Tag: Chicago (Page 1 of 2)

“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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Harvey Dent campaign shut down (in Chicago)?

150px-Dent.jpgIn early March, the “I Believe In Harvey Dent” campaign for The Dark Knight kicked back into gear. IBelieveInHarveyDent.com was updated to become Harvey’s campaign website, with downloadable flyers, stickers, and posters. It also asked people to promote Harvey Dent for District Attorney by taking photos and videos of their efforts, and uploading to the website, much like the “Why So Serious?” Halloween campaign where the Joker asked people to submit evidence of their allegiance to his cause by painting their faces and photographing themselves in groups at their nearby landmarks. Harvey Dent’s campaign, however, has a travelling “Dentmobile” and a schedule of stops across the United States.

Today, one of the Dentmobile’s first stops – Chicago, IL – may have taken a rough turn. Hollywoodchicago.com reports that after a mere three minutes, the campaign was shut down by Chicago police!

Two people (who knew what was going on) reportedly made it to the Dentmobile before they were closed down. As user Vlkers54 describes the scene:

“…I was at the 8 a.m. stop. I got there at 7:30 a.m. and I sure am glad I did. At 8:03 a.m., the cops came and kicked us out! Only me and another guy showed up, but we did end up getting a lot of free stuff (including) bumper stickers, posters, buttons and a T-shirt.

You should have seen the people as they were coming out of the train station:

“Who is Harvey Dent?”
“What is this all about?”
“Is this for that movie?” (We responded: “What movie? ‘No Country For Old Men?’ That’s a movie!”)

We kept “in character” and promoted Harvey Dent for (district attorney) as if he were a real person. Confusing people was a lot of fun. Some people did catch on to what was going on. Even middle-aged men who knew who (Harvey Dent) was were excited, (asked) for buttons and filled out the petition forms.”

This may be much ado about nothing, however, as we hear through the grapevine that the fine police officers of the Windy City were much more understanding of the situation after learning that the campaign was for Gotham City District Attorney. This coincides with an update on the Hollywood Chicago article which states that the 11 am event went off without a hitch. Regardless of how events actually played out, it must have made for an exciting time in Chi-town.

Puzzles Across America: Ravenchase Strikes Again

great-america.jpgWhen we last checked in with Ravenchase Adventures, our lovely and talented Jessica Price had attended an event in Chicago, amid chilly weather conditions. As was reported back in January, the company is set to start the Great America Race, a cross-country puzzle trail and treasure hunt. The race begins tomorrow (July 14th) in Washington DC and, over the course of seven days, visits a number of cities across the continental United States, including Richmond (Virginia), Charlotte (North Carolina), Nashville (Tennessee), Atlanta and Savannah (Georgia) and Panama City (Florida). Things are scheduled to wrap up in New Orleans (Louisiana) on July 21. Participants will be using cars, trains, motorcycles, buses, or boats as necessary to travel between different clues and different cities.

While it may be too late to join the Great America Race, be sure to keep an eye on the site, as they’ll have updates from the race along the way. If you live in one of those cities, maybe you’ll actually see the participants as they race through your town, looking for clues! Even if you’re *not* in one of those towns, Ravenchase Adventures organizes many other public hunts throughout the year. In fact, in September they’re having one in Sunny Sandy Eggo and I totally plan on attending! Anyone want to join me (heaven’s knows I need the help!)?

Other noteworthy events in the upcoming months include “The Great New Amsterdam Subway Chase” on July 29 in New York City and the “Quest for the Lost Golden Garden Gnome” on July 15th in Princeton, New Jersey. The starting time for both of these events is 5 am, so grab a strong coffee and get involved!

Ravenchase Chicago: Treasure Hunting in the Windy City

ravenchase.jpgRavenchase Adventures bills itself as a “real adventure” using “riddles, anagrams, puzzles, actors, the far reaches of imagination and more,” and warns that it “may be more fun than you can handle.” They hold events around the country (upcoming locations include Honolulu, Chicago again next month, Baltimore, Manhattan, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and others) and will be putting on a national treasure hunt in July.

Since I really enjoyed playing Tombstone Hold ‘Em and have always been envious of those who’ve gotten to participate in events like the Go Game or Jane McGonigal’s oeuvre, a Ravenchase race to a final location determined via clues at downtown Chicago landmarks seemed like a perfect opportunity to get my puzzle hunt fix. I headed to Chicago to meet up with fellow ARGNet writer Krystyn Wells and two other crewmembers from my beekeeping days.

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ARGFest-o-Con 2006: Chicago – Geeks on a Train

Due to the extreme awesomeness of ARGFest 2006: Chicago, one writer was not enough to cover all the excitement! Therefore, this article has been contributed by the combined efforts of Sean C. Stacey, Will Bagby, and Michelle Senderhauf. All pictures for this article are courtesy of Will Bagby, photographer extraordinaire.

On a balmy Friday in late July, ARGFest 2006 commenced, as Bagsbee was first on the scene at the scenic Holiday Inn O’Hare. After doing some reconnaissance on the area surrounding the hotel, he went for an early beer and beef jerky run at the local Dominick’s (where, as one suit-and-tie clad commuter on the check-out line commented wistfully, “that looks like a pretty good day right there”). EGo showed up later that morning, and the first of many ARGFest toasts followed soon after. Imbri and a pair of BYOSPers (thunderclap8 and INCyr) arrived, the group dined at the local Hooters, and were soon joined by ARGFest Hostess krystyn.

More ARGFesters trickled in over the course of the afternoon, another booze run was made by Aliendial and others, and everyone gathered in Room 215 (a.k.a. the BYOSP room) for some pre-dinner PS2 Karaoke. At 7 p.m., everyone piled into cars for a 30-second drive to Gino’s East for some famous Chicago deep dish pizza. The jury is still out on Chicago vs. New York-style pizza, although these reporters know the truth. More ARGers showed up during dinner, bringing the total to around 20. After dinner the siren’s call of Karaoke led the group back to the hotel for more hilarity, and some surprisingly good performances.

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ARGFest 2006 – Chicago, Baby!

argfest06.jpgAfter weeks of deliberation and debate, the final results are in, and it looks like ARGFest 5: Chicago will be officially starting on July 21st, and carrying on through the weekend to the 23rd. If you haven’t yet heard of ARGFest, it is a social event geared towards the Alternate Reality Gaming community that has previously been held in Las Vegas, Orlando, Vancouver and New York. The typical ARGFest weekend includes meet-and-greet events, dinners, nighttime activities (with the occasional nighttime beverage) and, on occasion, organized ARG-themed activities.

Last year’s ARGFest IV in New York set a new standard for an ARG community event, as organizers planned a full slate for the three day festival. Guest speakers such as Jane McGonigal and members of the Art of the Heist creative team were invited to give presentations to those in attendance, and those talks were eventually made into a DVD and encoded to video files downloadable through the Torrent network. As well, the event committee helped to put together a real world puzzle trail that had groups of eager participants travelling all over the Big Apple.

It is not yet known what kinds of surprises lie in wait in the hot summer of Chi-town, but you can be sure that everyone who makes it down to the Windy City will be blown away by the experience. For more information, there is a thread at the Unfiction forums and a wiki to keep you updated.

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