In a world where technology allows immediate communication between people on opposite sides of the planet, and the internet provides instant access to new entertainment and information generated daily by multitudes of contributors of both the professional and the amateur varieties, it’s easy to forget the value of older, slower forms of communication such as snailmail. Perhaps this is the reason for the growing popularity of the slow foods movement, which offers a sumptuous alternative to the culinary portion of our increasingly-fast paced lives in which the time invested is itself part of the reward, and for which handmade quality trumps convenience.
The ARG world seems to have gotten its own equivalent to that movement in the form of The Committee for the Sedulous Amalgamation, which offers its players a veritable banquet of the type of pleasures that just can’t be replicated digitally: the thrill of tearing open an envelope to find a mysterious snailmail letter, the enjoyment of physically handling a beautifully constructed puzzle, and the satisfaction of possessing swag that you’ll keep long after the game has ended. The game launched with a letter sent to Unfiction, inviting players to thirteen Challenges and exhorting them to “make humanity proud!”
Players who are willing to settle into the game’s more relaxed pace will find themselves rewarded amply by a dedicated puppetmaster team that is willing to patiently send out hints, nudges and puzzles through the postal system regardless of the number of people playing. An email address has been set up so players can send in answers at their own pace, but the PMs continue to utilize the postal service and turn out cleverly fashioned physical clues and puzzles, including some impressively done pencil sketches.
I caught up with Unfiction player Lovek to chat about the game’s attraction for its participants. He praised the dedication and patience of the PMs, as well as the quality of the clues and puzzle design: “Someone is quite the artist with pencil and paper. A couple of the puzzles have been drawings. One of which was a nicely framed 5″x7″ pencil & paper drawing of a boot. I actually have it displayed in a room of my house now. I’m sure it’s a puzzle, but I haven’t solved it yet. And that brings me to my last point. The puzzles are interesting and difficult! We’ve received about half a dozen puzzles now. I believe we’ve solved about two. So somebody help us!”
He also let me know that the game is easy for newcomers to join, and now might be a great time to jump in, because there’s been an intriguing recent development in the latest letter from the Committee:
““it is time to proceed beyond the
evaluative chapter of our epic undertaking.
set aside all nonessential chores and
make ready for the principle campaign.”
Have the last three months been pre-game? Is the plot about to begin?! If so, I encourage everyone to jump in now. This could be a great one.”
It sounds like those who are intrigued by the game’s quality but like more content more quickly might be able to have their baked-from-scratch cake and eat it too!