Tag: Boston (page 1 of 2)

A Day Pass for Boston-Area Puzzling at Boda Borg

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I have a problem. Years of playing alternate reality games and transmedia storytelling experiences have trained me to love room escape games. Getting locked in a room and relying on a group of friends to figure out what we’re supposed to do to get out? Pretty much my dream come true. But there are a limited number of rooms in Philadelphia, and I’ve done them all. And for the most part, it’s not as fun playing a room escape game for a second time. It’s like going to the same murder mystery dinner party twice. Once you know everyone’s secrets and whodunnit, you’re either stuck watching on the sidelines, or end up spoiling the mystery for everyone else.

Okay, so I’ve done all three rooms currently running in Philadelphia. But there are hundreds of rooms running globally, so I can still scratch my room escape game itch when I’m on vacation…but I have to do it alone, unless the friends I’m visiting haven’t similarly run through all of their local games. Otherwise, I’m stuck waiting for more rooms to open up in my area, or for escape room designers to find a way to make their games more replayable. Luckily, Boda Borg has come up with a solution to both problems.

Boda Borg started in Sweden, and has been running “reality games” since the mid-90s, long before the current wave of room escape games swept their way through Asia and North America. Boda Borg currently has eight locations in Sweden and Ireland, but only recently opened their first North American location in Boston. The core concept is the same: a small team of participants enter the room, and have to figure out how to use the surrounding objects to get out of the room. But because Boda Borg evolved independently from traditional room escape games, the experience is considerably different, in practice. The main difference? The rooms are designed for teams to fail fast, and fail frequently.

Boda Borg’s business model enables this “fail fast” mentality. Rather than reserving a room for a particular time slot, Boda Borg Boston offers a 2-hour pass for $18, or an all-day pass for $28. This buys unlimited access to the building’s 20 “Quests”. Each Quest’s difficulty is rated primarily on the physical demands of the rooms, with “Green” rooms focusing on cognitive challenges, “Red” quests requiring moderate physical activity, and “Black” quests requiring…well, let’s just say “Black” quests lie somewhere between Survivor challenges and American Ninja Warrior, on the difficulty scale. Players who realize a Quest is too cognitively or physically demanding for them can easily move on and try a different room, finding the perfect fit for their personal appetite for challenge.

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Help New England Patriot Vince Wilfork Recover His Stolen Super Bowl Ring!

Be sad for New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork (#75). Someone has stolen his precious Super Bowl XXXIX ring, and now Big Vince needs your help to get it back.

Help Vince is an local interactive marketing game for the New England Patriots that integrates SCVNGR, a location-based, check-in style smartphone app. A few weeks ago, Patriots sports bloggers received simple shirts to start the buzz, but the Help Vince game officially opened last week.

According to the official press conference, Vince brought his Super Bowl ring to his 7th annual draft day fundraiser benefiting┬ádiabetes charities. While showing the ultimate prize in American football to a lady Patriots fan, a man in a New York Jets helmet grabbed it and sped away in a vintage Pinto. In the ransom video filmed in his mother’s house, the Ultimate Jets Fan owns up to the crime and claims he just wants “the satisfaction of knowing that [he’s] smarter than the average Patriots fan.”

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“Stop The International” Returns With A Bang – And Lots Of Cash

IBBC.JPGStop The International, the promotional ARG for the Clive Owen movie The International, first debuted in November 2008 when live events were held in several locations around the world, including Berlin, Los Angeles, New York City, and London. During these events, players were given clues to “evidence caches” containing money and documents which could be used to prove The International Bank of Business and Credit’s shady dealings. The game lasted four weeks… and then seemingly went dead.

On January 14th, the site went live again – and in a big way! In the four weeks since the first part of the game concluded, the main character, Inspector Salinger (Clive Owen) was dismissed from Scotland Yard after his main informant was killed in a suspicious car crash. However, he is continuing his pursuit of the International as an Agent with Interpol and with the help of a Manhattan prosecutor named Eleanor Whitman, along with the help of a new informant from within The International – and YOU! Salinger’s new informant is stashing more evidence caches around the United States and Europe in over 60 different dead-drop sites over the course of the next three weeks, and he needs our help in retrieving all the evidence caches so they can be submitted as evidence to Interpol, and bring down The International once and for all!

The first drop sites in the list went live on January 15th in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Diego. As each city’s countdown expired, a clue to the location of the cache, a number code, and GPS coordinates were revealed. Players in each of the cities rushed to the sites, and upon arriving, discovered a lockbox with a combination lock which could be opened using the provided number code. Packed inside the lockbox compartments was money of many different countries — US, Australian, and Hong Kong dollars, Mexican pesos, Russian rubles — and the money was REAL. The map page displaying the dead-drop sites then updated, indicating that the cache was successfully picked up and evidence forwarded to Interpol. As an added bonus, players could enter the serial numbers of the retrieved money and see the trail the money had followed – crime lords, criminal organizations, money launderers (however, apparently *any* serial number from any form of currency will work as well). All drop sites that went live yesterday were successfully found, with the sole exception of the first in New York City, more than likely due to players not realizing what exactly they were looking for.

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DIY Days Boston: Catching up with Lance Weiler and hanging out with filmmakers

DIY Days logoWhen I heard DIY Days was coming to Boston, mostly I was looking forward to reconnecting with filmmaker, Alternate Reality Game enthusiast and ARGFest Boston speaker, Lance Weiler, (Hope is Missing and Beyond the Rave) and maybe getting a scoop on his next project. While I did get to do all that, I also got to meet some incredibly talented independent filmmakers, culture researchers, and writers, and participate in a great discussion not only about independent filmmaking, but also about the future of media and technology.

DIY Days is an offshoot of Weiler’s The Workbook Project, and is paired with the From Here to Awesome Film Festival. All are grounded in his commitment to open-source filmmaking, mentoring and encouraging creativity and helping independent filmmakers to finance, distribute and promote their projects inside and outside of traditional media channels (but mostly outside). Weiler’s partner in DIY Days is Arin Crumley, co-creator of indie film/YouTube phenomenon, Four Eyed Monsters.

DIY Days Boston, a free, all-day event, was the fourth and final conference in this series. (A new series will resume next year.) Speakers for the day included, among others, Weiler, a venture capitalist, MIT researchers, and, of course, many filmmakers, all bringing their knowledge and expertise to share with others. You can watch the conference proceedings online at the DIY Days site, so instead of giving a blow-by-blow of each talk, I’ll highlight my favorites.

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ARGFest 2008 in Review: Long Live Unfiction (Sean Stacey Learns to Whistle)

ARGNet Writers pose at ARGFest 2008
This article is the fifth in a series, providing summaries of the panel presentations at ARGFest-o-Con 2008 in Boston

In 2004, Sean Stacey was traveling through France with a friend. Walking along the Champs Elysees, he encountered a man on the street making the most incredible whistling sounds he ever heard. For the next few days, Sean diligently practiced his whistle, contorting his face in new and unfamiliar ways, attempting to duplicate the sound that fascinated him so much. Finally, his friend explained to him that the man on the street was selling bird whistles. He didn’t say anything before because, “well, you were getting pretty good.” Unfiction is kind of like that. The moral of this story is that Sean C. Stacey is one heck of a good whistler.

The story also helps explain the twists and turns in the evolution of Unfiction.com, the largest discussion board devoted to alternate reality games on my bookmark list. When Sean created the website during the alternate reality game Lockjaw in 2002, running a forum was the last thing he wanted to do. He still harbors hopes that Unfiction will not live forever, because the genre will expand beyond needing a single resource.

Sean credited Adrian Hon, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Six to Start, with creating the first alternate reality gaming wiki. He followed that up by noting that no one actually used the wiki. Using wikis, he claims, augment community rather than create it. Thus, the only way you can get Sean to create a wiki on his new website, Despoiler.org, is by requesting one. People like to teach others, and wikis can lower entry barriers for complex topics: but only if a community exists to develop it. One of the true pleasures of the Unfiction community, Sean explains, is that reputation is not an issue in how discussions are handled. Everyone, no matter how well known or well liked, must rely on persuasion to justify their thoughts and opinions.

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Holomove Post-Game Chat Announced

Holomove logoSpring is over, but the “little birds” are still whispering – this time regarding the long-awaited Holomove Post-Game PM Chat! Members of the team behind the game will be gathering in Boston on Friday, July 18th at 4PM ET to chat with players, mere hours before ARGFest officially kicks off. Fear not, for non-ARGFesters will still be able to participate via live audio chat (details to follow).

Stay tuned to the Unforum thread or ARGNet for more details as they are made available.

Editor’s note: We had originally announced the wrong date, but we have it correct now. Sorry for the confusion!

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