Tag: jj abrams (page 2 of 3)

Okay, we get it! Fringe has an ARG!

Image from the Fringe TV show

The much ballyhooed J.J. Abrams television series Fringe kicked off earlier this week, and with it came an update to a web site connected to the show, which in turn prompted quite a few of you to send in game tips about the apparent alternate reality game. We’ve heard you loud and clear, which may please The Powers That Be behind the game, since a viral campaign is only as good as the word of mouth advertising it generates. So, what’s the deal with this Massive Dynamic corporation anyway? And what does it have to do with FBI agents, six-fingered hand prints and something called The Pattern?

Honestly, there’s no clear answer to the variety of connections between the web site, which is assumed to be the trailhead into the game, and the broadcast of the pilot episode of the hotly anticipated TV show. Perhaps it’s best to look at a chronology of events before jumping into what might just be a blockbuster ARG.

On June 17, Jenna Wortham at the utterly fantastic Underwire blog at wired.com revealed that a rough cut of the show’s pilot had made its way onto the BitTorrent file sharing network. In the show, it’s obvious that Massive Dynamic will be a focus of the story.

Later in the month of June, a puzzle of sorts showed up at the official show web site, as documented by deletia at the Unfiction forums. Combined with subtle-but-mysterious messages in the show’s trailers, and given that other Abrams productions (such as Lost and Cloverfield) have used the Internet as a hype promotion mechanism in the past, ARG players felt that familiar twinge of curiosity.

In July, animated advertisements started showing up on television, and the Massive Dynamic web site went live with an ‘under contruction’ page featuring the MD logo and the message: “Updating Our Site. Updating Your Life.”

On August 4, a comic was handed out at ComicCon that introduced “The Pattern, which was also a big part of the leaked pilot. Attendees of the conference were also invited to “find the pattern’, a scavenger hunt that began at the web site explortheimpossibilities.com (which had been discovered in July and now redirects to Hadley Media) and was documented by PostLarval at the Unfiction forums.

This takes us to September 9, when the series premiered in North America. We have details on what’s happened since then after the jump, and here’s a spoiler: there’s an employee login to be cracked.

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UPDATE: Dharma Wants You, but not quite yet

Dharma Wants You logoAs soon as the Octagon Global Recruiting ad flashed across the television screen during the final commercial break of the season four finale of Lost, fans were on their computers, headed towards the advertised web site. It wasn’t more than a few moments before the world figured out that something big was bound to happen at Comic-Con 2008, which is happening right now in San Diego. True to their word, the Dharma Initiative is actively recruiting new members for its global corporation, and quite a few lucky attendees have had the chance to take the test to become part of the Dharma team. For those unable to attend, a sister web site is all we get for now, but rumors swirl that claim that the new Lost ARG is scheduled to make a move to the mainstream starting tomorrow.

The events at Comic-Con were disclosed through an email sent out to those who submitted their emails to the Octagon Global Recruiting (OGR) web site, which also appears at the site itself. One thing to note here — if you view the source of the web page version, an interesting message from someone calling themselves RuckusGuy shows up — we won’t spoil it for you, but it involves Bluetooth, which we’ll get to later.

Reports about the events in San Diego are still coming in, but according to the fine folks at Lostpedia, the team from Dharma have Australian accents and are vehement as to their purpose at the Con — a member of the Lostpedia forums claims to have overheard one of the recruiters saying, “Yes. We’re an actual REAL organization currently trying to recruit new members,” to a curious onlooker. The test itself takes about five minutes, and involves a few oddball questions as well as some interesting images shown on audio/visual equipment. To make sure everyone at the Con was aware of the campaign, Dharma ‘sponsored’ Saturday’s panel discussion at which executive producers Cartlon Cuse and Damon Lindelof were joined by actor Matthew Fox to answer questions about the hit television series. However, the sponsorship was quickly pulled when a test applicant — most likely a paid actor — interrupted the discussion to show a new video featuring Dr. Marvin Candle, aka

Our own Celina Beach has been on the scene at Comic-Con all weekend, and we expect her reports to start trickling in sometime today or tomorrow. Hopefully, she has a chance today to take the Dharma test — she’s on a waiting list — and can tell us about her experiences. That Bluetooth reference we hinted at earlier? Well, there’s a video floating around showing what happened when someone enabled their device within proximity of the Dharma area. As for the next stage of the game, we’re optimistic about new content tomorrow, so watch those web sites!

Dharma Needs A Few Gullible Men (and Women)

octagon.jpgIt should be no surprise to anyone who has been following the show LOST that there would be something special during the season finale. Fans were not disappointed. Close to the end of the episode, a mysterious commercial branded with “Paid for by ABC” aired, advertising a recruiting event for a company called Octagon Global Recruiting. They are looking for A LOT of “volunteers to assist in a range of unpaid positions” – a scrolling list displays diverse opportunities and skills ranging from Physicists, Mathematicians, and Botanical Researchers, to Drivers, Janitors, and Ex-Military. This recruiting event will be taking place in San Diego, July 24-27… wait, what’s that, you say? Those dates seem familiar? They should – they’re the same dates as the San Diego Comic Con.

The website for Octagon Global Recruiting doesn’t currently display much other than a streaming version of the aforementioned commercial. However, there is one other nugget of information to be found, tying Octagon Global to the Dharma Initiative. The two organizations are collaborating and recruiting volunteers willing to “contribute to an important new research project.” Interested? Just enter your email to register. So far, no reports have surfaced regarding contact from Octagon, but stay tuned.

Discussion has already started at Unfiction andThe Fuselage

Have you caught the Abrams virus yet?

trekicon.JPGProducer/Director JJ Abrams is on a viral rampage this year, it seems. Hot on the tail of Cloverfield’s big screen debute, was the premiere of the initial teaser trailer for the 11th installment in the Star Trek film franchise. Reportedly, the movie will carry only the name “Star Trek”, as it returns to the academy days of our beloved Enterprise crew. The teaser can be seen on the official website. But as beautiful as it is, that is not the reason for this article.

If you navigate to the official website, scroll down to the “Under Construction” label. See the little red dot beside it? Click it. Yes, you’ve just found another viral website. JJ is known for tying common threads between his creative productions – his unique drink Slusho! being the most prominent example. Slusho has made cameo appearances in Alias, Heroes, and Kenan and Kel. But recently he’s taken a liking to extending his works beyond their base medium, into the internet world, and the real world.

If you’re familiar with the TV show Lost (also an Abrams production), there was a very well received extended reality called The Lost Experience which ran along the TV show. Currently leading up to the North American airing of season 4 is another campaign called Find 815. You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of the viral campaign surrounding the months leading up to the premiere of Cloverfield (which also, by the way, has a backstory around the development of the Slusho drink and its secret ingredient Seabed’s Nectar).

So the question is, will Abrams be providing another extended experience or alternate reality game related to the Star Trek franchise leading up to the movie’s release? Or will this turn out just to be another typical viral marketing campaign? Personally, I would love to see a Slusho! cameo appearance in the movie. Imagine: Kirk and Spock order a Slusho from a bar at the Academy. And Guinan serves it to them.

At the very least, we have a new website – a relatively covert website, which seems to be showing ‘streaming video’ from the construction site of the Enterprise NCC-1701. What will the days ahead reveal to us? We have nearly a whole year to find out. JJ knows how to bait and taunt his target market, so expect a lot of mystery and viral advertising.

Live long, and drink Slusho.

Official website
NCC-1701.com Trailhead
Discussion at Unfiction
Resource wiki

Cloverfield is Out — What Now?

Editor’s Note: This article is spoiler-free, for those who haven’t see the movie yet. However, outgoing links may contain spoiler information.

cloverfield_poster.jpgWho was to know that when J.J. Abrams launched the first trailer for what we now know as Cloverfield that the buzz surrounding the movie would be so powerful that the famous Mann Chinese Theater in Los Angeles would have a special midnight showing of the film? Well, we won’t say “told you so!” — in fact, we didn’t tell you much, except that there were curious web sites to be found in July of last year, and that the Ethan Haas viral web site was officially unconnected to the 1-18-08 mystery. Thankfully, there are many resources out there for fans of the movie to get caught up on what’s happened in the web campaign so far, in case (like me) you decide that today is the day you finally take a look at some of this stuff.

I began this morning by taking a look through the Cloverfield forum section at Unfiction. I thanked my lucky stars when I came across this post by TheRabbit, which summarizes the story so far, chronologically, and links to all of the relevant sites. It’s easy to follow and helps to connect some of the dots that Abrams and his crew have left along the trail. Essentially, the experience seems to be a tale of the effect of environmental misdoings, which may or may not be connected to a secret ingredient in a popular beverage. I highly recommend reading the post, which looks to be a work in progress.

From there, I surfed over to cloverfieldclues.com which has been an ongoing archive of news regarding the movie and the online experience. The owner of the site, Dennis Acevedo, was recently interviewed on the NPR show “All Things Considered” as part of a feature on the movie and the buzz that was built along the way — our own Sean C. Stacey was also interviewed, but his contribution never made it to the final edit. The Cloverfield Clues web site offers readers a chance to view archives of the in-game web sites as well, which was handy to see today, as many of the sites are “under construction” after the U.S. release of the film.

Onward I went, to the Cloverfield wiki at Despoiler, which is another great source of information and archived items. Wikis seem to be the easiest way to compile info into a trail, and this one is as comprehensive as one would hope. User contributions help to keep facts organized, while discussion is relegated to tabbed Talk pages. The latest news page has documented the recent changes to the game’s web sites, and updates are ongoing.

So now that we’re all caught up, what now? Will the experience keep going, now that the movie is out? Will we see an extended reality that further explains events as they happened in the film? Or is this it for the Cloverfield web presence? While no one knows for sure — except Abrams and his creative team, of course — it seems to be a shame if all of this goes fades into the ether.

Comic-Con 2007

comics.jpgComic-Con 2007 has arrived, and our roving reporter Celina Beach is at the event, ready for the action to start. This year’s event includes attendees many alternate reality gaming fans will be keeping tabs on, including J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse of the hit TV show Lost. If you remember, it was this time last year when Rachel Blake, a character in The Lost Experience, confronted panel members about their involvement with the Hanso Foundation. We don’t expect the same sort of large-scale ARG event to take place with this year’s Lost, but you never know.

Abrams will be serving double duty at the Con, as he will also be discussing the upcoming movie Star Trek movie. However, there are rumblings across the blogosphere that he will shed a little light into the 1-18-08 mystery that began with a pre-roll movie trailer earlier this month.

With Celina blogging and Tweeting from the event, we will have up-to-the-minute coverage if any ARG-related news breaks through the course of the next few days, so bookmark ARGNet and check back regularly.

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