The Lost Ring: Taking the Blindfold Off

hiddin_msg.jpgIt’s been three days since Find the Lost Ring launched with a fanfare of posters and yarn. Since that time, players and puppetmasters alike have been busily fulfilling the prophetic messages written on vintage Olympic postcards. The game traces a story fraught with mystery and intrigue across the globe in so many languages, you’ll be glad you studied Esperanto in university. You did study Esperanto, didn’t you?

If you’ve been reading ARGNet recently, you might be able to guess one of the developers behind the curtain. However, it’s now official. According to the Lost Ring development team,

The Lost Ring is a global alternate reality adventure created in partnership between McDonald’s, AKQA and Jane McGonigal. Designed in collaboration with the IOC, The Lost Ring invites players from across the globe to join forces online and in the real world, as they investigate forgotten mysteries and urban legends of the ancient games. The Lost Ring recognizes McDonald’s historic sponsorship of the Olympic Games, and brings the spirit of the Games to people around the world.

Jane McGonigal adds that she is “so thrilled to be collaborating with these organizations to create what we hope will be the most global ARG, ever. This is really a dream project for me – we are bringing together the two kinds of games, ARGs and the Olympics, that have the power to engage and unite people all over the world.” So far, the game is succeeding admirably, with characters interacting with players in English, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Esperanto.

If your curiosity is piqued, a brief review of what’s happened so far is waiting for you after the jump.

March 3, 2008 — Find her…
Monday morning, the website went live, introducing our protagonist Ariadne. She woke up blindfolded in a corn maze outside of Johannesburg with no memory, Olympic-calibur athletic skills, and a tattoo bearing the words “trovu la ringon perditan” — Esperanto for “find the lost ring.” With the help of Kai, she set out to find what is happening to her.

March 4, 2008?? — Find the others…
Over the next few hours, players discovered others suffering similar plights. Awakening in a maze blindfolded with no memories and a mysterious tattoo. Diego describes his situation in Spanish, while Markus speaks German. Noriko speaks Japanese, Mei-Hui speaks Chinese, and Lucie speaks French.

Larissa, who speaks Portuguese, doesn’t bear the rather striking tattoo, but these events sound all too familiar as she relates her experiences with Renata, who appeared four years ago in similar circumstances before disappearing. Don’t worry about all of the languages, however — a dedicated cadre of translators stand prepared to decipher whatever comes their way.

March 5, 2008?? — Find him…
Earlier today, an advertisement on the UK Olympic website led the curious to Historian Eli Hunt’s website, The Lost Games. He speaks of a secret sport played in the Ancient Olympics that involves blindfolding the athletes. He also describes the agonothetai, six ancient Game Keepers tied closely to the Olympics.

March 11, 2008?? — Find the secret…
On March 11, Jane McGonigal is delivering the keynote address at SXSW. This wouldn’t be the first conference presentation dropping hints for the game, so perhaps more will be revealed there.

Click Here to join the discussion at Unfiction.
Click Here to visit the Lost Ring wiki.
Click Here for more Lost Ring themed lolcats.

Image courtesy of Geoff May (and Jersey)


  1. konamouse

    I’d suspect that at this point an icon under Whats Hot would be appropriate???

    BTW – Team Jersey are super stars!

  2. Enrique

    Looks like many of the clues will be in Esperanto. Esperanto is the easiest language to learn. You can read Esperanto after studying it for a few weeks. But you will have to put some effort in your studying. Please refer to my web page for help. I can help you learn Esperanto. My address is on all my web pages.

    Using this page, you can also hear spoken Esperanto. This page exists in English, Spanish, or Esperanto.

    In 2004 I was in China during 3 weeks. There I spoke mainly Esperanto, and a little bit of English.

    Best wishes,


    Fremont, California, USA

  3. Ian Carter

    I’m not a gamer, but I am an Esperantist, and I can vouch for what Enrique says above. I actually learnt it in about 3 months – just from a book. Now you’ve got the Internet to help you, it’s amazing how quickly you can pick it up.

  4. KSG

    Crap, someone beat me to putting Esperanto in an ARG.

  5. Brian Barker

    Ian Carter is totally right
    Unfortunately ignorance is now holding Esperanto back.
    Please check

  6. David Curtis

    Teachers of modern languages in Britain have been suppressing Esperanto for many years, scorning it and blocking attempts to include it in the British education system. That’s why even highly-educated people in Britain hardly know anything about it. But there are various free internet courses on Esperanto now, leading to plenty of summer schools abroad where one can practise the language with people from a great variety of countries. There is also the Pasporta Servo, an organisation providing free board and lodging all over the world, on condition that Esperanto is spoken.