After a long fight with Leukemia, our dear friend and alternate reality game developer, Dave Szulborski, lost the battle. In honor of his memory, Michelle Senderhauf and Dee Cook collaborated with the ARG community to create a tribute video to Dave.
From the beginning, Dave was a pivotal force in the community. In addition to authoring This Is Not A Game: A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming, Szulborski worked on a number of successful alternate reality games including The Art of the Heist, Chasing the Wish, Urban Hunt, and Holomove. He had a knack for creating compelling puzzles that captured the interest and imagination of his players.
The ARG community sent over one thousand wish-filled paper cranes to Dave while he was hospitalized in the spring of 2008 as part of Folding the Wish. Dave Szulborski recovered enough to attend ARGFest 2008 as the keynote speaker. Sadly, he had a relapse, and his condition worsened until he passed away in April. At ARGFest 2009, Dave’s wife and son attended for a memorial in Dave’s honor, where the community presented them with a Memory Book of letters recounting their experiences with Dave. They also aired a tribute video, which is now available online.
Today is an extremely tough day for fans and friends of Dave Szulborski. Dave has passed away after battling leukemia for a long time, and he is remembered by his wife Marianne, his son Tyler, and so many people across the world. Beyond his reputation as a consummate professional and an innovative, creative designer and producer of alternate reality games, Dave was an inspiration and friend to many in the ARG community.
Dee Cook broke the news on the Unfiction forums earlier today, and we’d like to relay the following information from her post:
If you are interested in attending the funeral services, here’s the information:
Sunday night, visitation at Long Funeral Home, 500 Linden Street, Bethlehem, PA from 6-8 PM.
Monday morning, memorial service at St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church, 617 East Fourth Street, Bethlehem, PA at 11 AM.
If you would like to send along your respects:
It was Dave’s wish that in lieu of flowers, people contribute towards his son’s education. You can do so by sending a check to the following:
Long Funeral Home
500 Linden Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018
Make the check payable to Long Funeral Home, and put “Tyler Szulborski Education Fund” in the memo.
As most of us are just now learning about the news, it’s tough to put into words the impact Dave has had on the staff here at ARGNet. From the bottom of my heart, I can say that the memories I have of Dave will stay with me forever, and the body of work he has completed will always be an important part of the history of gaming. Godspeed, friend.
Last month, I asked for your help in making one thousand wish-filled cranes to send to Dave Szulborski for the Folding the Wish project. I’m delighted to say that the ARG community faced the challenge head on. In a little over two weeks time, more than one thousand cranes were made and shipped to me from at least seven different countries.
The cranes varied from the most delicate and tiny (no larger than a quarter) to the most extravagant made with handmade paper. Some even included a puzzle or two!
The cranes were carefully strung together and sent on their way last week, arriving on Dave’s doorstep one day before he was discharged from the hospital.
Thanks to everyone who helped on this very special project. For pictures and a message from Dave, visit his website – www.daveszulborski.com/folding.html.
It was a busy Wednesday morning for UPS drivers – several UPS Next Day Air packages went out for urgent delivery to unsuspecting ARGers. Despite the UPS Tracking numbers being scratched off, more than likely in an attempt to disguise the package’s place of origin, UPS staff had replaced them, and the secret was revealed – the packages had originated from San Francisco. Upon opening, mysterious contents were revealed: an opened and empty packet of Emergen-C (a powdered Vitamin C energy drink) with a picture of 3 multicolored balls joined by white bars on the back resembling a chemical model of… something, and a letter on Department of Energy letterhead, dated January 30, 1985, with sentences redacted in an attempt to protect the innocent (or the guilty) and calling for the resignation of an as-yet-unnamed person. Each letter had different lines blacked out, requiring players to piece together the letter’s contents.
Also included was a paper origami crane. As many of you are aware, our good friend and PuzzleMaster, Dave Szulborski, has been seriously ill, and an effort to fold 1000 paper cranes for him is underway, so the appearance of the paper cranes in the packages caused much speculation. Happily, a tip came ARGN’s way to let us know it was an homage to Dave, and a way to send their best wishes to him from behind the curtain.
Also receiving a package was Daniel Terdiman at C|Net, who seemed distressed by the open Emergen-C packet, and proceeded to scold the PMs for scaring him. “Does anyone really think sending unmarked packages with cut-open powder packets is a good idea these days?” Granted, this is not the first time the media has freaked out over anthrax scares from trailhead packages.
ARGFest attendees were privileged to be able to sit in on — and participate in — dialogues between many of the field’s leading developers during the panel discussions held on March 3rd. The first of these panels, Developing An ARG, consisted of Adam Brackin (Fundi Technologies — Deus City), Brian Clark (GMD Studios — Art of the Heist, Who Is Benjamin Stove), Adrian Hon (Mind Candy Design — Perplex City), Evan Jones (Xenophile Media/Stitch Media — Regenesis, Ocular Effect), Jan Libby (Sammeeeees), and Dave Szulborski (Chasing the Wish, Urban Hunt). Unfiction’s Sean Stacey (a.k.a. SpaceBass) moderated the discussion.
As one might expect from such a gathering of alternate reality gaming’s better-known puppetmasters, the discussion was packed with information and insights from behind the curtain (although Brian Clark’s frequent wryly humorous interjections kept it entertaining as well as informative).
One month ago, we were happy to send out a Game Alert about Catching The Wish, the sequel to the 2003 alternate reality game Chasing The Wish. In the weeks since that announcement, the game has exploded onto computer screens everywhere with multiple websites, a rich and engrossing storyline, and interactivity that has added layer upon layer of immersive game play for the players following the story of Dale Sprague and his life-changing wish. The ARG is also tied in with Chasing The Wish: Book One, the first in a series of four comic books based on the storyline originally created by Dave Szulborski, who designed the first CTW and has since worked on projects like Art of the Heist and Who Is Benjamin Stove.
I was lucky enough to get a copy of the comic book last month, and even though I am not necessarily a fan of comics, the writing and artistic design were enough to keep me turning pages. With a script written by Jason Stackhouse, art by P. Emerson Williams and Jessica Kaos, and an overall creative vision by James Curcio, the comic is visually entertaining while delivering a concise and thrilling story. Book One is available through online venues, such as Indyplanet and New Fiction Publishing.