A few weeks ago, the biggest mystery in Yoni Grishman‘s life was why the people of Tel Aviv so despise the members of his chosen profession – that of a parking attendant writing tickets for the hapless drivers of Israel. Now, he’s got a lot more to worry about. His girlfriend has disappeared, suspiciously soon after he started the Facebook group “Real Estate is Not a Game” to protest the purchase of her apartment building and impending eviction by a rich real estate developer.
After receiving threats from a mysterious group, Yoni, with the help of the people of Tel Aviv, has been attempting to uncover the group’s secrets, determine their connection with the mysterious Architect, and find his girlfriend.
Called “The Architect” and billed as Israel’s first alternate reality game, the story has attracted several hundred players across Israel. Two live events have already taken place in Tel Aviv’s Sarona district as players took to the streets to protest the building of My Sarona, a luxury spa featuring an anti-gravitation room in addition to other more typical spa offerings. (The My Sarona promotional video has English subtitles.)
Israeli ARGers meet to discuss the game in an Israeli gamer’s forum and have set up a wiki to keep track of their information. Most of the game content and discussion is in Hebrew, but don’t let that stop you from having a look around!
Although the game is set to end on March 31st, take a peek at the websites and video. Once the game wraps up, we’ll have a follow-up article for you on the puppetmasters behind the scenes of Israel’s first – but hopefully not last – alternate reality game.