that Josh Garcia’s blog, reprinted in copies of The Joshua Files: Ice Shock contains another, coded message. And we’ve noticed that the Ice Shock book trailer on [YouTube] isn’t quite the same as the one we’re showing on our site for The Joshua Files. Maybe you know some people who could work out what’s [going] on? We’d appreciate [your] help. If Josh and his friends are in danger – we need to know!

Astute observers of ARGNet in recent months may have already heard of Ice Shock – a sequel to the first in the Joshua Files series, Invisible City – and its promotional ARG. The book was released yesterday by Scholastic Books and UK-based author M.G. Harris blogged today about the campaign.

Checking out her links led us to the following video trailer via the Joshua Files site:

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Four weeks, twelve websites, and one mystery wrapped around Josh’s murdered godfather and Gabi’s need to escape her own father’s killer. Could Gabi somehow be Josh’s godsister? Is she, by any remote chance, an attractive brunette? Maybe Josh’s blog will shed some light on the situation. Or perhaps clues may be found in, and call us crazy on this one, Ice Shock the book? We guess if you get stuck, you can always resort to the meta-site, which happily promises upcoming “[r]umours, hints and news about [the ARG.]”

Have at ye!
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Update: The Jejune Institute

Posted by SpaceBass on March 3rd, 2009 filed in tips, updates
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The Jejune Institute

Beware, my Friscoey peeps! There’s nothing more disturbing than a dire warning delivered via SMS:

ALERT-We’re on the move! Tune-in 2 Radio Nonchalance (Dispatches from Elsewhere) 107.9FM Upper Dolores Park for further instructions
Beware the Jejune Institute

You may remember The Jejune Institute from our previous post on the subject. Or you may already have clicked away from this page in bored disgust.* Take us with you!

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Brother, Can You Spare Some Time?

Posted by SpaceBass on February 11th, 2009 filed in tips, trailheads
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The Brotherhood

Welcome to the Brotherhood

To celebrate the upcoming release of the sci-fi RTS title “Perimeter 2: New Earth” the makers of the game – KDV Games studio has launched an ARG based on “Perimeter” Universe.

The title of the surreal ARG is “The Brotherhood”. Throughout the game players will face original puzzles and learn more about the game universe, as well as access gameplay videos, parts of the soundtrack and more.

So begins our latest tip from Russian game designers KDV Games and unfortunately the KDV Blog doesn’t provide any assistance. However, a little googling helped us out with some background on Perimeter 2: New Earth, which is a sequel (surprise!) to the well received original Perimeter, dubbed an innovative real-time terraforming strategy game by Gamespot, and was first released in 2004 according to Wikipedia.

The Brotherhood website is deeply mysterious, in that it provides little in the way of quick information.

The Brotherhood is a unique social structure, an alliance of wise and honorable men. It has been established by a group of specialists from various vields of science and esoteric knowledge. We are united by our goal — development of Mankind in all possible directions.

Oh great, it’s a bunch of brainiacs on the Nerd Patrol. Click the link to apply to join The Brotherhood and to be classified with arbitrary labels through online testing if you’re into that sort of thing (apparently, we’re a “Mystic”). Just don’t let them try to sell you a copy of Dianetics.

Oh and if you get stuck immediately on the first challenge, like we did, check out the discussion at Unfiction for help. As the Man says, “Follow us and we will show you the way. We will guide you into the future.”

Video trailer for Perimeter II after the jump.

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The Terrible Secret of MySpace

Posted by SpaceBass on February 11th, 2009 filed in tips, trailheads
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The Secret Organisation

Fresh from our tip box, here’s another conspiracy for the friendface generation. Some group (or possibly just one deranged individual) appears to be using MySpace to recruit help in stopping the outbreak of some sort of virulent super-plague. Now you might think that MySpace isn’t exactly the lowest profile site to be hosting a top secret project page but you’d be dead wrong. Or at least you could be after May 1, 2009, the date a newspaper article from the future predicts certain doom for us all. By microbe, it seems.

We need your help

Needless to say, those Unfiction blokes have already dived (dove? diven?) into the investigation head-first and bloodied their collective heads bashing into references to some other group called the E.Y.E., which naturally does not trust The Secret Organisation (probably because it spells itself with a pretentious British “S” instead of the more internet-casual “Zed”), and some random guy’s blog. Bonus points for references to the lost colony of Roanoake! Intrigue!


Update: Coraline Radio

Posted by SpaceBass on February 5th, 2009 filed in tips, updates
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Coraline

The animated version of Neil Gaiman’s children’s classic, “Coraline,” opens tomorrow (in Real3D at select theatres!) and as of this posting it’s already received a score of 86% over on Rotten Tomatoes. In honor of the mainstream premiere, W+K Radio will be hosting NPR’s Ketzel Levine as she interviews Coraline’s director, Henry Selick (James and the Giant Peach, The Nightmare before Christmas) and the secretive Travis Knight, who (according to the best information available to us through a random Google search) may or may not be the Vice President of Animation at Laika Studios and the animation lead on the Coraline production. Laika is the phoenix resurrected by Nike co-founder Phil Knight from the ashes of the old Will Vinton Studios in Portland, Oregon.

The show is scheduled to air via the interwebs at 10:00 a.m. PST tomorrow, February 6, 2009 (that’s 1:00 p.m. on the east coast US and 2:00 a.m. in China). W+K Radio is a production of local advertising house Wieden+Kennedy, which handled the promotion of the Coraline film.


Blood Money – Stop the International

Posted by SpaceBass on November 20th, 2008 filed in tips, trailheads
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Stop the International

Sure, if you want to be a part of President-Elect Obama’s cabinet, you’ll need to go through an extensive vetting process, even if your husband used to actually be president himself. But say you’d rather just join up with Scotland Yard to investigate a vast international money laundering conspiracy? Heck, all they need is your email address, thanks to superior UK efficiency.

Blood money? Yeah, we got blood money…via FedEx even! In fact, according to the Stop the International website, all of the money we had in our pockets also seems to be tainted. And we only know how to get blood stains out of our clothing and our carpeting, off of our walls and shiny surfaces, and blocked from further reflection in our psyche. Dang it!

Package Contents

Along with a few other people, we received a package from Chief Inspector Louis Salinger requesting our help in stopping the International Bank of Business and Credit, colloquially known as “The International.” This follows along on some previous reports from overseas about deaddrop caches secreted around the world. This is the craziest way to run a criminal investigation we’ve ever seen.

Letter
Letter – Click to Enlargenate

The package contained a USB flash drive as well, with more supposed evidence. A listing of the directory structure can be found here, and all of the files are duplicated on site in the same structure (who knows what is and isn’t important?).

USB Drive
USB Drive

One of the files on the USB Drive, along with some photo and document images, was a cryptic MP3 message:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

We’re told a live event was held in Los Angeles yesterday, which sorta fits with the map that was included in our package. More photos after the jump, so you can get the jump on this new campaign! Discussion underway at Unfiction.
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My Funny Coraline

Posted by SpaceBass on November 17th, 2008 filed in tips, trailheads
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Coraline

Sometimes when the internets sends you packages, it does them up right. Nothing is more exciting than a mystery box full of mystery, unless maybe it’s full of mysterious WMDs or something but that’s sorta more intense than it is exciting. One such package dropped on our front stoop this weekend. The former kind, not the deadly latter.

Mystery Box
Mystery Box Full of Mystery

And while there may have been no deadly latter, there certainly was a droll letter.

Letter Excerpt
Letter Excerpt

Box Contents
Box Contents

You guessed correctly, true-believers! This sucker is electrical! No wait, it’s made of wood and cloth and paper and stuff but there is electricity in the air! The movie is Coraline, based on the children’s book by geek hero, Neil Gaiman, and it’s directed by the charming bloke who made The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach! This is so gonna rule.

Key
Mystery Key of Mystery

One of the items in the lid of the box sends us to coraline.com, where we’re prompted for the key that was helpfully provided. Entering “stopmotion” reveals a behind-the-scenes video look at production of the upcoming feature. The site also lets you sign up for updates by providing an email address and opting for voice and text message contacts through your cell phone. Are you brave enough? We’re not but we’re just that foolhardy anyway.

More photos of the box contents after the jump, including the full text of the letter. Enjoy!

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Now You’re Cookin’ with Glass

Posted by SpaceBass on October 9th, 2008 filed in tips, trailheads, updates
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Prototype161

Apparently we sent ourselves a package recently, if the battered box delivered to us yesterday was any indication. It was stamped all over with stickers proclaiming its lack of postage and poorly addressed shipping label, which bore our address as the return address as well as the destination. Inside was a padded box containing a hunk of etched glass along with a love letter from the United States Postal Service. We thought all these years that they didn’t care but it turns out they do! Hurrah!

Yes, that love letter did mention something about a smelling, leaking box but we’re totally above making a crude sexual innuendo out of it. Get your minds out of the gutter!

Package Contents

Inside the padded black box (technically bouncing around loose in the shipping box until we replaced it anyway) was a paperweight bearing the following inscription, under which appears some Hebrew-resembling gibberish:

And I saw as it were a Sea of Glass mingled with fire

Paperweight - Click to Enlarge
Paperweight (click for larger size)

It’s a good thing we have friends in the business (what business? Why, the business of intertubing, of course!) because otherwise we would have had no clue what to do with this, besides brain zombies with it in the event of an uprising. Luckily, discussion of similar packages came up in a recent episode of the ARGNetcast, so we knew where to look!

It seems there are slightly different versions of the zombie-clocker floating around and, when placed together, they become a multi-dimensional alien, wake up, and fly off in their damn flying saucer. No wait, they just spell out a link to a website.

The missive appears intended to sound a call for an upcoming Prototype161 event in New York City. We only know this from checking out the discussion at Unfiction, where the zombies usually keep to themselves. More pics of the shipping package and note from the postal service after the jump, if you care (which you do, because its funny. Unless you’re a damn zombie).

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