Tag: halloween

SCVNGR Unleashes Zombie Horde Through Social Check-In Feature

Geo-locative check-in app SCVNGR has pulled off some crazy stunts in the past few months. Modernista used the app to lead Dexter fans to a kill room set up at Comic-Con in San Diego, and the New England Patriots used it to help nose tackle Vince Wilfork recover his Super Bowl XXXIX ring. But this time, SCVNGR has gone too far: they’ve unleashed zombies.

Or at least, zombie badges. Just in time for Halloween, SCVNGR has infected ten SCVNGR players with a Zombie badge. Once infected, these hapless souls will be informed of their sad state, and are doomed to wander the streets, spreading the infection. The transmission vector? SCVNGR’s new social check-in feature, where players can earn points by bumping phones together. Normally, engaging in unprotected bumping lets players earn points, with the rewards increasing based on the size of the group. When a player bumps with a zombified SCVNGR user, all the users in the group become infected with the zombie badge.

What will you do to avoid joining the ranks of the living dead? Will you stock up on supplies at Sears’ zombie-themed sale, purchase a Faraday cage bag, or go off the grid entirely? Luckily, this is a limited engagement, so you only need to make plans to protect yourself for the next few weeks.┬áIf for some unknown reason you actually want to become a mindless zombie, email [email protected] with the subject line of “BRAINSSS!!” — the first ten to do so will be infected.

Player Review: Prototype 161 Mare Vitreum

Editor’s note: The following is a recap of the Prototype 161 event on October 31, 2008 in New York City. Originally brought to our attention via a lovely piece of glass swag, the game took players to the streets of NYC on the spookiest night of the year, and intrepid player Jim Babb covered the event for us. Thanks to Jim for his eye-witness account of what transpired.

This past Halloween night, I was member of a group of elite investigators that brought down an evil cult mastermind and his super genetic computer. Yep, a first for me, but just another night for Prototype 161. The event had an online pre-game that Prototype assured us was not necessary for the game and which I enjoyed. The pre-game even had a clue drops in five cities across the country.

At 7pm the event started in New York City’s Central Park when investigators were each handed a folded piece of paper, sealed with wax (a nice touch in my book). The first part of the night was a foot race around Central Park solving simple clues in order to build a map that would come in handy later when we moved over to Roosevelt Island. For those of you that have never been, Roosevelt island is accessible by means of a Tramway and was also the home of New York’s abandoned mental institutions. The Tramway offers an excellent view of the city and was my favorite part of the night — I am glad that the Puppet Masters included this in the game. Roosevelt island offered an excellent backdrop for the rest of the night, because of its size, roughly 0.3 square miles. However, despite the amazing setting of the game the night quickly hit some snags.

We were met on the island by a “professor” giving a lecture on the occult at the local youth center. The youth center would become our home base for the rest of the evening and into the morning, which was decent enough until the soda machine ran out. Most, if not all, of the teams became stuck on the first puzzle (my own team was out of commission for 2 hours). The puzzles were difficult and fun if not entirely related to the premise of the event. One of the major problems I had with the game was after the first clue was finally solved: it provided an answer with which we didn’t know what to do. We were supposed to be looking for a six-letter word, but there were not hints to this effect.

Finally, my team got back on track as we split up to get the rest of the clues. The island was used to full advantage by the PMs. They had us running up and down the area, from a Chinese restaurant to get puzzle containing fortune cookie, to a garden that was totally creepy and dark at night. I am pretty sure that the drunk guys outside the garden were out-of-game, but nevertheless they provided a nice atmospheric element. Other snags included one of the puzzles being vandalized (pumpkins smashed), restaurants used in-game that closed because it was too late, and the police breaking up the big groups of people.

However, my team was determined not to give up, but we were far too frustrated and tired to put in the needed effort to finish with a bang. We all received text messages informing us to stop what we were doing and see the finale. We had lost, but everyone did get to see the end acted out. The problem here was that the finale only made sense to those that had played the online pre-game, but was interesting enough even if a little anti-climatic.

I was excited to try my hand at an alternate reality game and I thought Prototype 161 would provide a good crash course in the genre, and while it did provide me with a feel of ARGs I wish it had gone a little smoother.

UPDATE: Prototype161 vs. Mare Vitreum, Live in NYC

nocandyforyou.jpgAttention New Yorkers! You’re going to have to tell the kiddies trick-or-treating is canceled this year. Something much more interesting is happening this Halloween in New York City. Prototype161 is planning a live scavenger hunt game on October 31st called Mare Vitreum.

Mare Vitreum is a dangerous doomsday cult that has been recruiting its members by sending out etched pieces of glass in the mail. In response, prototype161 wants agents to infiltrate the cult and foil its Hallow’s Eve plans in New York City.

If past events are any indication, this is something that is not to be missed. Last summer’s event had participants scouring the city looking for clues, solving puzzles and interacting with in-game characters. Some of the live interaction included being kidnapped by a van full of masked men and saving a tied-up damsel from inside a locked theatre.

The event starts at 7pm at a yet undisclosed location. Many of the previous events have run late into the night or even the next morning, so bring along some caffeinated gum and money for snacks. The registration fee is $40, although a 50% off coupon is available for the first two people to call the ARGNet voicemail (leave us your email address). So get yourself registered, bribe the kids to skip trick-or-treating (who needs all that cavity-causing candy anyway?) and get ready for a very ARGish Halloween!

Why So Serious, Halloween Edition

whysohalloween.jpgAt the stroke of midnight (Eastern time, GMT -4) on Halloween, the newest chapter in 42 Entertainment‘s alternate reality game promoting the release of the movie “The Dark Knight” launched. Over the past few weeks, the website WhySoSerious.com depicted a slowly rotting Halloween pumpkin with a diminishing candle.

Just minutes ago, as the candle burnt out, the page changed to show 49 small pieces of paper on a worktable. Each piece links to a puzzle involving a US city. A note from the Joker says,

“Hey, clowns! Ready to do what you’re told? First, don’t start before daylight. With a police force this corrupt, it’s not safe to be out at night, and anyway, you won’t be able to see the things you want to find.

Follow all of my directions to the letter and send photos of what you find.

I’ll make it worth your while, I promise – for what that’s worth…

The campaign to promote the new Batman movie started in May with a handful of Joker playing cards discovered in a California comic book store, and led to a massive email campaign to reveal the new face of the Joker. Later in July, strange dollar bills were distributed at Comic-Con that led 140 lucky participants on a scavenger hunt throughout the city of San Diego. Now, it appears the scavenger hunt has expanded on a national scale as participants are encouraged to solve a series of puzzles and send in photographs.

Check back at ARGNet for updates as the story develops.

Click Here for the discussion at UnFiction.
Click Here for ARGNet columnist Geoff May’s wiki for the Dark Knight ARG.