Four days before Christmas, fans of alternate reality games got an early present. A member on the Unfiction forums noticed a strange new video and from there, it seemed that a new ARG had begun. The video, an eerie clip that showed a group of German explorers discovering and being attacked by a partially buried television, got the attention of the message board members who looked towards commandervideo.com for answers.
At the apparent trailhead web site, the rabbit hole wound further down as players began getting correspondence from a being named CommanderVideo, a professed alien life form approaching earth and in need of help. Just as it appeared that the puppet masters were prepared to reveal to gamers the reason for the viral campaign and the ARG that grew out of it, a player found a scan of a recently released Nintendo Power article that did the job for them.
While the Internet gives life to ARGs, it also has the power to take that life away, and the scanned article contributed to this game’s premature end. The Nintendo Power article killed the ARG as it exposed the game CommanderVideo was marketing, Bit.Trip: Beat, and this left players upset and frustrated. The players were not alone in their disappointment as Gaijin Games, the game’s creators, were also frustrated with the premature reveal. With the game effectively over, players questioned what went wrong.
Alex Neuse, the CEO of Gaijin Games, was kind enough to answer those questions and discus the promising ARG, its abrupt demise, and the upcoming release of Bit.Trip: Beat for ARGNet.
Announced today on the game’s meta blog, many of the folks behind Eldritch Errors will be on IRC tomorrow night starting at 9:00 pm EST to answer questions about the game and hopefully give us some ideas of what’s to come next.
With the recent completion of Book Three, this promises to be an entertaining and lively chat. You can join the fun either via your web browser with the ARGN java chat, or if you have an IRC client, the server is irc.chat-solutions.org, and the room is #stfeline.
For followers of The Shadow War alternate reality game, the success and excitement generated by the experience might convince them that The Shadow War was the game with the golden gun. Charlie Higson, the author of the Young Bond series, kicked off the alternate reality game with a little help from Six to Start at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, launching the main game website YoungBond.com. The first mission went live on August 27, and players were taken on a worldly, online adventure that spanned seven missions.
On Wednesday, October 6, players faced their final mission. Players supporting the OGPU and SIS raced through the Alpine castle, Schloss Donnerspitze, desperate to save captured British soldier “Major” Charlie Higson, James Bond, and themselves from a bomb. Higson regularly appeared within the game to offer hints and encourage the players in their race to the finish. Prior to the final mission, Higson stated that “it’s the final stage of the game this week, and a chance for all those kids to come together in a race against time and finish the story. I’m really looking forward to playing a part in it and appearing live in the game as a British agent. I just hope the kids solve the problems in time or I risk being liquidated by a fiendish foreign power!”
Upon the successful completion of the final mission, you can see the obviously grateful Charlie Higson thanking his rescuers in this video.
You can still replay the first six missions online, and according to the Danger Society News, there is still more content to discover: 20 copies of By Royal Command include a special variant codeword that unlocks additional content for the third mission. To my knowledge, none of the variant books have been located yet.
You can also view a portion of the live event with Charlie Higson, sans sound, on ustream.tv. It gets quite interesting at 5:42.
Not only was it a tight box office for Hellboy II, releasing just one week before Batman: The Dark Knight, but the alternate reality game running in its shadow was also competing against TDK’s massive viral campaign. As a result, the game, which was a joint venture between Hellboy II director Guillermo del Toro and Double-20, found itself flying in under the radar for the most part. However, the community following it very much enjoyed it, myself included. There is, however, still one minor piece of content that never got a chance to see the light of day, which is revealed at the end of this article.
For those unfamiliar with Double-20, they were part of the team that created the alternate reality game known as Ocular Effect for ABC Family’s Fallen last year. For this campaign, the story focused on Lexi Lloyd, a girl who loves fairies and whose father disappeared years ago. Living with her mother, Lexi worried about a cat she had found and returned to a mysterious old lady, was bothered by prank calls and a stalker on YouTube, and was eventually led to try to contact her father.
Action also revolved around an organization named HETFET, an acronym for Humans for Ethical Treament of Fairies, Elves, and Trolls. Backed by Guillermo del Toro himself, HETFET ran rallies in a couple of cities to bring awareness to Troll abuse, and was instrumental in bringing down Augustine Pharmaceuticals – the creator of the miracle “anti-aging drug” Uthyntrol, or “glamour” as described in Hellboy II.
Spring 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!
After almost five months of game play, Book One of Eldritch Errors has come to a close. What began in April with mysterious Craigslist postings and targeted snail mail ended with a live event in Atlanta last Monday, during which a hard drive and boarding pass were found in a room which included three “shrouded ‘figures’ that looked about 4-5 feet tall,” according to this account by sapagoo at the Sentry Outpost in-game message boards. As an epilogue to this climactic event, several additional Craigslists postings have been discovered, where it has been noted that B.A. St. Feline, the psychic character who runs BSeeingU, is experiencing “excruciating pain. Oh, and there were a series of grotesque and disturbing photos uploaded to a player’s personal web site without his consent (or so he says). If this seems confusing out of context, the story-so-far at the Eldritch Errors web site might be a good place to catch up on recent events, as well as the fan-run BSUWiki.
With loose ends being tied up and a break in the action forthcoming, the puppetmasters have come out from the other side of the curtain to talk about the game so far at Schmeldritch, a behind-the-scenes blog. So far, one post has revealed how the recipients of the mailed packages were chosen, and a chapter one credits list is up as well. Game creator Brian Clark describes the site as, “something that happens in between the episodes of Eldritch,” and as “an opportunity to share some tidbits from behind the scenes and some “how to” tutorials for other immersive narrativists dissecting the production.”
Pics of the found hard drive
Contents of the hard drive