VirtuQuest has officially announced that they will be launching Open ARG 6.5 which will be playable to the general public. After a summertime hiatus, VirtuQuest is back in full force completing their newest ARG, as well as branching out into more traditional web development venues. While we don’t know when or how the newest game will start (ARG developers are always so secretive about these things), rest assured that we will alert you as soon as any new information is received. Players of previous VirtuQuest games will want to keep their eyes and ears open for any unusual communications, and while they are waiting, might want to check out the VirtuQuest Gallery where examples of previous games have been archived. If VirtuQuest’s Fall 2006 memo is any indication, there just might be a tie-in to one of their previous games.
Over 800 members of the worldwide gaming industry descended upon Eastern Canada today for the start of the Montréal International Game Summit 2006. Designed to become “The Annual Event” for Canadian and East coast game development specialists, the Summit is hosting “some 30 courses, seminars, conferences, and workshops over a two-day period” as well as numerous social activities since game designers have to play at some point in time.
On a special note for ARG enthusiasts, Elan Lee of 42 Entertainment is scheduled to give a talk on ARGs. Alternate Reality Games: Check Your Joystick at the Door promises to explore ARGs from their history to what they may become in the future. The talk will also tackle how to think about entertainment and storytelling in a whole new way. Plus, there just may be cookies.
In advance of his talk, Elan sat down with Phil Fish of the Montreal Gazette for a quick chat about what ARGs are. In the video, Elan talks about how ARGs turn the players into real world heroes rather than having them just pretend through their computer or gaming console. Off camera, Elan gave the interviewers some interesting tidbits which may be hinted at on their blog at http://community.canada.com/gamecity. You’ll want to check for that update later, as well as video from Elan’s talk.
ARGN would like to thank the Montreal Gazette, Sebastian Speier, and Phil Fish for graciously notifying us about the interview and allowing us to link it for our readers.
The Lost Experience got quite a lot of publicity during the San Diego Comic-Con this year. During the Question & Answer section at the Lost panel, a mysterious woman, who identified herself as Rachel Blake, started questioning the panel members on the Hanso Foundation. Despite the writers claims that it was just something they made up, Ms. Blake was adamant that both the films and The Hanso Foundation are real. She questioned them on Joop, fires in Iceland, organ harvesting and deaths of Hugh McIntyre and Darla Taft. Before she was escorted away by security, she screamed that the Lost writers had blood on their hands and that if the audience wanted the truth they should visit hansoexposed.com.
Once at the hansoexposed.com site, visitors need to register and start hunting down glyphs that contain codes that unlock segments of a video. These glyphs can be found just about anywhere: on websites, podcasts, magazines, and on cast members themselves. Once a new segment is unlocked, it then needs to be positioned correctly within the other segments to create a coherent video. So far, 21 of the 70 fragments have been unlocked. Although there is a leader board set up to track those who find the codes first, the codes themselves are spread across the globe, so cooperation is needed to find all 70 codes to expose the Hanso Foundation and tear it apart.
It’s still not too late to get involved with the quest to expose the Hanso Foundation. You don’t need to know everything that has come before to participate in the hunt for the glyphs. But if you are curious, Unfiction has several Quick Reference Guides to lead you through the three acts of the game. Rachel Blake also has her own version of what has occurred so far. Only by working together can the secrets that the Hanso Foundation are keeping secret be exposed.
The question of “Who Is Benjamin Stove?” has finally been answered after four months of intense speculation. Depending on who you ask, Ben Stove is: a tinfoil hat nut job; a teacher; a research; a shaman; an alien; hot-headed; a great guy; a man of vision; enigmatic; a scientist; a friend. In other words, just your average internet personality.
Players were first introduced to the mystery of Ben Stove in the form of a painting of a crop circle. From there, they found Ben Stove’s mentor, Dr. Martinez, and obtained copies of letters written from Ben to Dr. Martinez over the years. The letters were filled with secret codes that led to libraries all over the country at the same time as they caught the eye of some mysterious Men In Black. Eventually, Ben Stove himself was found, along with his website filled with research into crop circles. His research showed players that the crop circles were a warning to the people of earth about the dangers of fossil fuels and that using alternatives, such as ethanol based products, were the way to save humanity.
A new mini-campaign, IDEAS Festival 1906, has appeared in recent days, in part to promote the Indiana IDEAS (Interactive Digital Environments Arts and Storytelling) 2006 Festival at Indiana University.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to assist Time Corps Detectives in tracking down one Silas McGuffin. Mr. McGuffin has been performing unlicensed Chronal Travel and has conspired to commit WWI. It seems there was an incident involving a bakelite penny, a train, and a bunch of corn resulting in Panama declaring war on the United States in 1906. Oops.
I have it on good authority from a Time Corp Detective on conditions of anonymity that we should be able to solve this case in about a month. Any interested parties should visit the briefing center sooner rather than later if they wish to help find the time-jumping madman.
IDEAS Festival 2006 will be held Saturday April 1st, 2006 at the Radio-TV Center, Indiana University Bloomington. From 10am to 5pm there will be a juried show of “digital and interactive works in sound, animation, video, 2D and 3D graphics” followed by the Keynote Address by Bob Cesca of Camp Chaos Entertainment, Inc.
Sometimes addiction to ARG games is not a good thing. We players always seem to want more stories, more puzzles, and more action, even after the game has finished. Especially after the game has finished, players will attempt to find more secrets hidden away, squeezing every last drop out of the game before they walk away.
So has been the case with Vaporlofts. I am sorry to report that ARGN has received information that the game has come to an end, just the way it was meant to, even though none of us realized it. In a vast departure from previous games, Vaporlofts ended the way things in life tend to do. There were no ending credits, no happy endings, just more questions than answers. Anne never returned from Atlanta and with information going missing, it seems that only Vaporlofts can know why. With the company so good at keeping secrets, we may never know what truly happened to her. All of our leads have gone cold, so it’s time to put this into a cold case file and hope that one day a new lead may turn up.