Author: Will Bagby

Fest Quest ’07

Fest%20Quest%20map.jpgOH NOES!! Gupfee’s been kidnapped! Even as the last words of keynote speakers Sean Stewart and Elan Lee echoed around the conference room, ARGFest attendees were quickly rounded up into groups, based on the color of the square on the back of their lanyards (so that’s what those were for!), and each group was given an envelope. The person or persons responsible demanded payment in the form of items (including a ciphered cake) that had to be collected from various locations in San Francisco. Save the ARG Ghoddess Gupfee!!

The first puzzle was to figure out where to go first. Some double letters in a piece of poetry, plus a “decoder ring” image, led to the place – MUSEE MECHANIQUE – and an item – COPPER SAL. Copper Sal?! What the heck is a sal? Was it decoded wrong? Did the kidnappers make a mistake? Already, the Questers were filled with doubt. No matter, Gupfee must be saved. {cue dramatic music} Off to the Musée Mechanique!!

gupfeetied.JPGThe FestQuesters quickly collected their wits and headed over to Fisherman’s Wharf and the Musée (which is fancypants talk for “museum”). Fortunately for our intrepid Questers (and Gupfee), there was a labeled map enclosed with the directions, and the first team was there in no time. Upon entering the museum, the first thing they saw was Laughing Sal. Hey, it’s a Sal! And right next to Laughing Sal was a penny squisher (for lack of the technical term) that made — you guessed it — copper sals. The next puzzle used the plaque in the Laughing Sal machine, and led us to another San Francisco landmark, the world-famous Ghirardelli Square.

Continue reading

I Wanna Be Your Backdoor Man

Question: How many ARGers does it take to free a group of crack scientists held captive in a super secret research facility? That was the question we needed to answer on Tuesday, as a group of players converged on IRC to tackle one of the more innovative “puzzle events” in recent ARGs. The answer, as it turned out, was “Five, but bring backup.”

In a nutshell – a group of scientists was being held in a compound called “The Village.” A small group of employees outside The Village wanted to stage a rescue mission, but they needed a way around the security system. The only chance to free their co-workers would involve disabling the security system long enough so that they wouldn’t be detected entering the compound. Fortunately, a series of backdoor servers was set up by (former U-media employee but now deceased) Ed, through which a small group of attackers could occupy the computer system, effectively shutting down security. Then, a U-media employee could unlock the gate to the compound (by physically clipping the chain that locked it), and free the captive employees.

Got all that?

Continue reading

The Trouble with Tropes

umedia.pngWhat started out as a minor diversion is turning out to be something more. The UK-based U-media is working on a new product called a trope: an “entirely new media form […] that reproduces an experience exactly – down to emotions and thoughts.” Players digging deeper into the company’s website are discovering a backstory and indications that all is not what it seems at U-media.

While it’s a little too soon to say definitively what is going on at U-Media, by all indications the players have only scratched the surface. In addition to the original puzzle trail, there are a number of other telltale ARG elements in play, such as password-protected forums (complete with hidden “backdoor”), secretive corporate research projects, player-character interactions, a personal blog, a sudden character disappearance, and a mysterious R&D compound dubbed “The Village.”

Head over to the discussion thread at UF to get the scoop.

U-media. Feeling is Believing.

UF Discussion
Chat in #umedia on ChatSolutions