Image courtesy of Campfire
In anticipation of A&E’s upcoming adaptation of King’s novel Bag of Bones airing December 11th and 12th, Campfire created Dark Score Stories, a deceptively simplistic photo essay that provides a glimpse at life in the unincorporated township of TR-90. High fidelity black-and-white images shot by award-winning photojournalist Joachim Ladefoged provide artful glimpses into life at Dark Score Lake, complemented by audio interviews with the local townsfolk featured in seven separate sections of the site. Scratch the surface, however, and an entirely new experience inundated with King-themed puzzles and easter eggs emerges.
The first indication that something might be amiss with an otherwise straightforward photo essay comes from the headline images featured at the beginning of each of the seven sections. In her lighthouse studio, Jo Noonan’s smile is briefly wiped clean. Gerald Lean’s face is twisted by a grimacing smile at his shop of curios. And Lance Devore’s hands shift from a protective embrace of his daughter Kyra to a much more threatening grip. These changes are all the more startling for their subtlety, adding a new dimension to the audio commentaries.
Puzzles are integrated into the experience through messages hidden within each photo essay. Bold letters in the website’s introductory message instruct readers to “go down left side” for clues to seven increasingly difficult challenges. Solving each clue leads to a new exclusive preview of A&E’s upcoming miniseries as well as seven GetGlue stickers. The real challenge, however, lies in the photographs themselves.
The ARGN staff had a great winter break, but now it’s time to get back to business. A lot has happened in the past few months, so let’s get up to speed, shall we?
Acheron has been progressing. The time-travel related ARG has a very nice Guide up and kept current, so be sure to check things out.
A Matrix-related game caused a buzz and ran for 8 weeks beginning on October 1st of last year. As we were part of the development team, we just didn’t feel right about shilling it here, but hey, now that it’s over I guess it’s okay. Codenamed Project MU, this ARG was a fan-fictionesque game taking place in the Matrix universe, but not directly involving any actual characters from the movie. The trailhead was at MetaCortex, the company that Neo worked for as Thomas Anderson at the beginning of the first movie.
According to The Guardian, this was “the most successful ARG ever, with around 12,000 players and visits
logged from 118 different countries.” Admittedly, not all of these players were actively involved throughout the run, but the response definitely exceeded expectations.
Project MU employed many of the classic ARG techniques of blurring reality with the game world, utilizing emails, IM’s with ingame characters and even a Halloween night phone call that went out to almost 1,000 players.
From our viewpoint now looking back, Project MU really set a precedent for a new form of fan-fiction. While not endorsed by the film’s producers, they had no problem with it whatsoever as long as it wasn’t connected with a commercial enterprise and didn’t “degrade their intellectual property.” In case you missed it, you can find discussion and links to all of the pertinent sites at Unfiction.
In other news, Hidden Alliance has been showing signs of………. something. Hidden Alliance is an ARG that has, as far as we know, been in development since 2002. We’re not quite sure what, if anything, is going on, but the situation is being monitored at Unfiction.
In addition, there have been quite a few instances of possible ARGs that have so far become dead ends. It was thought something was afoot that was related to the Stephen King Dark Tower series of novels, but it turned out to apparently be a small fan-based site. Other possibities that went nowhere over the past few months included Paycheck, RYT Hospital, IRobotNow, Lacuna Inc., Hunt for Riddick, a Harry Potter site, and even a Doom site.
So, currently, Acheron’s you’re best bet as far as live games go, but you could always wait a few weeks……