Tag: japan

Media Factory Produces Branded Alternate Reality Gaming Card Game

Case Closed game items名探偵 コナン, better known as Detective Conan or Case Closed in the English-speaking world, is a popular Japanese media franchise. The original manga is currently over 60 volumes long and has spawned an anime series, movies, tv dramas, and video games. When I was teaching English in Japan, I would half-jokingly tell my students that Detective Conan is the reason I learned the word for murderer (人殺し) before I learned how to speak in the past tense. As of April 19, 2008, Media Factory released Cardtantei (Card Detective), adding “alternate reality game” to the list of Detective Conan associated properties

Cardtantei is a collectible trading card game that functions similar to Mind Candy’s Perplex City. Players can purchase packs of cards that contain puzzles ranging in difficulty from easy (5 Detective Points) to hard (30 Detective Points). Going to the Cardtantei homepage linked via semacode on many cards allows you to gain Detective Points by solving the puzzle with the unique identification number scratched off the top of the card. Many of the puzzles are similar to those shown on the Japanese puzzle game show IQ Suppli or in the video game Professor Layton and the Curious Village.

As in Perplex City, however, the cards hide a larger mystery. Upon registering for the site, the player begins to receive emails intimating there is more to the cards than the individual puzzles. Certain cards have portions of a larger picture on the back of the card. Assembling the cards to reveal the larger images provide clues to larger scenarios that draw the player deeper into the mystery. According to kwsk, the webmaster at ARGFan, ARGNet’s Japanese counterpart, following the clues sent via email and inputting puzzle solves leads to additional puzzles, phone numbers with automated voice messages and different websites helping the player uncover crimes that can only be solved by careful observation and investigation. The interaction is fully automated, so players can start at any time as long as they have a few cards and a rudimentary knowledge of Japanese. Detective Conan tells the story of a young detective who solves mysteries, so the brand extension is a good fit. And while the game’s puzzles are relatively simplistic, the easier puzzles allow ambitious players to play through the entire experience on their own.

Kwsk informed me that the game was viewed as a big success in Japan. Media Factory showcased the game with a tutorial event at the World Hobby Fair on July 12-13 of this year, and hinted at the existence of a second season of gameplay with a new edition.

Click Here for ARGFan’s coverage of the Detective Conan ARG or to purchase the cards.

Special thanks to kwsk at ARGFan for his help with this article.

The Lost Ring: Taking the Blindfold Off

hiddin_msg.jpgIt’s been three days since Find the Lost Ring launched with a fanfare of posters and yarn. Since that time, players and puppetmasters alike have been busily fulfilling the prophetic messages written on vintage Olympic postcards. The game traces a story fraught with mystery and intrigue across the globe in so many languages, you’ll be glad you studied Esperanto in university. You did study Esperanto, didn’t you?

If you’ve been reading ARGNet recently, you might be able to guess one of the developers behind the curtain. However, it’s now official. According to the Lost Ring development team,

The Lost Ring is a global alternate reality adventure created in partnership between McDonald’s, AKQA and Jane McGonigal. Designed in collaboration with the IOC, The Lost Ring invites players from across the globe to join forces online and in the real world, as they investigate forgotten mysteries and urban legends of the ancient games. The Lost Ring recognizes McDonald’s historic sponsorship of the Olympic Games, and brings the spirit of the Games to people around the world.

Jane McGonigal adds that she is “so thrilled to be collaborating with these organizations to create what we hope will be the most global ARG, ever. This is really a dream project for me – we are bringing together the two kinds of games, ARGs and the Olympics, that have the power to engage and unite people all over the world.” So far, the game is succeeding admirably, with characters interacting with players in English, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Esperanto.

If your curiosity is piqued, a brief review of what’s happened so far is waiting for you after the jump.

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