IHCAs reported earlier, The Institute for Human Continuity (or IHC), a promotion for the movie “2012”, went live in November of last year, and visitors to their website were offered the ability to enter a Global Survival Lottery for a spot in one of their “initiatives” to save at least a portion of humanity from the global cataclysm occurring December 21, 2012. Here is a brief run-down of game activity leading up to the event at ComicCon:

– December 21, 2009: lottery ticket holders were sent an email from Dr. Sorën Ulfert, PhD, the Communications Director for the IHC, announcing the launch of the full IHC website in a few weeks and an upcoming discussion with Dr. Ulfert in February. Questions for this discussion could be submitted through Dr. Ulfert’s Twitter or email. Also launched was a wiki page for The IHC.

– January 2009: The full IHC site launched and contained a lot more information – disaster scenarios, news and press info, and details regarding the IHC’s “initiatives” to help preserve mankind after the 12/21/2012 disaster. Also around this time, a new site was discovered – This Is The End, a rebuttal site to the IHC’s, written by a character named Charlie Frost (portrayed by actor Woody Harrelson). Charlie’s opinion is that NO ONE is going to survive The End, and that the IHC, while mostly harmless, are just fooling people. Along with amusing blog posts are very funny videos explaining the nature of the disaster and why no one will survive. Charlie also hosts a “radio show” from his Winnebego where he takes phone calls and answers questions.

– April 2009: More updates on the IHC site, including links to “Farewell Atlantis”, a book written by Jackson Curtis (a character in the movie played by John Cusack) and the IHC’s new Facebook page.

– July 17th, 2009 (ARGFest): a mysterious letter was discovered in the ARGFest Goodie bag, detailing the IHC’s new “Ambassador” program they would be launching at ComicCon, and that anyone going to the event should be on the lookout for a postcard being handed out there with instructions on how to become an Ambassador.  The letter also included an additional Twitter account to follow – TheIHC. The bottom of the letter contained a rather cryptic font error message with a URL that lead to a video from Dr. Ulfert, also discussing the Ambassador program.

– July 20, 2009: The IHC announces via Twitter it will be conducting a search for the New Leader of the Post-2012 World.

The day of ComicCon Preview Night, the same letter included in the ARGFest goodie bag was sent out as an email to lottery ticket holders. Meanwhile in the Exhibit Hall, the Sony Entertainment booth had IHC personnel handing out the famous uber-large ComicCon bags with the IHC logo and t-shirts inside, but nothing regarding the Ambassador program. However, Friday the 24th, the IHC tweeted a picture of a postcard that displayed a map of the nearby Gaslamp District with several locations marked. The postcard was also available at the Sony booth. At 9AM, another tweet announced a meeting at “location B” on the postcard at 9:30AM for an IHC gift – and the first 4 people to arrive who had also DM’ed their full name would receive and “exclusive bonus”. Although the IHC reps were about a half-hour late to the specified location, our own Geoff May was the first one to receive the exclusive bonus – being appointed as an IHC Ambassador and receiving a Sony Webbie HD videocamera which contained another video from Dr. Ulfert welcoming the receiver to the Ambassador program and describing the duties required. The giveaways were not limited to ComicCon attendees either – IHC Twitter followers were able to acquire the same swag by being the first to DM the IHC when cued on Twitter, and also became IHC Ambassadors. This same activity occurred every 1-3 hours throughout the day until 5PM, and then continued the next two days, the last being Saturday at 5PM, when I was the last to receive the bonus and become an IHC Ambassador.

Inside the camera box, a welcome card for the new Ambassadors was included and contained a link to a new Ambassador site on the IHC’s website which details the tasks required of the Ambassadors, such as videos to watch and Twitter/Facebook tasks to perform in order to spread the word of the upcoming Election. In a later email, Ambassadors are informed that their performance is being tracked and “the most successful IHC Ambassadors will be recognized and rewarded for their efforts”.

Since the ComicCon event, a number of new updates have occurred, beginning with a countdown appearing on the IHC website which expired at noon PT on August 10th, and a “Learn More” link which detailed the nature of the upcoming event – beginning the search for the Leader of the Post-2012 World using a series of games “designed to measure leadership abilities”. The top 12 scorers will be offered the ability to submit pictures, videos, and campaign slogans for the Election that will occur on November 2, 2009, whereupon the top vote getter will be elected as the Leader of the Post-2012 World.

As the countdown expired, the new Election site was launched, detailing prizes for the winners and the ability to sign up and compete. Upon signing up, the details of the competition are displayed – there will be 3 phases of competition: Phase 1 – play the games and try for the highest score; Phase 2 – the Top 12 scorers will submit their video, pictures, and campaign slogans; and Phase 3 – campaigning and voting.

Phase 1 is now active, where the player has the ability to ask others to “advocate” for them along with a series of games in several categories, including Knowledge, Culture, Reasoning, and Strategy. The Official Rules goes into more detail regarding game scoring and points for recruiting Advocates. This phase will end September 8, Phase 2 September 25th, and the final election results on November 2nd.

While it can be argued as to the “ARGishness” of this game, the prizes are nice and the games look fun and challenging – and the follow-on election campaigning should be *highly* entertaining to watch. Follow along at the Unfiction thread and Wiki on WikiBruce.