Last fall, Lone Shark Games and Wired Magazine conducted a month-long, nationwide manhunt for reporter Evan Ratliff, with $5,000 on the line. After 25 days on the run, Ratliff’s love of gluten-free pizza spelled his downfall when the owner of Naked Pizza caught him in New Orleans. This time, it’s your turn. Lone Shark Games, in conjunction with Wired Magazine and Universal Pictures, are searching for a few good men (and women) adventurous enough to put their regular lives on hold for a month, starting in late February. Selected “Runners” will be provided vital technology along with seed money to escape detection for a month. Every Runner to make it a month without getting caught receives a $7,500 reward. But, as the contest notes, “people will be trying to find you, and they’ll use any means allowed in the rules to try to figure out where you are.”
This companion piece to The Hunt for Evan Ratliff serves as a promotion for the upcoming Universal Pictures film Repo Men. In the film, Union employees Remy and Jake (Jude Law and Forest Whitaker) repossess artificial organs from their recipients after a period of nonpayment. Thus, taken in context, the Runners are in for the flight of their lives. Of course, Lone Shark Games President Mike Selinker assured me that Runners who are caught should not have worry about the Union harvesting their organs…for all definitions of “organ harvesting” that you or I would know about.
Applicants interested in becoming Runners have until midnight PST, February 10th to submit an application along with 3 recent pictures and 2 minutes of video to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comparing The Repo Men Are Coming to VANISH: The Hunt for Evan Ratliff, Selinker explains:
We’re going through a rigorous selection process for runners; last time, Evan just took off, but we’re being a lot more hands-on this time. There will be some more restrictions on hunters as well. And you’ll see some activities we didn’t show last time. But the basic rules are the same: People are out there, and if you find them and do some specific things, they lose and you win.
The application asks potential Runners to list up to 5 daily activities or restrictions they would be willing to commit to for the duration of the run. Additionally, the signup page notes that interested players should start scanning their city for clues. In The Hunt for Evan Ratliff, clues ranged from personal information about Ratliff (the application requires potential Runners to list three references who will likely be asked to provide helpful hints) to challenges hidden within the New York Times daily crossword puzzle. So while locating Runners will be difficult, it will not be impossible.
The Hunt for Evan Ratliff attracted considerable media attention as Ratliff successfully evaded pursuers for 25 days. Selinker implies that people may hear a lot from Ratliff during this particular chase, so potential Runners beware.
Do you have what it takes to disappear? If so, head over to wired.com/repomen and fill out the application for a chance to leave your regular life behind, if only for a month.
UPDATE: Welcome to our visitors from Slashdot! If you’re interested in learning more about The Hunt for Evan Ratliff, feel free to check out our previous coverage, along with an ARG Netcast interview with Lone Shark Games.
If you’re interested in learning more about alternate reality games, take a look at some of our coverage of past campaigns by following the links below, or learn about current games by using our Now Playing page or visiting Unfiction, a forum dedicated to discussing ARGs.