Back in August when I wrote about 401WTF, the extended experience for Ashton Kutcher’s new reality television show “Room 401”, I predicted the rather simplistic game might expand into something more. It turns out my prediction was correct, as the Wonderland blog reports the impending launch of Nowheremen.net, “a new community-based social entertainment experience that utilizes the full Web 2.0 medium of platforms to reveal the story behind the mysterious disappearance of a brilliant computer science student, Derek Border.” Apparently, the final clue from the Room 401 experience led players to itkeepsgoing.com. The first 300 players to send their contact information to the website received the next clue in the mail which led to the Nowheremen website, an article about Derek Francis Border’s disappearance.
One of the complaints I had with the game was its general lack of purpose, as the puzzle trail lacked a cohesive plot to tie the various puzzles together. It looks like I’ll have to eat those words, as Derek Francis Border (derekfb) was the creator of the wiki and responsible for posting the show’s episodes on YouTube. Both the ARG and web series revolve around tracking him down.
The timing of this game is rather fortuitous, as an extended experience designed to compliment and coexist with a cable reality televison show guides participants directly to an online web series with relatively high production values, premiering during the WGA strike. It remains to be seen whether this is one of the first of many collaborative efforts by workers displaced in the industry shakeup, or a network-based effort to expand into new media. Whatever the case, the first episode goes live January 22nd, so catch up on the plot and keep your eyes peeled.
Image courtesy of CSchmitt7166