Tag: Cloverfield (page 1 of 2)

Everything You (Probably Don’t) Need to Know About Cloverfield


Bad Robot is releasing a new Cloverfield movie on 03-11-16, more than eight years after its cinematic debut. The film, 10 Cloverfield Lane, isn’t exactly an official sequel to the original, but has been described by JJ Abrams as a “blood relative” to the film. Whether this blood relative will mark the return of the enigmatic Cloverfield Monster remains to be seen, but the familial resemblance is evident with 10 Cloverfield Lane‘s new alternate reality game.

It’s highly doubtful that a thorough understanding of a eight-year-old viral marketing campaign will be required to enjoy the return to the Cloverfield universe…but then again, it can’t hurt to be prepared for anything.

The Mystery of 1-18-08
On July 4, 2007 moviegoers were treated to a trailer for a JJ Abrams film with no name. All they had to go on was shaky footage of the surprise farewell party for a cool dude named Rob, wholesale destruction of property by…something, and a date: 1-18-08.

From the date, players quickly discovered the (now-defunct) 1-18-08.com, which served as home for a growing collection of photographs. Click on a picture and shake it enough, and you might flip it over and find a message or two. Stay on the site long enough, and you might catch a muffled roar. But for the “main” Cloverfield site? That was pretty much it.

The story emerged as players explored beyond the photographs. One path led players to tracking down (now blank) MySpace profiles of a group of friends that would eventually gather for an ill-fated party on January 18, 2008. Yes, MySpace. Hey, it was a different time. Jamie Lascano was particularly active, and set up the website JamieandTeddy.com to document her only slightly creepy long distance relationship with Teddy Hanssen through a series of private vlogs, protected under the password “jllovesth”.

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Have you caught the Abrams virus yet?

trekicon.JPGProducer/Director JJ Abrams is on a viral rampage this year, it seems. Hot on the tail of Cloverfield’s big screen debute, was the premiere of the initial teaser trailer for the 11th installment in the Star Trek film franchise. Reportedly, the movie will carry only the name “Star Trek”, as it returns to the academy days of our beloved Enterprise crew. The teaser can be seen on the official website. But as beautiful as it is, that is not the reason for this article.

If you navigate to the official website, scroll down to the “Under Construction” label. See the little red dot beside it? Click it. Yes, you’ve just found another viral website. JJ is known for tying common threads between his creative productions – his unique drink Slusho! being the most prominent example. Slusho has made cameo appearances in Alias, Heroes, and Kenan and Kel. But recently he’s taken a liking to extending his works beyond their base medium, into the internet world, and the real world.

If you’re familiar with the TV show Lost (also an Abrams production), there was a very well received extended reality called The Lost Experience which ran along the TV show. Currently leading up to the North American airing of season 4 is another campaign called Find 815. You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of the viral campaign surrounding the months leading up to the premiere of Cloverfield (which also, by the way, has a backstory around the development of the Slusho drink and its secret ingredient Seabed’s Nectar).

So the question is, will Abrams be providing another extended experience or alternate reality game related to the Star Trek franchise leading up to the movie’s release? Or will this turn out just to be another typical viral marketing campaign? Personally, I would love to see a Slusho! cameo appearance in the movie. Imagine: Kirk and Spock order a Slusho from a bar at the Academy. And Guinan serves it to them.

At the very least, we have a new website – a relatively covert website, which seems to be showing ‘streaming video’ from the construction site of the Enterprise NCC-1701. What will the days ahead reveal to us? We have nearly a whole year to find out. JJ knows how to bait and taunt his target market, so expect a lot of mystery and viral advertising.

Live long, and drink Slusho.

Official website
NCC-1701.com Trailhead
Discussion at Unfiction
Resource wiki

Cloverfield is Out — What Now?

Editor’s Note: This article is spoiler-free, for those who haven’t see the movie yet. However, outgoing links may contain spoiler information.

cloverfield_poster.jpgWho was to know that when J.J. Abrams launched the first trailer for what we now know as Cloverfield that the buzz surrounding the movie would be so powerful that the famous Mann Chinese Theater in Los Angeles would have a special midnight showing of the film? Well, we won’t say “told you so!” — in fact, we didn’t tell you much, except that there were curious web sites to be found in July of last year, and that the Ethan Haas viral web site was officially unconnected to the 1-18-08 mystery. Thankfully, there are many resources out there for fans of the movie to get caught up on what’s happened in the web campaign so far, in case (like me) you decide that today is the day you finally take a look at some of this stuff.

I began this morning by taking a look through the Cloverfield forum section at Unfiction. I thanked my lucky stars when I came across this post by TheRabbit, which summarizes the story so far, chronologically, and links to all of the relevant sites. It’s easy to follow and helps to connect some of the dots that Abrams and his crew have left along the trail. Essentially, the experience seems to be a tale of the effect of environmental misdoings, which may or may not be connected to a secret ingredient in a popular beverage. I highly recommend reading the post, which looks to be a work in progress.

From there, I surfed over to cloverfieldclues.com which has been an ongoing archive of news regarding the movie and the online experience. The owner of the site, Dennis Acevedo, was recently interviewed on the NPR show “All Things Considered” as part of a feature on the movie and the buzz that was built along the way — our own Sean C. Stacey was also interviewed, but his contribution never made it to the final edit. The Cloverfield Clues web site offers readers a chance to view archives of the in-game web sites as well, which was handy to see today, as many of the sites are “under construction” after the U.S. release of the film.

Onward I went, to the Cloverfield wiki at Despoiler, which is another great source of information and archived items. Wikis seem to be the easiest way to compile info into a trail, and this one is as comprehensive as one would hope. User contributions help to keep facts organized, while discussion is relegated to tabbed Talk pages. The latest news page has documented the recent changes to the game’s web sites, and updates are ongoing.

So now that we’re all caught up, what now? Will the experience keep going, now that the movie is out? Will we see an extended reality that further explains events as they happened in the film? Or is this it for the Cloverfield web presence? While no one knows for sure — except Abrams and his creative team, of course — it seems to be a shame if all of this goes fades into the ether.

Programming Alert


Tonight on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered”, Neda Ulaby talks about Cloverfield–the movie, the promotion and the community. Tune in to your local NPR radio station at 7:00 p.m. EST to hear the show, which we were told will be the second to last segment of the broadcast. The show will also be archived on the NPR website after 8:00 p.m. EST. Unfiction owner and ARGNet staff writer Sean C. Stacey, and Dennis Acevedo of cloverfieldclues.com, were both interviewed for this story.

Launching Into ’08: New Games and New Beginnings

newyear.jpgAs our planet careens into yet another lap around the Sun, puppetmasters are waiting gleefully in their lairs, cackling behind their respective curtains, fingers poised to hit the big red LAUNCH button at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2008. All around the world, ARG players will be clinging to their F5 buttons or obsessively checking their email for the new year’s first hint of activity in the world of chaotic fiction. January’s schedule is crowded with launches, relaunches, and continuations of new and ongoing games and experiences.  We’d like to give you a quick peek at what’s in store for you in 2008.

The Lost Experience – Relaunching 12/31/07
A press release on the ABC media website declared that on December 31, Oceanic Airlines would be resuming flights service to several cities. Contact your travel agent now!

What is this Game? – Launching 1/1/08
What is this Game?, an ARG and contest promoting What is this Movie? by Staff of the Magi Productions, begins on 1-1-2008 at midnight. Players may register here to participate (must be 18 or older by January 1, 2008). According to Magi’s press release, “What is this Game requires player interaction, quick thinking, puzzle solving skills, countless hours of dedication, and in the end a journey to the Grand Prize.”

Last Halloween, QU13E rose from the grave. A few members of unFiction began exchanging emails and receiving clues from QU13E’s shadowy inhabitants. After solving a puzzle in the source code of the QU13E website, players noted that 1/1/08 was set to be the launch day of this mysterious game.

The Dark Knight
Who knows what the Joker’s next prank will be? This time, it might be PIE! The next phase of The Dark Knight kicks off early in the new year, so keep your eyes peeled and your forks at the ready.

ZOMG! 1-18-08 is less than three weeks away! Avid followers of Cloverfield’s viral marketing will finally get to experience the Cloverfield monster on the big screen.

Eldritch Errors: Book 3
What lies ahead for the Sentries and the Dreamers in a post-Scream world? No exact date has been hinted at for the opening of Book 3, but players speculate that new activity on Eldritch Errors will begin sometime in the new year.

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Right or Wrong, Ethan Haas is a Bit of a Disappointment for ARG Fans

AO.JPGThe site Ethan Haas Was Right (EHWR) has had a bit of a identity crisis in the last few weeks.

First, it was connected (wrongly, as it turned out) to the mysterious Cloverfield movie project. Then, once people began to accept that it was in fact a separate entity, players started to wonder if it was a trailhead for an alternate reality game. The slick Flash-animated puzzles and grainy interstitial videos were mysterious and intriguing. Careful research led them to new sites, and voice mails and other clues set up expectations for a much larger story to come.

The much anticipated August 1st date has past, and the EHWR website (along with all other associated sites) finally updated late last night with a direct link to www.alphaomegathegame.com, what looks to be the official site for a new tabletop role-playing game called Alpha Omega, developed by a little known company, Mind Storm Labs. To say this is a bit of a letdown for people who were hoping for a true ARG is an understatement. We have here what appears to be a genuine “drink your Ovaltine” promotion. Perhaps this is unfair in some ways because of all the extra attention the site garnered due to the insistent attempts to connect it to Cloverfield, but it is still the case that the people behind EHWR went to lengths to set up several websites with puzzles, release working email addresses with personalized responses as well as auto-responders, and had voice mail boxes for in-game characters that changed messages over time. One player even got a letter hand-delivered to his place of work. You can’t blame players for taking these earmarks of an ARG and trying to run with them.

So what is/was www.ethanhaaswasright.com? Before August 1st it was just a very well designed puzzle trail, with beautifully rendered graphics, some grainy, crackly videos and a few easy to mid-level puzzles that have been well documented elsewhere. At the end of the puzzle trail was a mysterious code word, DIVINUS, and a place to register your name and email address, and a promise of more to come on August 1st. The story background is that the man in the videos, Van Mantra, set up a series of tests (the puzzles) to identify people who would be willing to work with him to spread the word of a 19th century prophet named Ethan Haas and help him save the world. The bad guys in this case appear to be the Mezin, who set up their own website, The Truth of Ethan Haas, and prefer to communicate via the Devanegari script used for the Indian language Hindi. While there have been several game-jacking and/or unofficial fan sites that I won’t link to here, the blogspot site was taken to be authentic because they called themselves the Mezin the day before Van Mantra changed his voicemail recording to say that the Mezin had found him and he needed to go into hiding. Also, Unfiction member theonetruebix (B!x) says he got an email from Van around this time in which Van said that there was one site for truth and one site for deception, which B!x took to mean the blogspot site. It’s a tenuous connection, but the blogspot site didn’t disrupt the game like a game-jacking might attempt to do, and they did at least make a great effort to link readers back to the EHWR site.

Players who are interested in the game up to August 1st can find the highlights at B!x’s blog, OMGWTFEHWR, which traces not only the in-game information, but also his quest to find the people and purpose behind the sites. He was the first player on Unfiction to suspect that EHWR was a promotion for the RPG, and he documents his meta pursuit of the people behind Alpha Omega on the blog in detail. You can also find the original puzzles by clicking the “No I need to see and hear the warnings first” link on the main page of www.ethanhaaswasright.com.

Fans of tabletop RPGs can check out the Alpha Omega site for more information on that game, including upcoming events where the game publishers will be in attendance.

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