Finally, a chance to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a masked villain! At least, that’s what I thought when I received a personal invitation from the mysterious T.S. to join the Villain Training Program. Some clever sleuthing from the online community discovered the game’s website. The site features a villain’s silhouette artfully framing a YouTube video teaser for the project, indicating the experience will launch March 12th.
As villainy knows no borders, this grassroots alternate reality game promises an immersive global adventure involving both online and offline game elements. The story will also unfold through a digital graphic novel that will unlock over the course of the campaign. Players will have the opportunity to join T.S. in masked villainy or oppose him . . . which side will you be on?
Alternate reality gamers are used to helping out the hero-protagonist, but why not support the villain? According to the game’s creator, “[m]ost of us grew up reading super hero comics. But, in my opinion, the villains are the most interesting characters . . . [t]his experience will introduce participants to a villain they will actually be able to interact with.” How will players respond to this grassroots game’s villain? Will participants be “pawns in a worldwide game of chess” between the forces of good and the army of evil-doers? What is this mysterious Thanatos Project, and how will it play into the story?
The lines are already being drawn at the Unfiction forums. Join them, and stake your claim in the perennial battle between super-heroes and super-villains.
Wow, you really can’t let those library due dates slide. Imagine my surprise when I received not just one, but four overdue library notices from the Snow Town Library in Snow Town, Maine. I must have had snow on my mind when I took out The Snow Man by Hans Christian Andersen, Blizzard by George Stone, The Maine Woods by H.D. Thoreau, and Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck. Surely this is a mistake!
But at a fine of 2 cents per day for four overdue books (never mind the two cents the library has added for the expense of sending me each notice), I just can’t afford to let the fines go. So, I called the Snow Town Library to rectify the situation but was too intimidated by the voicemail greeting asking me to leave a message.
Terrified, I quickly hung up the phone. It’s been years, no decades, since I’ve interacted with anyone of the “school-marm” type, and I was having flashbacks. Searching around, I came upon the Snow Town Library website. There, Snow Town Librarian Ruthie Randolph seems to be ruling with an iron fist, keeping library patrons in line, and organizing the library’s book club. Her argyle sweater strikes terror in the heart.
Although there isn’t a great deal of information to go on, there’s just something fishy about this place, and it seems like the Snow Town Library might be the setting for a new alternate reality game just getting started. For information, check out the Snow Town Library website and sign the guestbook . . . if you dare!
Update 2/21: Since this article was published, participants have uncovered a great deal of new information about the Snow Town Library over at Unfiction.
ARGN recently recently broke a story regarding the emergence of the trailhead for Falling In Time. Apparently, this was not only a new game, but the second coming of one of the first group of widely played g-roots games, entitled Project Gateway. While allusions to the past game and its characters have already been made through various sites hidden within the trailhead, it remains to be seen whether or not the game will pick up where the first game left off, or whether the game will only use the first game as a remnant spark to an entirely new fire. While the trail is just heating up, there is an expected real-life encounter to take place at Providence College, in Rhode Island, this Saturday (September 24). Regardless of what turns up, this game looks promising, and you can count on ARGN to keep you up to date as the game unfolds.
A recent post on the Unfiction forums indicates the start of a new ARG called Rookery Tower.
In 1851, conjoined twins, Eric and Richard, were born to a couple who lived on Rookery Hill. Tragedy after tragedy followed, leading to an apparent climax sometime in the late 1800s, details of which are yet to be discovered. Now in 2005, Layla Hardesty has moved into Rookery Tower and is encountering paranormal experiences ranging from a wandering dishpan to eerie knocks to strange messages appearing in her blog. The paranormal investigation firm called to work on the case is also encountering corruption on their web page. Players are attempting to help Layla and Morgan Paranormal find out the story behind Rookery Tower and the apparent haunting by the twins.
From the “Something May Be Going On Here” file:
Out of the numerous, shall we say, interesting emails ARGN received this week came the following:
“The residents of “3rd” live along side us, and watch our every move but also keep their distance. The populous of “3rd” are there to protect us and watch over our interests. Occasionally holes (or leaks) are found in the boundary between dimensions and sometimes “3rd” is seen by us, but normally mistaken as paranormal activity.
The 5th dimension is a dangerous place, and houses the demons and evils in our lives. 5th is usually safely contained, however some problems are occurring and holes are appearing.
Time is limited, and the residents of our secret neighbour need our help.
PROVE YOUR WORTH.”
Seems there’s lots of stuff simmering right now in the ARG world. The problem is, nothing seems to be quite breaking the surface yet. While some point to major mainstream projects, there are numerous instances of grassroots efforts struggling to launch and get attention.
Perplex City seems to be in its final stages of development, as well as getting a good amount of press. No hint yet on when the official launch will be, but a recent email and video indicate that it’s got to be getting close. Meanwhile, players are still waiting and watching for the announced Still Life Extended Reality Game to show further signs of life.
On the rumor front, there are reports cropping up about strange sightings of graffiti, posters and television bumpers all with the same slogan in Latin: “Omnium Finis Imminet,” which loosely translates to “The end of all things is near.” Popular wisdom is that this is a viral effort leading into the upcoming Spielberg adaptation of War of the Worlds or some SciFi miniseries. The photos of the graffiti do seem to be photoshopped, and are better in quality and composition than your average amateur would take, so there does seem to be something going on here.
Meanwhile, there are quite a few grassroots projects attempting to gain momentum. These include Project Ashcroft, Synagoga, Entrapment, and Albrecht Wasser. As with any indie game, play at your own risk, as your mileage may vary.