Tag: chain factor

All Things Must Come to a Close: The End of a Few ARGs

finish.jpgThey say that news often comes in threes, and recent events in the world of alternate reality gaming proves that the old adage still has teeth. Over the past few days, both Deus City and Red Monday came to a close, and it appears as though Chain Factor may be wrapping up soon as well.

After more than a year of gameplay, Deus City concluded last Tuesday with the release of a thirteen-part story detailing the end of the Time Communications project. Adam Brackin (the real person, not the in-game character) intends to release his dissertation based on the game, and anticipates its publication in late-spring, promising “pretty charts and graphs” from behind the curtain. ARGNet has reported extensively on Deus City in the past. The PM Chat has not been scheduled yet.

The alternate reality game Red Monday came to a close this morning with the release of the first “podiobook” in a five-part mini-series produced by StarKnight Productions. Although only the first chapter is free, the podiobook’s creator J. Marcus Xavier has promised that the faithful followers of the Red Monday ARG will be able to listen to the mini-series for free.

The game generated mild controversy through its launch at the Podcast and New Media Expo in Ontario, California where the podiobook’s creator J. Marcus Xavier passed out red envelopes marked “CLASSIFIED” that referred to the website Red-Monday.com. Following several complaints that the promotion was disturbing convention-goers, the head of the expo Tim Bourguin ejected Xavier from the premises. Bourguin later went on to refer to the launch as the “perfect example of marketing gone bad.”

The Numb3rs alternate reality game Chain Factor also appears to be nearing its conclusion, with all but three KeyCodes and four ShutdownKeys discovered. Participants in the ARG element of the game are working to shut down the system, hopefully saving me from untold hours of casual gameplay. Consider yourself warned: the Chain Factor flash game remains unspeakably addictive.

In the wake of this cavalcade of completion, you may find yourself searching for a new game, such as the newest chapter in the Dark Knight ARG. Something that may interest you is Mur Lafferty’s podiobook Playing For Keeps,which has grabbed my attention lately, and not just because I can’t get enough of Mur’s revisionist look at super powered society. Mur encourages listeners to expand on her superhero-strewn universe by contributing to “Stories of the Third Wave”, utilizing story expansion mechanisms the aspiring PM might want to consider.

Once again…
Click Here to check out Deus City
Click Here to check out Red Monday
Click Here to check out Chain Factor
Click Here to check out the Dark Knight ARG
Click Here to check out Playing for Keeps

Numb3rs Chain Factor: We Probably Should Have Seen This Coming

chainfactor.jpgLast Friday’s episode of Numb3rs (as reported here at ARGNet) sparked discussion at UnFiction. And while the show received generally positive reactions for a positive depiction of the community and a thorough look at the puzzle solving aspects, many were disappointed that the episode downplayed the narrative elements of alternate reality gaming.

Apparently, people spoke too soon, as ARGNet’s own Brooke Thompson received an email from Spectre, one of the characters from last week’s Numb3rs, leading to Chain Factor. Spectre mentioned in the show his plans of developing Chain Factor to rival “Primacy”–if you haven’t yet seen the episode, I won’t spoil you more. At first glance, the website appears to be a casual puzzle game created by a slightly megalomaniacal game developer. The puzzle game has hidden 36 keys “hidden in plain sight among the visual trash of today’s marketing-mad culture”. These keys unlock special powers that can be used in the Chain Factor gameplay. Some of these keys have been discovered as banner ads on Viacom websites such as CBS Sportsline and StarTrek.com.

The admittedly addictive puzzle game has a few bugs in the system. Players have noted that error codes strongly resembling internal memos crop up from time to time indicating the future placement of media. The memos suggest keys will be transmitted via text messaging, television promotions, and out-of-home advertising in California and Minnesota. These production notes indicate that a story may be forthcoming.

The Numb3rs episode defined alternate reality as “a treasure hunt played out in the real world using actual media”. Following that logic, Chain Factor may be a quest to unlock a series of clues hidden throughout the world around us. However, it appears as though the creators of this game are gradually and subtly revealing a narrative to support the treasure hunt. We may get to see Spectre’s plans for an alternate reality game that is all-encompassing…or at least all-encompassing within the Viacom umbrella.

Television shows are releasing supplemental extended realities and alternate reality games more and more frequently. This may prove invaluable to shows looking to keep their audiences engaged during the WGA strike. Who knows which program will be next? Stay tuned to ARGNet for more updates.

Click Here to play Chain Factor.
Click Here for the discussion at UnFiction.
Click Here for the Chain Factor Wiki.