The two adorable hicks depicted in the above video sell Sticky Itchers Shower Scrub, a men’s shower scrub so manly it’s “like a hand grenade wrapped in bacon,” and in the past 2 years they’ve developed something of a cult following in the ARG community. Just recovering from a bout of undeath from a previous game called Purity Towers, Earl de Rosa and his best buddy Randy Porknut have been kicked out of a Civil War reenactment society for being too manly. So, the pair has joined an ultra-secret organization and are heading into the woods in search of adventure.
Earl and Randy’s latest adventure is the newest alternate reality game produced by Pistolsniffer Industries. Formerly known as Funnel Productions, the grassroots team has created several well-received independent alternate reality games in the past two years for embracing a light humorous style and implementing several recurring motifs. The Pistolsniffer “brand” revolves around the characters Earl and Randy, and their trials and tribulations span the entirety of the Pistolsniffer/Funnel “game-ography.”
Sometimes, the most interesting games are also the most controversial. They push the limits of expectations and possibilities, presenting new challenges and opportunities for participatory play. Purity Towers, the latest campaign from Funnel Productions, operated on two levels of controversy. First, the producers created a competitive game environment between two divergent camps: the hegemonic Proscript Party, and the representatives of the underclass, the Grotian Underground. Secondly, the game’s content, while often presented in a light and humorous way, touched upon real social and political issues, including illegal detention and torture, revolutionary change, and political oppression.
The Grotians and the Proscripts were once two antagonistic kingdoms forced to cooperate because of frequent dragon attacks. When the dragons were finally defeated by Edward Jameson, a mythical hero and ancestor of the last Proscript President, the Grotians were in worse shape than the Proscripts. According to the mythos, the Grotians agreed to become the servant underclass of the Proscripts, and for several generations the People’s Proscript Party (PPP) ruled over the “Proscription Zone.”
One day, the Grotian Underground (GU) started recruiting players. A luxurious Party-owned residence, Purity Towers, was about to open its doors, becoming a landmark in “The Proscription Zone.” The GU defaced the Purity Towers website, and a high-ranking Party member encouraged players to create their own GU cadre, resulting in a ning network, an underground newspaper, and the blogs of two symbolic leaders, Levi Waltershield and Rosa Wells. To complicate matters, two recurring Funnel Productions characters, Earl de Rosa and Randy Porknut got a contract to sell Sticky Itchers Shower Scrub to Purity Towers. Randy recently recovered from a bout of undeath from a previous game while Earl, in his drunken grief, got married in Las Vegas and misplaced his new bride. Inspired by this, a GU player starred as Earl’s lost wife, Bertha Marie Effenberger. Making some heartfelt videos, Bertha’s mission was to get Earl to sympathize with the Grotian side and infiltrate Purity Towers while delivering Sticky Itchers Shower Scrub.
Have you ever wanted to be Luke Skywalker, a rebel fighting for the cause of the oppressed? How about a master spy, the kind who prefers his martinis shaken, not stirred? If either of these roles tempts you, Funnel Productions has an ARG with your name on it.
Purity Towers offers players a chance to enter a world once tormented by dragons. The People’s Proscript Party and the Grotians, enemies who were brought together by the dragon wars, find themselves suddenly at odds again after decades of peace: and a rebellion of epic proportions is brewing. Add to this interesting plot the fact that players are given the opportunity to pick their role and which side they wish to play for, acting as everything from rebel saboteurs to party reconnoiters, and you will find a rare jewel of a game.
Taking no break following Transition Village, Funnel Productions released the first episode of “The Myth of the Seeker” today on www.creepylunyinn.com. Funnel’s latest project, the CLN website is home to an online radio drama that promises to give listeners a chance to take part in each episode by voting via Twitter for what they think should be in the upcoming broadcast.
Transition Village players will also get a nice Easter Egg if they follow the Sponsors link at CLN where they will find a certain recently revived character running a successful business.