Back in August when I wrote about 401WTF, the extended experience for Ashton Kutcher’s new reality television show “Room 401”, I predicted the rather simplistic game might expand into something more. It turns out my prediction was correct, as the Wonderland blog reports the impending launch of Nowheremen.net, “a new community-based social entertainment experience that utilizes the full Web 2.0 medium of platforms to reveal the story behind the mysterious disappearance of a brilliant computer science student, Derek Border.” Apparently, the final clue from the Room 401 experience led players to itkeepsgoing.com. The first 300 players to send their contact information to the website received the next clue in the mail which led to the Nowheremen website, an article about Derek Francis Border’s disappearance.
One of the complaints I had with the game was its general lack of purpose, as the puzzle trail lacked a cohesive plot to tie the various puzzles together. It looks like I’ll have to eat those words, as Derek Francis Border (derekfb) was the creator of the wiki and responsible for posting the show’s episodes on YouTube. Both the ARG and web series revolve around tracking him down.
The timing of this game is rather fortuitous, as an extended experience designed to compliment and coexist with a cable reality televison show guides participants directly to an online web series with relatively high production values, premiering during the WGA strike. It remains to be seen whether this is one of the first of many collaborative efforts by workers displaced in the industry shakeup, or a network-based effort to expand into new media. Whatever the case, the first episode goes live January 22nd, so catch up on the plot and keep your eyes peeled.
Click Here for the discussion at UnFiction
Click Here for the wiki
Image courtesy of CSchmitt7166
The famed illusionist and skeptic Harry Houdini died in Detroit Grace Hospital, Room 401 at 1:26PM on Halloween of 1926. A life shrouded in secrecy ended with secrecy, as the master magician left friends and family with ten words that, if uttered, would conclusively prove his greatest escape of all.
Almost a century later, MTV’s new reality show “Room 401” pays homage to the tricks and illusions of Houdini by assembling skilled illusionists to scare the living daylights out of unsuspecting victims. And as those of you who read BoingBoing already know, executive producer Ashton Kutcher is providing viewers with a little something extra.
Embedded within select frames in each episode of “Room 401” are shots of Ashton Kutcher holding up cue cards with clues leading to various websites including clips from future episodes and bonus features such as the storyboard for the show’s teaser. While the puzzles are a trifle simplistic and there does not yet appear to be a cohesive plot, the fun of this game is derived from searching the show’s frames for secret messages (behavior that must make the show’s advertisers ecstatic). Additionally, players are finding hints of something bigger in the websites’ registration information in addition to morse in the online videos, so the possibility for more exists.
Each episode leads players to discover a new website. The game’s most recent website, as of the third episode, has a countdown ending at the next episode and presumably additional content Tuesday at 10pm (EST). Be careful, though–follow the game too closely, and you just might end up the final victim of Room 401.
Click Here for the 401WTF Wiki, a comprehensive walkthrough of the game so far
Click Here for the UnFiction thread
Click Here for the official MTV Website for the show