Author: Letter to the Editor

Player Review: Prototype 161 Mare Vitreum

Editor’s note: The following is a recap of the Prototype 161 event on October 31, 2008 in New York City. Originally brought to our attention via a lovely piece of glass swag, the game took players to the streets of NYC on the spookiest night of the year, and intrepid player Jim Babb covered the event for us. Thanks to Jim for his eye-witness account of what transpired.

This past Halloween night, I was member of a group of elite investigators that brought down an evil cult mastermind and his super genetic computer. Yep, a first for me, but just another night for Prototype 161. The event had an online pre-game that Prototype assured us was not necessary for the game and which I enjoyed. The pre-game even had a clue drops in five cities across the country.

At 7pm the event started in New York City’s Central Park when investigators were each handed a folded piece of paper, sealed with wax (a nice touch in my book). The first part of the night was a foot race around Central Park solving simple clues in order to build a map that would come in handy later when we moved over to Roosevelt Island. For those of you that have never been, Roosevelt island is accessible by means of a Tramway and was also the home of New York’s abandoned mental institutions. The Tramway offers an excellent view of the city and was my favorite part of the night — I am glad that the Puppet Masters included this in the game. Roosevelt island offered an excellent backdrop for the rest of the night, because of its size, roughly 0.3 square miles. However, despite the amazing setting of the game the night quickly hit some snags.

We were met on the island by a “professor” giving a lecture on the occult at the local youth center. The youth center would become our home base for the rest of the evening and into the morning, which was decent enough until the soda machine ran out. Most, if not all, of the teams became stuck on the first puzzle (my own team was out of commission for 2 hours). The puzzles were difficult and fun if not entirely related to the premise of the event. One of the major problems I had with the game was after the first clue was finally solved: it provided an answer with which we didn’t know what to do. We were supposed to be looking for a six-letter word, but there were not hints to this effect.

Finally, my team got back on track as we split up to get the rest of the clues. The island was used to full advantage by the PMs. They had us running up and down the area, from a Chinese restaurant to get puzzle containing fortune cookie, to a garden that was totally creepy and dark at night. I am pretty sure that the drunk guys outside the garden were out-of-game, but nevertheless they provided a nice atmospheric element. Other snags included one of the puzzles being vandalized (pumpkins smashed), restaurants used in-game that closed because it was too late, and the police breaking up the big groups of people.

However, my team was determined not to give up, but we were far too frustrated and tired to put in the needed effort to finish with a bang. We all received text messages informing us to stop what we were doing and see the finale. We had lost, but everyone did get to see the end acted out. The problem here was that the finale only made sense to those that had played the online pre-game, but was interesting enough even if a little anti-climatic.

I was excited to try my hand at an alternate reality game and I thought Prototype 161 would provide a good crash course in the genre, and while it did provide me with a feel of ARGs I wish it had gone a little smoother.

Update on Monster Hunter Club

Editor’s note: All of the information contained within this article is courtesy of Zach, also known as molecularr in the Unfiction forum community. This summary was originally sent in on February 10, 2007, so some of the information may have changed since then, and we have made some changes to the article to reflect this. We thank Zach for his dedicated work in getting this information to us!

mhc_thing.pngA lot of stuff has happened in MHC since the last podcast, so I’ve tried to summarize it in sections below. The main things are that the MHC dealt with some aftermath of the Today show incident (Matt still isn’t really speaking to Derek, it seems), and players have been in contact with the mysterious GesamteSeele (Painted Soul) who was the last person to know the whereabouts of Jon Paine.

In more general news, there’s been some speculation in chat that this is a GMD production, though I don’t think that has been proven or really substantiated beyond a general feeling that MHC is similar to their past work.

Cryptidtruth has continued to post videos of the mysterious fish-like creature, including one containing a puzzle (see below). Derek has also started receiving envelopes under his door, containing a new puzzle (see below, “5 Per”).

This week’s Puzzles:

Video – cryptidtruth’s most recent video of the fish-like creature contained some frames with pieces of text on them. When collaged together, they revealed a message explaining why cryptidtruth prefers to remain anonymous.

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Top Ten Reasons I Love Sammeeeees

letter.jpgEvery so often, we at ARGNet are fortunate enough to get a reader submission for an article. Today, we’re happy to be able to share konamouse’s Top Ten Reasons She Loves Sammeeeees:

10. Characters are well played both on video and via their emails. Psyche!
9. Play the game, get a T-shirt.
8. Thursday night trivia game always leads to a video.
7. Ima Spoocheeeee sends smoocheeeees to distract Mr Alan Johnson.
6. Puzzles that don’t make you feel dumb.
5. Great soundtrack.
4. Online séance and a singing nun in the shower.
3. You can’t help but smile when you say “Spoocheeeee”, “Sammeeeees” and “hoopsssssthoo”.
2. Higg’s is so sexy when he’s all fired up.
1. We have our own cool slogan: SAVE THE FIVE, SAVE THE WORLD

Often we chat in #sammeeeees about why we are enjoying this ARG. This is an ARG with a great story; great characters; and puzzles that are not overly complicated. Maybe its the responsiveness of the PMs in addressing our concerns. When we got upset at the idea of players having to choose sides, the PMs made sure we knew that we should stay on one side and that there would be an in-game method to avoid the evil Mr. Alan Johnson from getting inappropriate information. When we voiced our concerns about having to pick someone to hold the Spoocheeeee disc pieces they had a character provide us with an idea on how to do it in a fair manner. And when a potential gamejacker showed up, the PMs used the most appropriate character to deliver a message that kept us from falling for it.

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