In 2008, Disney came to Comic-Con with some early conceptual footage for a movie that, at that time, was called TR2N. It received such strong support and generated so much excitement from the Comic-Con crowd, Disney greenlighted the project. Flash forward to the 2009 Comic-Con, where Disney presented additional footage for the now-titled TRON: Legacy. Fans were also led on a merry chase through San Diego leading to a recreation of Flynn’s Arcade, where further information about the disappearance of Kevin Flynn was revealed.
Flash forward again to 2010, where the Flynn Lives alternate reality game ramped up through the release of online mini-games leading to live drops, movie screenings, digital badges, and real-life TRON artifacts. Meanwhile, buzz for the movie increased as Comic-Con approached and TRON banners and signs appeared around San Diego. The news media started referring to Comic-Con as ComiTRON, which generated even more excitement and anticipation from the ARG community following the Flynn Lives campaign as they started to wonder: would Flynn’s Arcade return?
An important and much hyped event in the Flynn Lives! ARG came to fruition May 6th–the public unveiling of Encom International’s online version of their 1981 arcade classic “Space Paranoids,” which debuted at San Diego’s Comic Con 2009 for the Flynn’s Arcade event.
As a prelude to its release, a special countdown teased the game’s release. Players who visited the countdown splash page were able to click and destroy Recognizers that appeared and hovered across the screen. It served merely as a timewaster, but if players had the patience to keep clicking and destroy 99 Recognizers, they received a badge on FlynnLives.com. By persisting further and destroying 999, they received another badge. Finally, when the countdown ended on May 6th, Encom published their much-anticipated Space Paranoids Online arcade game, just as Alan Bradley had announced.
This Friday at 8PM in San Francisco, Encom’s Executive Consultant Alan Bradley will address invited press and employees regarding a brand new Encom product. Little does he (and hopefully the Encom security) know that his audience will also include many intrepid members of the Flynn Lives organization posing as Encom employees.
Several weeks ago, the enigmatic Zack challenged the group to a little game called ArcadeAid – a site filled with pictures of clever (and sometimes groan-worthy) puns representing several generations of video games, from Pong to Asteroids, Space Ace to… well even Discs of Tron. As players named video games, they were awarded badges at certain levels. Naming all 56 earned them the opportunity to acquire their very own Encom security badge, and as we were to find out later, the ability to attend an exclusive press conference hosted by Alan Bradley himself (played by Bruce Boxleitner).
So if you’re one of the intrepid numbers who completed the ArcadeAid challenge and received an Encom badge, the place to be is the Justin Herman Plaza in the Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA at 8PM, April 2 2010. No word yet on whether non-badge holders will be able to find other ways to attend, or if the event will be aired online either live or after the fact. However, Wondercon will be occuring this weekend, and Disney does have a panel there: so if you are going to Wondercon, take it from an old San Diego Comic-Con pro and keep an eye out for opportunities to attend, either at the Disney booth (if present) or at the panel. You can also follow along on the Unfiction forums thread .
Good luck to all FlynnLives Infiltrators!
UPDATE: Zack from FlynnLives is asking all participants to meet at the Hyatt Regency (across the street from the press conference venue) from 6:15-7:45PM. t-shirts and posters will be handed out to participants, and the group will march to the press conference site en masse in order to get a good location in front of the stage.
It has also announced been announced that while there is going to be a VIP area for Encom employees (hence the infiltrators having Encom badges), the press conference itself is open to the public. So if you’re in the area, get down there and check it out!
As we reported earlier, ZeroHour reached the end of its countdown at 11AM EST (4PM GMT) and had players all over the globe sitting by their computers, compulsively pounding their F5 keys to see when their city’s listing would go live and a drop location would be revealed. Chicago, Orlando, and Paris were the first to update, and it was quickly discovered the drop points were located, fittingly, at arcades. Upon arriving, players looked for their contacts in Flynn Lives t-shirts. The first one to reach the contact gave a pass phrase (such as “Downloadable Content” or “Power Slide”) and was rewarded with a phone, but no further instructions. Once players figured out there was a number in the phone’s contact list labeled “Call Me”, they called and talked to a live person who gave them instructions to find the rest of their package – an 80’s style vinyl velcro “TRON” wallet containing 3 Tron trading cards with codes to be input into the ZeroHour website, a few Flynn’s Arcade tokens, and newspaper clippings about ENCOM. A PM helper shadowed the players and, once the package was found, the ZeroHour website was updated with a check mark to note the drop had been successfully picked up. The players then logged into the ZeroHour site to enter the codes, which unlocked the cards on the site.
As the day went on, more cities went live and more drops were collected. Except for a glitch or two (the Toronto package was taken before the player could reach it, and the Madrid drop was never recovered) the drop collections were rapidly collected and the codes were entered. Finally, when Las Vegas and Sydney were the only locations left, the “No” Bit under the card icons changed to a “Yes” Bit. Clicking on the Bit led to a new site, The Pit Cell.
The Pit Cell contains information on an “exclusive limited event” to be held this Saturday in 4 different IMAX theater locations – New York, Los Angeles, London, Toronto; and a fifth on Sunday in Sydney. Ticket distribution starts today at 4PM EST (9PM GMT), on a first-come, first-served basis.
Shortly after the countdown began at FlynnLives.com/zerohour, players noticed that what appeared to be a picture was slowly forming, pixel by pixel, beneath the binary countdown. That image, although not complete, has started to reveal a list of city names, a good portion of which can be deduced. Washington DC, Atlanta, Orlando, Raleigh, San Diego, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Phoenix are fairly legible, with more becoming so as the countdown approaches the zero hour on February 24th. Stay tuned in the coming days to see if YOUR city appears on the list!
Last summer, a number of movie bloggers received a flash drive along with two tokens for Flynn’s Arcade. By decoding and compiling code hidden within five different .gif files, players were lead to www.flynnlives.com, while text printed on the coins lead to www.homeoftron.com. These websites lead Comic-Con attendees on a merry blacklight-lit chase throughout San Diego to discover Flynn’s Arcade and a life-sized replica of the reimagined lightcycle for the upcoming Tron: Legacy film, scheduled for a December 2010 theatrical release.
According to Creativity Online, this viral campaign was created by 42 Entertainment. 42 Entertainment previously received numerous accolades for its alternate reality gaming campaign Why So Serious, which created a series of discrete live events and challenges to immerse players within the seedier side of Gotham City that had players finding cellphones in cakes, campaigning for Harvey Dent, and locating customized bowling balls.
It seems as though 42 Entertainment is trying for a repeat performance, as ComingSoon.net has reported that Puerto Rican tipster Angel Bidot has received a package from Flynn Lives containing an origami a plastic Bit and the message “/zerohour.” RobMagus also reported receiving the package earlier today. At FlynnLives.com/ZeroHour, a binary countdown is counting down the seconds until February 24 at approximately 11AM EST (8AM PST, 4PM GMT).
Click Here for the discussion at Unfiction.com
Click Here for the Tron wiki at Wikibruce.com
Image courtesy of RobMagus
Speaking of countdowns, remember you only have until 11:59pm EST tomorrow (Tuesday, February 16) to enter to win an iPod Touch, courtesy of Running Press Books.