Author: Larry Eisner (page 1 of 4)

Deus City Launch

deus_city_01.jpgWell, the time to wait is no longer. In fact, time as we know it may never be the same. Yes, that’s right! Deus City appears to have launched at 11:11:11am CST this past Saturday (That’s 11/11, by the way). And it appears that Brackin’s dissertation theory has proved to be quite true, with much more significance than even he thought possible.

Using some low-budget video (low quality, too, although it fits in well with the story) and some YouTube goodness, the Deus City main site updated with the final moments of the countdown, and some intriguing new developments. Team Brackin’s “communication across time using lasers and a precise location for transmission and receipt” concept appears to have worked flawlessly. However, the signal that was received was much more than anyone expected. Instead of hearing “himself from the future,” it appears that Brackin and his team were greeted by someone who claims to be the Senate Majority Leader and President of Deus City, from the year 2036. After the brief introduction, Brackin’s team received a “burst of compressed data” that is supposed to contain the information required to create a two-way, permanent communication system between Deus City of 2036, and Brackin’s team in 2006 (and thereby, you and me, dear players). However, as tends to happen with this sort of thing, there are many unanswered questions:

First of all, where has teammate “Foo” been for the last couple weeks? Can he be trusted? And why is there a blog with “direct feed” video attached, apparently from him? What kind of information will the “near half-terabyte” of information in the data burst hold? Finally, what kind of “history change” will be required of our players to assist Deus City? Only the future will tell (quite literally, apparently).

While we wait for the answers, this is an excellent time, be you a seasoned ARG veteran or a new player to the genre, to get involved at the ground floor of what looks to be a well-planned, and intriguing Alternate Reality Game. As always, we here at ARGNet will keep you updated with any major developments and breaking news!

Click Here for the Deus City Blog.
Click Here to join the discussion at the unfiction forums.

Deus City Countdown

No, it’s not another Top 40 list from some radio station in Deus City! It’s a new countdown started at the main page at Deus City! Currently the countdown is set to expire on November 11th (if my math is correct), and what will happen at that time is anyone’s guess! As reported earlier, the game isn’t scheduled to launch until 2007, so expect ARGN to be on the case, reporting anything new that happens on that date!

In the meantime, don’t forget that you can submit your own puzzles to be used in the game, by contacting Adam Brackin, and you’ll get the details, and the required API for submissions.

In other Deus News, the Deus City Blog has been updated, including some strange hybrids of science, prophecy, and homebrew time/space theory. It’s worth a read, and quite entertaining, as well as head-‘splody goodness. In a nutshell, the author of the blog proposes we can communicate with the past and the future, although the exact nature of communicating with the past (which therefore allows communication with the future, for those in the past, receiving that communication), is not yet given in detail.

Essentially, the future is now. So that makes it the present. But since that already happened, it’s the past. Whew…. Anyway, once you get your head around this stuff (at least enough to not re-read everything four times like this writer) you get a feel for where this game is headed. The concepts are fun and well thought-out, and the story for the game, while obviously not entirely in plain sight yet, are prime for game-time.

I personally look forward to playing this game, and always enjoy good immersive pre-game, even if that game’s launch is quite some time in the future. As always, continue to look to ARGN for news on this and other Alternate Reality Games in the future. The Future. Yeah, I’ll just keep on saying that…in the future.

Portals For Fun And Profit

A viral promotion for the upcoming game Portal, released by Half-Life creators VALVE Software, Aperture Science is a short, but witty promotional site, with a full psychological test for those “employees” wishing to participate in the Aperture Science program.

The site remains little more than a diversion currently, but it’s definitely worth a look-see, if not just for the excellent sense of humor. However, interlaced with the simple comedy of the thing, are some basic code-cracking elements. And while not really a game, there is definitely a tongue-in-cheek Alternate Reality aspect to the site. Check it out! And as always, should something develop into an ARG or become more immersive than currently offered, we here at ARGN will keep you up to date as the news happens!

Deus City: Perplex Deux?

arg_alert.jpgDeus City, a new, promising ARG is scheduled to hit the internets in the spring of 2007, and ARGN has been fortunate enough to have learned a couple of things about the project.

Deus City is a student-run project from the guys and gals at University of Texas – Dallas, in cooperation with Fundi Technologies of Dallas. The plot will revolve around communication with a community, Deus City, located in the future. The gameplay is currently framed around puzzles and that unlike the current hit, Perplex City, the puzzles will primarily reside online. On the more ambitious side of the project, the game is planned to have features such as dynamic point structures based upon the players’ ability to solve the puzzles correctly with the fewest number of guesses. There are also hints to a “virtual future economy” structure that could also lead to some interesting gameplay. Also intriguing is the idea that the game will attempt to integrate morality into the gameplay structure, as to give at least two different paths a player can run through the game, with moral and ethical implications as a result of the decisions made in the game. Hand in hand with this idea, is a karmic statistic system that, while not fully disclosed at this time, is intriguing to say the least, and could be just one more element in the building of a groundbreaking Alternate Reality Game. To quote the head developer of the team working on Deus City, “We feel that contact with our future selves is imminent and that the world that awaits us will be much more than it seems at first contact.”

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The Devil Wears MySpace

devil-AB.jpgContinuing my streak of pre/reviewing games that seem to stall (Seriously, ARGods! What’s up?), I bring you “Angelo Beckett”, the game about a man who knows too little.

It started out as many grassroots games (sadly) tend to do, with a cryptic AIM conversation. A member of the Unfiction forums got a message, asking for help, from a man known only by his AIM handle, “Angelo Beckett”. However, in this case, the person in need of help was not being cryptic for drama’s sake as much as a total case of amnesia. The person woke up, in London, with a bag containing £20,000 and a note with: the email address from which the person was messaging, as well as the initials B.A.B., a phone number (currently determined to be a mobile phone number in the United Kingdom somewhere), and the ominous message, “Do anything. Get any help. You’ll need it.”

And with that, players were sucked into another GAIM… or was it?

One player called the phone number, and got the address for the MySpace page of Lucien, a nefarious puppetmaster with a love of things evil. (I mean, Bedazzled? OMGZORZ!!! Pure. Evil.) Anyway, Lucien was obviously the mastermind behind the sad state of Angelo Beckett’s condition, as he promised to give one piece of this amnesiac’s life back for every puzzle solved. Some puzzles were straightforward code, and others were riddles such as one requiring pictures taken of London landmarks with a teddy bear in the shot.

Also continuing the grand tradition of all too many grassroots efforts, the game hasn’t been updated in over two weeks, after having had generally daily updates, making most players (especially the one who had to lug a teddy bear to a famous London theatre-front, one would assume) quite irate and feeling certain that the game is crashing.

The premise, while not entirely original, was interesting, and had managed to gather a sizable following of players in its initial days. Here’s to hoping that this one continues, and comes up with a rather good (in-game) explanation of the disappearance.

Perplex City Video Contest Announced

pxc_video.jpgAs announced last Thursday at, Mind Candy and You Tube of, well, you know, Earth, as well as the Perplex City Academy and the Open Design Agency of Perplex City, are beginning a video contest to promote Perplex City, as well as the game with its namesake. This marks the first time an Alternate Reality Game will incorporate user-generated video into the realm of the game, and has inspired many of the PXC player base to pick up their cameras and start shooting.

According to the Perplex City official contest page, videos will be accepted for a four week period which started April 27th. The video submissions should illustrate “the Joys of Perplex City” — whether that means the city itself, or the game, is likely intentionally unclear. As well, videos must be 30-90 seconds long and family-friendly, and everything contained in the video must be either entirely original, or free from copyright restriction (read: Creative Commons). Beyond that, apparently, the sky is the limit.

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