The San Francisco Connection for Perplex City came and went. Below is a brief summary of the events that took place.
Early in the morning several Cube Hunters gathered at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. With the doors still closed, the Hunters entertained themselves by listening to the podcasts, trading cards, and in general having conversations about the game. When the doors finally opened, Hunters were allowed into an area that contained several tables with free cards, a big screen TV with Guitar Hero, and a puzzle table for those that wanted to stretch their mental muscles before the main event.
On a wall, a projector was keeping track of the “solved” status for numerous puzzles. After several minutes of waiting, Hunters were told to gather to the amphitheater next door. There, representatives of Mind Candy explained that the connection between Earth and Perplex City had been severed and that only with the help of the Hunters would the connection be restored.
At the same time, a website set up by Mind Candy started to give out the first wave of puzzles for those playing from home. As Hunters were given puzzle-containing envelopes, some had their laptops out, already looking for a free hotspot in order to contact those playing from home.
The hunt itself was not the greatest experience. The questions ranged in difficulty, but lacked a universal connecting factor between them all – they simply were meant to send the player either on a long drive or to a good internet search engine to find the answer. Teams were to turn in their answers, which would then add to a cumulative score and count towards the successful opening of the connection.
Personal note: In the morning, Hunters were given a packet which contained, among other things, a map with a red dot on Marina Sports Bar & Grill in San Francisco and a red icon of a clock with its hand pointing at 2:30pm. Several players, including yours truly, thought that this was a clue for the game. In fact, the only reason the bar was marked on the paper was because it marked the location of the after-party.
The hunt concluded at 3:30pm with the Hunters returning to the amphitheater to listen to the now restored feed from Perplex City – and that’s where things got interesting… During the feed, and with many participants relaxing, thinking that this was the end, the images became blurry. At that time, several cell phones started going off. The message was from none other than the evil Third Power, a mysterious organization that is also looking for the Cube but for their own menacing purposes. (watch video)
The message continued that we should exit the theater as fast as we could. Everyone jumped and ran towards the side entrances. This author ran straight into the photo shoot of a wedding. Everyone was looking around for clues. And then we heard them.
A pair of low flying black helicopters started menacingly to circle around us. The cell phones started ringing again and this time the Third Power was letting us know: They were here.
It appears that while the Hunters were restoring the connection, the Third Power was able to connect via a wormhole and port several of its agents to Earth. What was once safe is now tainted, and what was once a simple game now has become a deadly race to find the cube.
Quite frankly, that was the highlight of the day. Many that were there without prior experience of ARG’s were rather disappointed right up to the point of the helicopter appearance. The scavenger hunt, other than a point gatherer, had no real purpose in the day’s events, and the scavenger hunt itself seemed hastily put together.
Mind Candy promised to return with another live event soon. We hope that this has been a learning experience and that players can look forward to more great events. But watch yourselves – the race for the Cube has become much more dangerous.