It started with a handwritten message on notebook paper and some barcode stickers found in the mailboxes of Sean Stacey and other alternate reality gaming players. These clues led to a website which showed nothing but an entry box and blank submit button. It was described by one player of the game, xnbomb, as “wonderfully devoid of anything encouraging, which in itself is encouraging”. Eventually, after picking through the clues provided for them, the players entered the correct password and were rewarded with a black and white map of the midwest.
What kind of ARG could possibly come out of a sheet of notebook paper, some barcodes and a map of the midwest? Well, an ARG for a major network television show, of course! A source close to the game has confirmed that the Tom Tooman ARG is an official product for the CBS television show, Jericho.
Over the past three months, things have been slowly ramping up in the Tom Tooman ARG. The midwestern map went through several changes, finally giving an elusive message which included the words, “Are you bored yet?”. While some of the more impatient players may have responded with a “yes” to that question and moved on, those who knew the adage about what comes to those who wait were rewarded with several new meaty updates. New websites were found including one for the Sakanas, Kansas community newspaper where players discovered that the midwest had been hit by several atomic bombs. Another website, for Black Hills Radio Control, has allowed players to scan the radio waves looking for communications from survivors of the attack.
Fans of Jericho might have noticed early on the similarities between the Tom Tooman ARG and the CBS show. Jericho revolves around how the residents of the small town cope after being isolated from most of the world following a nuclear attack. The speculation of a connection has proved true with a newly discovered website for Jennings and Rall, a company that will help rebuild the town of Jericho during season two of the show. The website details some of the many ways the company intends to rebuild America including: satellite monitoring, food services support, “city scrubbing” and the isolation of individuals contaminated by radioactive fallout.
ARGNet’s inside source revealed that the best part of the ARG is yet to come, including an expanded narrative which will include some familiar names to fans of the Jericho show. According to the source, “CBS wanted to provide current and future fans with a richer experience in preparation for Season 2 and to keep the momentum for the show going during its hiatus.” Jericho fans will surely be delighted to find out that the show they fought so hard for now has an alternate reality game connected to it. The show was cancelled last season and fans reacted by sending CBS over 40,000 pounds of nuts to pledge their loyalty to the show. The unprecedented grassroots campaign worked, CBS listened, and Jericho will return this season for seven episodes.
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