Pistolsniffer Industries: Head into the Woods with Earl and Randy
The two adorable hicks depicted in the above video sell Sticky Itchers Shower Scrub, a men’s shower scrub so manly it’s “like a hand grenade wrapped in bacon,” and in the past 2 years they’ve developed something of a cult following in the ARG community. Just recovering from a bout of undeath from a previous game called Purity Towers, Earl de Rosa and his best buddy Randy Porknut have been kicked out of a Civil War reenactment society for being too manly. So, the pair has joined an ultra-secret organization and are heading into the woods in search of adventure.
Earl and Randy’s latest adventure is the newest alternate reality game produced by Pistolsniffer Industries. Formerly known as Funnel Productions, the grassroots team has created several well-received independent alternate reality games in the past two years for embracing a light humorous style and implementing several recurring motifs. The Pistolsniffer “brand” revolves around the characters Earl and Randy, and their trials and tribulations span the entirety of the Pistolsniffer/Funnel “game-ography.”
In late 2008, alternate reality game players were introduced to Funnel Productions with the political satire Man of the People, where participants tried to help a special write-in candidate get elected president. The next year, The Myth of the Seeker (also known as The Creepy Luny Inn) introduced an interactive radio show that drew players into the world of From Light to Dark, a fantasy novel written by Pistolsniffer writer Irene L. Pynn. Funnel Productions’ last ARG was Purity Towers from July to September 2009, pitting players against each other in a highly charged political atmosphere. During the course of Purity Towers Earl was tragically killed, but players revived him in the just-completed Transition Village 3.
In between full-scale ARGs, the grassroots team runs “episodes” of Transition Village. During these campaigns, gameplay involves emails between the “narrator” and individual players, and the overall plot manifests itself through these interactions. Each “performance” of Transition Village is designed to narratively connect one game to the next. Through cooperation and creative interaction with the gameworld players successfully revived Earl from the dead and also prevented the destruction of the village itself. Transition Village 3 ran from July to September 2010 and involved about ten players: because the game mechanics rely on providing an individual storytelling experience to multiple players, it is infeasible for large audiences.
To join in the newest installment, keep an eye on the Sticky Itchers Shower Scrub site and follow @CleanRandy and @LadiesManEarl. You can also catch up on Earl and Randy’s past by subscribing to the Sticky Itchers YouTube channel.