The grassroots alternate reality game 13 Crystal Skulls came to a successful conclusion earlier this week thanks to the successful destruction of thirteen compressed files by players and characters alike. CDs were burnt, shredded, cut up, and even chewed by a dog to prevent their Gathering.
After the events documented in ARGNet’s previous article, the Thirteen Crystal Skulls arranged for Ted Allen’s untimely demise. Players enlisted the aid of The Four Chosen to put a stop to the ancient skulls, and thanks to Tyi Harper’s hacking skills were able to physically destroy the skulls imprisoned in compressed files. Despite a lone skull escaping the confines of its zip file, disaster was averted.
Thirteen Crystal Skull’s puppetmaster Aaron Sampson, who goes by DJSampson on the Unfiction forums, shared a few words with us regarding his project. He related that one of his goals was to aid future grassroots puppetmasters “by showing it is possible to create a good story, run it at no cost, and run it by yourself. Although I don’t recommend running an ARG alone, unless you have countless hours to invest every day and no girlfriend to piss off. But I do recommend preparing an ARG you are creating for such a thing to happen.”
The Thirteen Crystal Skulls homepage contains a game summary including an archive of the puzzles and their solutions. Aaron will also be posting alternative endings in the near future. The page should prove to be a good resource for players and PMs alike as it clearly demonstrates examples of gameplay, puzzles, and free resources frequently encountered in the genre.
The PM chat is scheduled for April 15th at 7PM EST on IRC in #13skullspm at irc.chat-solutions.org (which you can reach through our Java chat applet).
One week after the Greatest Show in ARG, panelists Nicko Demeter, Sean C. Stacey, Marie Lamb and Jessica Price join host Jonathan Waite for an hour long look at recent game developments and the fallout from ARGFest-o-Con 2007. Read the show notes (coming soon!) at the ARG Netcast web site. Subscribe to the ARG Netcast feed through this link or via iTunes.
Ted Allen might be the only person protecting this world from death and destruction. Then again, he might be the person who will bring about our doom. I’m not talking about that suave Queer Eye co-host Ted Allen, although I do consider his cuisine to be earth-shatteringly delicious. No, I’m talking about the character in Doom Skull (alternatively titled Thirteen Crystal Skulls), a grassroots alternate reality game that has gathered a dedicated following over the last two months.
Doom Skull follows the search for thirteen legendary crystal skulls from outer space that may be responsible for the destruction of Atlantis. With the aid of “The Chosen” — four people cursed with the ability to communicate with the skulls — players prove their worthiness to each skull by solving a variety of puzzles. So far, they’ve successfully collected seven of the thirteen skulls. But now, Ted Allen is warning the masses that helping the skulls will lead to a cataclysm of epic proportions, so the players must decide how to proceed.
Exploring the Doom Skull universe is like taking a romp through an alternate reality gaming tutorial. Each skull has its own unique method of communication, ranging from Britskull‘s steganographic images, to Skyskull‘s pig latin, to Goldenskull‘s chessboard cipher. Not all puzzles are “traditional” ARG fare, though. Skyskull had the players work on a jigsaw puzzle, Goldenskull sent a crossword puzzle, and Roseskull had participants collecting image files from past websites, characters, and other players. Since each skull seems to have a distinct personality, these often lighthearted challenges help complement the overall character of the game.
Caution: possible spoilers about Perplex City are revealed in this netcast.
It’s our first netcast of 2007, and I’m happy to be joined by regular panel guests Brooke Thompson, Jackie Kerr and Marie Lamb, with special panel guest rose. In our ninth netcast, we talk about games, games and more games. Subscribe to the ARG Netcast feed through FeedBurner or via iTunes.
- Vanishing Point is live and full of wonderful prizes and challenging puzzles. And, no, we don’t all think it’s an ARG… even if 42 Entertainment is behind it.
- Puzzle of the week: The META puzzle from Vanishing Point. Read more about it at the Unforums.
- Township Heights, the new VirtuQuest alternate reality game, launches with a pay-to-play model and a few T-shirts.
- Meigeist (the ARG formerly known as Geist) goes live and people are already buzzing about the quality of the game this far. Oh, and there are cute, cuddly cats involved. You can get behind-the-scenes information here if you can’t wait for us to publish an ARGNet article about the game.
- NeoVenus Construction (AKA Nevec) looked to be stalled before candy bars and a new blog opened the game back up with a resurgence. See Krystyn Wells’ ARGNet article for more information.
- The Sector Seven/Transformers ARG viral campaign stalls. Fanboys and fangirls around the world really want this to be more than what it currently is.
- Perplex City has life, as the players feel that they are close to finding that darn cube. It’s not an easy path, however.
- Second Life Future Salon panel discussion on ARGs took place on the 27th of November, we hope to have access to the audio from that discussion soon.
- The Human Pet reinvents itself with more videos and a shiny new website, complete with community-forming forums.
- Deus City is on a bit of a hiatus, claiming that the recent storms in the U.S. have thrown an icy wrench into their plans. Yeah, sure — nice excuse. No, really, we like it.
- Marie talks about Doom Skull, which we were ready to pass off as just another game… until she really sold us on it.
- Preview for next week — Bristelgoodman.. On first glance, it looks rather creepy. We’ll know more by next week.