When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout. –R.A.H.
Over fifty people gathered at Sutro Heights Park in San Francisco this past Sunday to practice the ancient sport of “Labyrinth Running” which, according to the recently-launched Alternate Reality Game, “Find the Lost Ring,” was lost in 393 A.D. when Theodoseus banned the Olympic Games. Find the Lost Ring is an ARG designed to promote the upcoming Olympic Summer Games in Beijing, China in August, and is sponsored by the McDonald’s Corporation. It officially launched on March 3, 2008, shortly after trailhead clue packages were received by various ARGonauts and media sites.
The ARG is conducted in several languages and has gained popularity all over the planet. It was reported that at least two other training events were taking place that day in other parts of the world, including in Brazil, which country holds one of the largest interested groups of players of this game that isn’t a game. It is scheduled to run through to the closing ceremonies of the Olympics on August 24, 2008.
Although the event was organized by two players, Tom Bullock (aka Ariock) and Lenore Henry (aka hmrpita), it was also acknowledged by the game, and an in-game character named Kai announced early that he would attend the practice run. Lead designer and avant-gamer Jane McGonigal also appeared at the event and offered to help organize and referee the training.
Recently, many players were alerted to a series of puzzles that were hidden in plain sight – puzzles that ultimately revealed a shiny new tool called Labyrinth. This tidy, no-nonsense program is maintained, designed, and implemented by the Karetao group.
Although the Labyrinth tool itself is straightforward and organizationally versatile, we thought we’d provide a couple of short tutorials for you. It seemed only natural to approach the Labyrinth launch puzzle itself, and use it as a means to display some of the basic features of the program.
Let’s get started, shall we?
We have a trailhead, found in a known puppetmaster’s personal website. The indication here, in a comment code, turns out to be a pointer to a sub-directory on the site named ‘thisisnotanarg.’ So, we’ll call it that!
We open the Labyrinth application, and use the project properties to set the name of our mini-puzzle: ‘This Is Not An ARG’.
Since this does not appear to be a story-based game, our plot elements aren’t going to be characters and locations; they’re going to be the individual pages we come across. Later on, it becomes apparent to us that the pages lead to one another, so for purposes of clarity with this tutorial, we’ll use the term ‘stage.’ We create a new element for the first stage.
The element is created and opened for us automatically.
But wait, there’s more!