Word comes to us that AWARE is poised to go live on June 15th. Pushing the envelope of ‘established’ ARG boundaries, AWARE has already been causing a flurry during its pre-game phase.
So far, some innovative ideas have caught players off guard. From fellow players on Unfiction being kidnapped (thus proving to be in-game characters) to the game’s fictional company advertising for jobs on a realworld jobs website, AWARE looks like it may have many surprising turns in store. In addition, the use of these techniques has provided fodder for much animated meta-discussion among players.
It’s seems that AWARE has finally established its universe and the rules that will govern it. The game has it’s own in-game message board so players will have less of a problem knowing who’s real and who’s not, thereby avoiding some of the suspicion and paranoia that seemed to be setting in at first.
It will be interesting to see where this game goes, what with the geo-political climate of the world right now. It’s seems to be clear that players will need to choose sides somehow, and may have to live with serious (in-game) consequences for their decision.
AWARE is currently in a live pregame. If you’d like to jump in and get up to speed, a new Wiki Guide is being maintained by the players here. In addition, there is now an AWARE Forum set up at Unfiction, along with an IRC chat channel: #ruaware on chat-solutions.org. AWARE is picking up steam and looks to be a very innovative ARG, already having had an established player at Unfiction turn out to be an in-game character, or so it seems.
In other news, there have been some interesting sites discovered lately. Stop by the Godsend Institute and take a look at the fine job done in creating a very realistic site, complete with a real address and phone number, and no obvious disclaimer, although there is one there if you look hard enough for it. The promotional departments in Hollywood are getting so close, but not taking things any further, which is disappointing.
Also, if you’re a fan of Cyan/Ubisoft’s URU: Ages Beyond Myst, you’ll probably find www.pathoftheshell.com an interesting distraction while you wait for the next expansion pack. There is a Guide for this mini-game here.
ARGN welcomes two new affiliate sites: metaurchins.org and varin.org. Metaurchins is an online book project about the Project MU (Metacortechs) ARG, currently being worked on by numerous players. A very interesting read so far. Varin.org is a very nice site dedicated to gaming in general, and includes quite a bit about Alternate Reality Games. Be sure to check them both out.
Two major ARG events finished up over the last week or so. The 6 level hardcore puzzle competition JMX was finally solved. JMX spanned months and provided countless hours of fun and frustration for the players. A final chatlog can be found here.
In addition, the time-travel ARG Acheron came to a conclusion this last week. If you played or were following, you may be interested in the PM post-game chat log, a copy of which is posted here. Acheron was plagued by many behind-the-scenes challenges, but the PM team withstood everything that was thrown their way, plugging on to give their players a great ARG experience.
From the rumor mill comes a pointer to two sites: www.beta-7.com and www.gamerchuck.com. We haven’t been able to check into these at all yet, but wanted to pass the info along. If anyone can make any sense of these sites, let us know.
Also, word comes to us that Aware is slated for a mid-summer launch and a spring pre-game. Folks are also keeping an eye on www.lacunainc.com, which is connected to the upcoming movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Nothing conclusive there yet at all, but who knows?
On February 4th, UbiSoft/Cyan announced the premature demise of the multiplayer portion of their most recent addition to the Myst franchise, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. The online version, which was in an open beta ‘prologue’ had attracted thousands of diehard Myst fans who eagerly logged on to explore the virtual 3D world of D’ni together. A thriving community was built over the holidays and into the new year, and the official launch was looked forward to with much anticipation. Unfortunately, the player base proved to be inadequate to support the ongoing development, and after what surely must have been a painful decision, the plug was pulled on February 9th at midnight PST.
Cyan had done an amazing job in creating the most realistic alternate reality yet, made up of 3D worlds, cities and neighborhoods that were beautiful to explore, and added the capability of interacting live in the same space with other players from around the world. Think of the multiplayer version of your favorite 1st-person shooter game and take away the weapons and gore, add cooperative interaction, chat and intelligent puzzles, and you’ll get an idea of what it was like.
Well, at least what the potential was. The mourning players went through at the end of Uru: Live was visceral, with many gathering in their neighborhoods to be with friends as the clock counted down to midnight. Players wanted to be together at the end of the world, so to speak, and spent their last minutes partying, taking group photos and reminiscing. All is not lost, however, as Cyan announced it will be releasing much of the content developed for Uru: Live as single-player expansion packs. To get an idea, we’ve archived some DivX videos of Uru: Live before it was killed.
In other news, a rumored rabbithole has seemingly been found for a possible upcoming ARG (geez, can we be any more non-commital?). An anonymous tipster pointed us to the Amboy Monthly, and we’re told this will become a trailhead site for an ARG in development entitled Aware. Stay tuned for this one, as it looks very promising.