Tag: Halo 2

IGDA San Francisco Presents: I Love Bees, 4orty2wo

dvdbees.jpgOn April 26th, the International Game Developers Association will present “THINKING OUTSIDE THE (x)BOX (or “HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE BEES”) at 7:00 PM at the Metreon’s Action Theater in San Francisco (101 4th Street @ Mission).

Featured speakers will be Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart and Jim Stewartson of 4orty2wo Entertainment, the team behind the Alternate Reality Game “I Love Bees.”

4orty2wo’s Alternate Reality Game became a phenomenon last year, sending thousands of players running to payphones around the world. The innovative Halo 2 prequel involving a seemingly innocent website of a Napa Valley beekeeper and a shipwrecked AI from the future received a Game Developers Choice Award for Innovation, was featured at GDC’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop, and became the latest and most successful example of the nascent Alternate Reality Games (ARG) genre.

But what place do ARGs have in the world (and future) of video games? What is their relation to one another? Are there lessons to be learned from ARG production that can impact the way video games are made?

Join Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, and Jim Stewartson of 4orty2wo Entertainment as they examine I Love Bees to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of ARGs, their intersection with traditional video games, and the future of this exciting new form of digital play.

This event is free and open to the public. For more info: www.igda.org/sf

Halo 2’s “I Love Bees” Alternate Reality Game

ilbreview.jpgThe story of I Love Bees proved to be slightly confusing at times, but the gist of it is this: Beekeeper Dana had a site which was attacked by some sort of virus; a countdown was placed on the site which spawned endless hours of speculation as to what the hell “System Peril Distributed Reflex” represented. Besides looking at the odd snippet of information through corrupted pictures and jarbled text, all the players could do was wait on tenterhooks until July 27th, on which “Network Throttling would erode…”

Sure enough, come noon July 27th, ilovebees.com is updated. Someone was mad at Dana and posted pictures of her all over the site; Dana freaked out and decided to flee the country.

The next major plot advancement came August 10th, when “the medium has metastasized”. A lot of information was posted on the site- the most important being GPS Coordinates. 220 were posted in total, all of which pointed to locations the length and breadth of the United States.

On August 17th, to the dismay of some, the coordinates changed- now there were 210 in total. However, there were now specific times telling people when to be at a particular coordinate- which proved to quell a lot of confusion. The importance of being at the “axons” was further emphasized when Dana added to the excitement by implying on her blog that we really should get to them! All players could do was kill time, and many found the night of August 23 to be a sleepless one.

So what happened when the axons (pre-determined payphones in large cities) went hot?

Continue reading

Halo2 ILoveBees Game Ends With a Bang

dvdbees.jpgNovember 4th brought the final chapter to the 16-week Alternate Reality Game that became known as I Love Bees. A promotional game for Bungie’s eagerly anticipated game Halo2, Ilovebees caught the attention of thousands of gamers and media alike over the past few months. The journey culminated on November 4th, with a live event in four cities attended by hundreds of players (San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Austin). At this event, referred to in-game as a Combat Training Exercise, players got an exclusive chance to play Halo2 before its release on November 9th, and received a commemorative DVD and Ilovebees lanyard. What’s more, the lucky players in San Francisco got a chance to meet some of the Ilovebees Puppetmasters.

Ilovebees was developed by a team headed by Elan Lee and Sean Stewart, who headed up the first real Alternate Reality Game, The Beast, in 2001. Since then, they teamed up to form 4orty2wo Entertainment, and began production of Ilovebees in February. Ilovebees, which launched on July 16th, told the story of an A.I. from the future named Melissa who crash landed on a website server here in 2004. syringe.jpgOver the 16 weeks of the game, players completed a series of web-based puzzles and realworld challenges to reveal a compelling story that formed a prequel to Halo2, following its characters through the weeks leading up to the invasion of Earth by an evil race of aliens known as the Covenant. The story was revealed in over 6 hours of audio drama using some of the best voice talent and post-production in Hollywood.

Ilovebees broke new ground in its innovative use of real world distributed puzzles, stellar writing and sheer numbers of players. At it’s culmination, the ilovebees site received as many as 500,00 unique visitors per day, making it by far the most followed Alternate Reality Game to date.

A post-game chat is scheduled with the Ilovebees Puppetmasters on November 7th at 2:00 pm Pacific Standard Time. You can have a chance to ask questions and get the inside scoop on what went on behind the game by stopping by #apocalypso on irc.chat-solutions.org (browser based access).

Ilovebees Players Get Access to Probable Halo2 Preview

bee2.jpgPlayers of Ilovebees yesterday were given what looks like a chance to preview Halo2 Multiplayer 5 days before it’s officially released. In a series of dramatic events that led to the “death” of one of the beloved AI characters in the game, players 17 and older earned the right to attend a special “training exercise utilizing squad-oriented combat simulation LIVEware.”

This event is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 4, from 18:00 – 21:00 Pacific time at the following coordinates:

40.743071 -073.976763 (New York City)
42.040240 -088.035197 (Chicago)
30.266632 -097.744710 (Austin)
37.784568 -122.404169 (San Francisco)

So, after three months, it looks like Halo2 fans are finally being given what they’ve been yearning for: a chance to preview Halo2. In addition to the chance to play the game, many Beekeepers are looking forward to the chance to get to meet each other in person, as many have only interacted with each other on line. Some players have announced that they will be driving as much as 8 hours to take part.

The ARG seems to be winding down, but it still remains to be seen how much fun the PMs have in store for us. Stay tuned.

Ilovebees: The Beast is Back?

danathumb.jpgWhat began as a mysterious Fedex package of honey, has become one of the most intriguing and highly anticipated (for some) events on the ‘net in quite a while. At first, when ARGN received the honey (filled with letters that spelled I LOVE BEES, leading to ilovebees.com) a little over a week ago, we thought it was a new grassroots ARG starting up, but when it was discovered that the ilovebees.com address made an appearance in the recent Halo 2 trailer, we realized this may be much bigger than originally anticipated.

We were right. Since the trailer hit the web on Friday, the entire cyberscape is abuzz, trying to figure out what’s going on. The story has been picked up on computer gaming sites such as IGN, GameSpot, and even Slashdot. Thousands of posts on innumerable boards are clamoring to figure out what is going on.

What is confounding some is exciting others who recognize this as a new Alternate Reality Game. Those in the know are even proclaiming this to be the followup to the ARG that started it all: The Beast, which was a promotional game for Spielberg’s film A.I. back in 2001. The Beast spawned Cloudmakers, an online smart mob of over 7000 who rabidly followed, solved, and obsessed over who killed Evan Chan. The Beast was a viral promotion like no other, and was an amazing event for those who were involved.

So, what is going on here with ilovebees.com? How does it relate to the Halo 2 universe?? Well, ilovebees.com is an amateurish website for Margaret’s Honey that’s being hacked by someone…..or something. Margaret’s niece, Dana, is the webmaster, and the site points to her blog, where she is asking for help dealing with the virus or whatever it is that is screwing up her aunt’s site. Players have emailed her, and Dana has actually replied to some players personally, thanking them for their advice. Upon closer examination, it was discovered that the various images on the site were corrupted with text phrases, which when assembled correctly formed a rather bizarre narrative about a Queen and a Widow.

On July 27th, one of the mysterious countdowns on the site expired, resulting in an update with more hacking goodness, and scaring the crap out of Dana. It seems whatever is taking over her aunt’s site is now actually threatening her.

So, what does Halo 2 have to do with all of this? Well, a great Story So Far explains things pretty well, even though it is a lot of speculation at this point. [EDIT: The Guide is also a great place to start, as it’s a chronological narrative of what’s been going on, and is kept very up to date.]

The ARG community has done an absolutely amazing job so far, organizing information and using tools that were unavailable just a few years ago to create an information and dissemination system the likes of which have never been seen before. If they’re right, this is just the beginning of what is sure to be an amazing ride. Stay tuned.

Here are some links to get you on your way:

I Love Bees Guide
I Love Bees Wiki Guide
I Love Bees Trail
Bee Quicklinks
Moderated Blog

Here are some forums discussing I Love Bees:

IRC Chat:

Ilovebees.com Link to Halo 2 Release Confirmed

bee.jpgIt looks like ilovebees.com (aka SPiDeR) is definitely tied in with the upcoming Halo 2 release for XBox. Check out the trailer for the game being shown in theaters around the US:
Super Hi-Rez version (64mb) | Regular version

Watch the end. It’s there. So, we know there’s something major going on here, and know that there’s a countdown of sorts in progress. Watch for something big within a few days. With Microsoft and Bungie behind this, who knows how deep this rabbithole will go!

Unfiction Forums