Tag: payphones

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 erodeā€¦”

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?

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What is Project Gateway??

gateway.jpgA few mysterious websites have cropped up that are causing some ARG’ers to scratch their heads. Things seem rather game-like, but frankly it’s may just be a little early to be able to tell exactly what’s going on. We submit it here for your consideration (cue Rod Serling in the corner along with obligatory creepy music).

This site provides the trailhead, a literal gateway into a realm of clues and locked up cells. The page beckons: “CC32 Gateway – Insert Front Door Key To Continue,” and somehow this site has led to two others: Project Gateway and 32nd Notes. Beyond that, we really can’t tell you much, beyond the fact that a certain amount of caution is advised, due to every ingame site so far being hosted on a free webserver of some kind. As always, proceed at your own risk.

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phoneboxsmall.jpgIn Ilovebees news, players continue to strive for the 777 connected axons mark, having succeeded in answering 728 of the 777 needed phonecalls to proceed to the next step in the game, whatever that holds in store. Notably, the game’s first non-U.S. phone has been revealed in London, enabling British “Beekeepers” to get involved with this live interaction for the first time. With only 49 phonecalls left to go, we should find out what the next chapter in the ilovebees saga is within the next few days.

In the meantime, ARGN has set up a repository for all of the audio files found so far. It’s a great way to get quickly caught up on the major plot of the game, and you can access it here.


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Ilovebees Suddenly Seeking 777

axon hunter thumb.jpgIt’s been a trying week or so for the Ilovebees ARG. After having axons piled on top of more axons, the players are starting to feel a bit abused, and momentum seems to be waning. Although the folks behind the game are revealing some stellar content in the form of audio clips, the pacing overall is proving to be a challenge for even the most optimistic.

According to Dana’s latest blog entry, players are being encouraged to press on toward the 777 live axons mark. The problem is, the phones seem to be being answered less and less often, which is quite a contrast from two weeks ago when there were as many as 30-40 people at some phones. Sadly, at this rate, it may be weeks before we find out what happens when 777 axons go hot. Currently, we’re at 496 out of 777. That’s a lot of phones left to answer!

On the plus side, the story that’s being revealed continues to intrigue. A new snippet is released each time a codeset goes active, and players have assembled them into a narrative that reveals not only a confirmed tie-in with the Halo universe, but a tale of chatternet hackers, geek love, nefarious kidnappings and blackmail. ARGN has assembled a repository of the audio story so far, and will add more as it is revealed.

Finally, as a little off-topic diversion from the endless answering of phones, ARGN is sponsoring an Axon-Hunter Photoshop Contest. Only a couple days left to get your entries in.

Graphic Credit: jamesi

ILoveBees Breaks Into the “Real World”

The Berkeley Extreme TeamAugust 24, 2004. It all began at 6:07 am PDT. Payphones from coast to coast began to ring. A twelve-hour wave of carefully planned phone calls began to sweep the country, and Halo fans, Beekeepers, the Media and the just plain curious were there to try to intercept them.

This morning, we got to find out what was in store for those who were following the events of Dana and the rogue AI attacking her aunt’s website. While many were expecting Halo 2 demo disks, what they got instead was one of the largest, most complicated distributed interactions in ARG history. Hundreds of people around the country descended upon over 200 locales, working as a team to answer phone calls correctly, in order to unlock a series of audio clues.

Burbank Axon LocationWhile we don’t have the space here to go into the story itself (for that, check the links below), here’s how the whole thing worked: Players were presented with a web page that listed 30 blocks of seven GPS coordinates, which turned out to represent payphones around the country. Each location had a specific time attached, and each block of seven locations had a common password. As the phones started ringing at the exact corresponding time, players realized that they must respond correctly to the voice on the other end in order for something to happen. It was determined that players needed to provide the nickname for the AI that was calling them, plus the password listed for their location. If successful, the web-page immediately updated, indicating success. Two successful responses per group of seven then resulted in an audio file being unlocked. Players successfully unlocked 22 of 30 files the first day, with another chance to unlock the remaining ones every 24 hours. These audio files, when assembled, are revealing a fascinating story.

And this is only the beginning!

Forums and IRC channels broke all records today. The main chat room, #beekeepers, peaked at over 300 users at one point. In addition, the press is taking notice of what’s going on. Word is that G4TechTV’s Pulse will be airing a story about ilovebees this Friday, so stay tuned.

Here’s a video of one event in Georgia. (6.7 MB)

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Photo credits
Berkeley: Stitch
Burbank: MrBabyMan