Author: Nicko Demeter (page 3 of 3)

Dude, Where’s My Monster?

thehost.jpgWe all have enjoyed a monster movie at some point. From the ones that are so painfully bad (you can see the zipper on the rubber suit) to the awesomeness in graphic animation that dawned on films since Jurassic Park. The Host is one of those monster movies. Or is it? Reading around the net about the movie you’d be as confused as I am: described as a “comedy”, a “family drama”, even as a “personal sacrifice epic,” this is poised to not be your typical monster-comes-out-of-the-sea flick.

It also seems that an ARG is also hidden within the marketing for this perplexing movie. After watching the movie trailer and heading over to the official website, one might find themselves staring at a “Monsters are Real” message that links to a website that investigates sightings of Yeti, Nessie, and a weird looking fish.

Link after link, a mystery unravels between friends, college buddies, movie lovers, and tattoo freaks. Why would someone disappear when they are investigating something that must surely be a hoax anyways? Why would you want to implant a chip with a blinking LED in your arm? What will happen in NYC at the special screening of the movie in February 12th? And in general, why is there a mystery surrounding a monster movie anyway?!?

Promised to be an adventure full of twists and turns, Monster Hunter Club is currently being watched via MySpace and the unForums. So hop on over, join in the mystery, and remember: Don’t feed the animals.

Links:
Thing in the Water – Meta In-Game blog to catch up quickly and follow the progress
The Host – Official movie site
MySpace account for the movie and entry point for the ARG
Current UnFiction thread

StudioCypher Back At It Again

StudioCypherStudio Cyphers returns with the release of the latest chapter of their multi-player novel (MPN), “The Cyphers”. This chapter, entitled Descry, starts with The Cyphers diving into the mystical world of rituals and spirits while following the experiments of a curious professor — experiments that might have gone a bit too far in the investigation of the paranormal.

What remains true from previous episodes is the overwhelming feeling of “spookiness” and the This-Is-Odd factor that players experience when they first encounter an in-game site or clue. Also, the puppetmasters again seem committed to realism by emailing players individually (instead of canned responses from an auto-reply program) and by conducting IRC chats where the professor and his helpers interact in real-time with the players.

In past episodes/chapters, Studio Cyphers has worked with a subscription model where ‘Wakeful Agents’ (those who pay to play) get information more rapidly, or receive additional clues for game play. For Descry, it is not yet clear what premium content the ‘Wakeful Agents’ are getting. Perhaps a more prominent or clearly defined set of benefits for the subscribing members would draw more players to participate in the paid version of the episodes.

A change of note is that this episode seems a more focused on establishing cooperative play between the players. This is evident by the number of players that currently use IRC and the Unfiction forums to discuss and solve the latest clues, which happened less frequently in previous installments.

To get started, head over to the Studio Cyphers Website and the Unfiction forum section for Studio Cyphers.

The (dark) Cube Hunt

Perplex CityThe San Francisco Connection for Perplex City came and went. Below is a brief summary of the events that took place.

Early in the morning several Cube Hunters gathered at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. With the doors still closed, the Hunters entertained themselves by listening to the podcasts, trading cards, and in general having conversations about the game. When the doors finally opened, Hunters were allowed into an area that contained several tables with free cards, a big screen TV with Guitar Hero, and a puzzle table for those that wanted to stretch their mental muscles before the main event.

On a wall, a projector was keeping track of the “solved” status for numerous puzzles. After several minutes of waiting, Hunters were told to gather to the amphitheater next door. There, representatives of Mind Candy explained that the connection between Earth and Perplex City had been severed and that only with the help of the Hunters would the connection be restored.

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Stranger Adventures or Waiting Game?

sa1.jpg“We want to let everyone know that we will release Daily Rage! very soon. Although we can not supply a specific start date…”

And so came and went another update from Tech Support at Stranger Adventures, an ARG that uses Flash technology to grant the user access to an interface in which they can gather clues, watch videos of the updates, and help solve the case.

After three runs on plots that spanned the period of days, Stranger Adventures announced that it will be creating the Daily Rage, an interactive self-concluding daily ARG. While the player base remained sceptical, the developers announced that the cash rewards (yes, winners there get real money) will continue with the Daily Rage and will be awarded to the winners, well, daily.

However, the already ambitious project seems like it has been placed on an indefinite hold. The SA fans, loyal to the core, proclaim that they will remain steadfast until the release of Daily Rage, yet plenty of them have already signed off. The updates from SA, while filled with ambiguity, hint that the release date is not far. We will remain on the case, as it were, and let you know when you can go visit and get your dose of Daily Rage.

Treasure Hunters: The Hunt Is Almost Complete. Will There Be More?

TreasureHunters.pngIt started with an all-call at NBC for short audition videos of unique teams of three willing to put themselves on the line using their brains and stamina. From the submissions, NBC picked ten teams that would be emerged into a part-reality show, part-ARG, hunt for treasure. Teams receive directional messages via video and text messages to their cell phones, while driving, flying, sailing, riding, hiking, and climbing their way to the clues and, ultimately, the treasure. The game itself has hints of the movie National Treasure (with the music having a VERY familiar undertone to the movie’s score), and it educates the viewers and the participants in the mysteries surrounding the American Revolution and the initial creation of the United States.

This is the second endeavor of a TV network to place participants in an ARG-like situation, rather than running an ARG parallel to the show as in Push, NV, following Fox’s cancelled Murder in Small Town X. Will this show be more successful? So far they have managed something that seems to be important to current, large-scale ARGs: corporate sponsorship. The fact that companies bought into this plan gives hope that the ARG’s are not only the future of gaming, but the future of entertainment for the masses, be they participant or spectator.

The series comes to an end next week, airing live Monday, August 21 at 9pm on NBC. From the original 10 teams, three remain: Air Force, the Geniuses, and the Southie Boys. Tune in to watch the exciting conclusion of the hunt.

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