Eden, Shangri-La, Mu, Lemuria, Tir Na Nog, El Dorado, Lyonesse: lost lands have fascinated audiences as long as humans have been telling stories. So it’s probably not surprising that the most famous of them, Atlantis, has finally gotten its own ARG.
On September 30, Unfiction players received an email directing them to a website which warned that the end was near, and showed videos of what appear to be an exploding planet. Attempts to make sense of the site’s content led to a hunt for Hank Morgan, a man obsessed with the mysterious language of Atlantis and searching for answers in the Bermuda Triangle. Hank has a tragic history: his obsession cost him his relationship with his daughter Kendra, and drove his wife to suicide.
Through contact with Hank, his faithful friend (and ladies man) John, and a linguist named Bryan Aristos, players were introduced to what appears to be the game’s central puzzle: translating the Atlantean language.
Unfortunately, the reality doesn’t quite live up to the allure of the concept. Lanti is not a language, merely a word-level substitution cipher. Therefore it’s not a solvable puzzle: players are limited to guessing words from context and waiting for the PMs to drop more vocabulary in their laps. Nevertheless, the audience has been eagerly dissecting the cryptic texts, producing both a wiki lexicon and a translator. Perhaps the game will spawn some Lanti catchphrases that will spread around the community.
The romance of a lost language, hints that Bryan may not be trustworthy, and intriguing symbols and Atlantean references to Kendra and Hank have brought together a close-knit but welcoming community of players to unearth the answers.