Yesterday, the winners of the 14th Annual Webby Awards were announced, recognizing excellence in “interactive design, creativity, usability and functionality on the Internet.” This year, a trio of alternate reality gaming projects came home with accolades. So congratulations to the teams behind Love Letters to the Future (Xenophile Media), District 9 (Trigger LLC), and True Blood (HBO).
Love Letters to the Future swept the Green category, taking home both the Webby Award and People’s Voice Award for the category. The campaign sought to collect messages from the worldwide community to future generations: the top 100 messages were buried in a time capsule at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on December 13, 2009. Providing an interactive undercurrent to the already interactive campaign, Xenophile Media hid a series of clues and messages from the future on the website, culminating a series of augmented reality images hidden at locations across the globe. To read more about the alternate reality game designed for Greenpeace International, you can follow along with the game’s progress at the Love Letters to the Future blog.
Over the next few weeks, Love Letters to the Future will be collecting text, image and videos from users around the world sending love letters to future generations. And on December 13, 2009, the 100 most popular messages as selected by the site’s users will be sealed in a time capsule at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The multimedia messages will be encoded and stored as a series of two-dimensional bar codes, stored on microfilm. The microfilm contains meta-information on how to decode the messages. That way, when the time capsule is unsealed a century later, people can access the information regardless of technological changes.
Apparently the time capsule will be a rousing success, since people who submit messages to the website receive a response from 2109, courtesy of Xenophile Media. Over the next three weeks, players will have the opportunity to unlock videos, clues and messages left by Maya, hidden amongst the messages posted on Letters to the Future. Upon submitting a message for consideration, players receive the first clue: the phrase “Me2109.” Maya’s final video will be unlocked by playing a locative game December 9-12 in cities around the world, including Amsterdam, Toronto, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong and Istanbul. Maya’s videos will then be played at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
According to Xenophile Media, the objective of Love Letters to the Future is “to collect a critical mass of love letters – messages about people’s fears and hopes for the future, the stories they want to send to their children’s children.” The website has already received over 2,000 text, image, and video submissions.
Head on over to Love Letters to the Future and leave a message for future generations. After all, how often do you get the chance to participate with a time capsule that talks back?