Author: Jonathan Waite (page 2 of 37)

Getting Played

longnoseRecently, I’ve learned that the author of a article here on ARGNet isn’t who he said he was. According to this post at the Unfiction forum, the person we thought was Martin Aggett isn’t really a person at all; it turns out that Martin Aggett is a persona, a character to be featured in an upcoming alternate reality game. Martin Aggett is, as the person responsible for creating him claims, “a complete work of fiction.” This caused me to take a step back last night, to take time to examine the situation and think about what it means here. This is what I’ve come up with:

  1. Although Martin Aggett isn’t real, the article will stay put. I’m going to trust that the person that wrote the article didn’t have a hidden agenda when he wrote the content, although submitting it in the guise of a future ARG character was… how do I say this… not the best option. The content is still a great read, and I have enjoyed the comments added after publishing it.
  2. Needless to say, I won’t be accepting any more articles from Martin Aggett. Our web site shouldn’t be regarded as “in-game,” and I’m disheartened to find out that we were deceived about the fictional nature of the author before publishing the article. I hope that our readers understand that our goal here at ARGNet is to deliver news and report on games, not to be used as a promotional device for any past, present or future campaign.
  3. We are going to change the byline on the article submitted by Martin Aggett. One of the troubling aspects of this situation is that I asked the person I thought to be Martin what name he wanted for the byline, he said, “Martin Aggett will be fine.” This was only two weeks ago. I had no idea that Martin was a fictional creation, and would have never published the article under that byline had I known.

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Spring Cleaning, Part Two

streetsweeperAs promised, here is our second installment of the spring cleaning of the ARGNet inbox, with game tips and news items dating back to the beginning of the week. Enjoy!

May 21: “N” sent us in the following game tip which he found on “this new site online”: I found this article below on this new site online. There have been random texts with riddles going around about it. What do you guys make of it? I figure this is your area. ——————————— Is When they were Pharaohs really an A.R.G. in disguise? by E.A. Wallis First there was The Beast, then there was I Love Bees and Lost Experience, now an A.R.G. in a story on ancient Egypt? In an age where alternate reality gaming has taken on many forms, there are practically no limits in the way that mass online adventures are now being played, but in the novelization of an upcoming theatrical stage play? In a way When they were Pharaohs might represent the ultimate in reality fact finding, puzzle-solving missions, in what is looking to be another world-hopping adventure, but you’ll need to be an Egyptologist or hieroglyphics expert to crack some of these modern takes on ancient riddles, because though some clues are hidden out in plain sight with hieroglyphic translations conveniently included, others are presented completely without. Of course the ancient Egyptians themselves had games and other leisurely pastimes to remedy their boredom (although without Facebook) but a modern-day reenactment of the mythological quest of Horus and Isis to revenge Osiris? With the re-discovery of the mummy of Hatshepsut in 2007, this real life saga has enough drama and irony, worthy of a Greek Tragedy. I may have found the eye of Horus, but if you can tell me where Osiris is laid, you might as well solve the riddle of the Sphinx. We did a little Google-fu and found this exact text (save for one line) on Craigslist ads from Los Angeles and Baltimore. After looking at the web site from the ad, I’m going to go out on a limb and say no, not an ARG in disguise. However, prove me wrong and earn a place in my heart.

May 21: The good and wonderful Tony Walsh send in this tidbit about an upcoming event: Hi guys, just wanted to let you know about this upcoming event in San Francisco. Tony Walsh (Phantom Compass), Lance Weiler (the WorkBook Project), and Ken Ecklund (sic) (World Without Oil) will all be appearing at KQED in San Francisco next Saturday. On Saturday, May 30 at 1:30PM Pacific in the KQED ATRIUM, Tony Walsh (Phantom Compass) and Ken Eklund (World Without Oil) will present on the topic of games for change: Games for Change has turned into its own movement of creatives, technologists and gamers who are developing interactive and game projects driven by social issues.Tony Walsh, CEO of Canadian game design firm Phantom Compass, and Ken Eklund, developer of the award-winning ARG World Without Oil unpack some of the most successful social change games and related creative experiments and provide a blueprint for filmmakers looking to get into “game space.” Hey, that’s only three days from now! Hopefully this meas that some of our Bay-area readers can make it down to see this presentation!

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Spring Cleaning – Game tips, news and more

streetsweeperIt’s been a whirlwind of activity for us here at ARGNet, and the inbox is overflowing! We haven’t had much of a chance to look into most of these, but every rabbit hole is worth taking a peek into, so here’s what we have from the past few weeks:

April 22nd: A reader named Laura was kind enough to send in this newsworthy item: Kaede writes a monthly column in the Japanese creative magazine “Brain”, and this month’s column is all about ARGs! I (@lauraehall on Twitter) and a few other players (@jasper_su, @cubicgarden, Roberta Romero and @redbanshee) were contacted about using our photos, and they sent me a copy in return. The PDF is available at They talk about Find the Lost Ring and Art of the Heist, and Unfiction gets a mention too, so I thought you guys would want to see! Thanks Laura!

April 23rd: We received this game tip from someone calling themselves Reasonableman: A game called “Help Lisa” is now playing. The start point is: The game is promotion for The Ennead ( There is a thread dedicated to this game at the Unfiction forums.

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Remembering Dave Szulborski

meandtyler_smToday is an extremely tough day for fans and friends of Dave Szulborski. Dave has passed away after battling leukemia for a long time, and he is remembered by his wife Marianne, his son Tyler, and so many people across the world. Beyond his reputation as a consummate professional and an innovative, creative designer and producer of alternate reality games, Dave was an inspiration and friend to many in the ARG community.

Dee Cook broke the news on the Unfiction forums earlier today, and we’d like to relay the following information from her post:

If you are interested in attending the funeral services, here’s the information:

Sunday night, visitation at Long Funeral Home, 500 Linden Street, Bethlehem, PA from 6-8 PM.

Monday morning, memorial service at St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church, 617 East Fourth Street, Bethlehem, PA at 11 AM.

If you would like to send along your respects:

It was Dave’s wish that in lieu of flowers, people contribute towards his son’s education. You can do so by sending a check to the following:

Long Funeral Home
500 Linden Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018

Make the check payable to Long Funeral Home, and put “Tyler Szulborski Education Fund” in the memo.

Also, there is a memorial page posted at the funeral home site where you can write in the guest book, and there will be an obituary posted on The Morning Call tomorrow.

As most of us are just now learning about the news, it’s tough to put into words the impact Dave has had on the staff here at ARGNet. From the bottom of my heart, I can say that the memories I have of Dave will stay with me forever, and the body of work he has completed will always be an important part of the history of gaming. Godspeed, friend.

SXSW Interactive awards for TDK ARG, We Tell Stories, Lost Zombies

2009-sxsw-web-awards Image courtesy of the SXSW Interactive Web Awards site.

It’s a big night for three campaigns tonight, as the teams behind The Dark Knight ARG, Lost Zombies and We Tell Stories have won major awards at the 12th annual SXSW Interactive Web Awards. The awards were handed out earlier tonight at the Hilton Austin Downtown, and according to The Underwire blog at Wired, the major hardware found its way into the hands of the wonderful people behind these highly successful campaigns.

One of the biggest wins of the night came for We Tell Stories. This project was a collaboration between Six to Start and Penguin Books and, as reported here in March of 2008, was a way for media-savvy designers to retell classic stories through the use of technology. We Tell Stories won in the Experimental category, but as a bonus, also walked away with the Best in Show Award. This is a monumental win for the company, formed at the beginning of 2008 by former members of Mind Candy.

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A novel idea: Dot Robot has its own secret website


It was about a month ago when we received a game tip about the web site, which was found in the book Dot Robot by Jason Bradbury. In the context of the novel, which is geared towards a younger demographic, the web site is discovered by one of the protagonists. Arriving at the site, it appears (on the surface) to be a sounding wall for anonymous comments, and after poking around for a bit this afternoon, I can’t find anything for further investigation, but I may be missing something… obvious, having not read the book yet. Perhaps one of our intrepid readers can point us towards the more secret secrets in our comments?

The use of the Internet to expand the narrative of a book is nothing new, but it’s always encouraging to see it happening, especially with books for kids and teens. I’m a big fan of getting the young’uns more interested in reading, and tying the written word to the World Wide Web has worked for such properties as 39 Clues, Ice Shock and Skeleton Creek. Hopefully those that have been entertained by Dot Robot will enjoy the secrets discovered at the web site.

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