maddisonatkinsSecond chances are hard to come by. But Jeromy Barber’s media design company 12th Street House decided to give his audience a second chance to save the characters Maddison Atkins and Adam Wilmott from their grisly deaths with the launch of Maddison Atkins 2.0, a reboot of the alternate reality game Maddison Atkins 1.0. Barber explained at ARGFest that he “tried to recreate the plot [of Maddison Atkins 1.0] so there are a lot of things that the players didn’t know but there are a lot of overarching story [elements] that are very similar.”

In April 2007, Maddison Atkins and Adam Wilmott were brutally murdered in the small town of Nacogdoches, Texas. Fifteen days prior to their grisly murders, Maddison received a pigeon with a note tied to its leg at her doorstep. Over two years later, many of the same players who watched Maddison and Adam die returned with equal parts anticipation and trepidation to witness five pigeons delivered to the house of one Ms. Maddison Atkins. The story, which played out over forty-nine YouTube videos and nearly as many video responses, focused on Maddison and Adam’s efforts to trust a community of players attempting to help them while chasing down letters scattered across the globe, from Tucson, Arizona to Sydney, Australia. Indeed, one of the main “puzzles” of the gameplay was winning over its two main characters. As Barber unapologetically explains, “My two main characters are really stupid, and don’t know anything. But they’re very attractive…part of the game is cracking Maddison, getting to know this girl.”

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