Tag: Portland

ARGFest Hosts 10-Year Reunion for Bee Enthusiasts in Portland


Ten years ago, the website for Margaret’s House of Bees started acting strangely. Many of the site’s images were glitched beyond recognition, and nonsensical text covered up articles about the Napa Valley-based apiary.

While many of the people who gathered to troubleshoot a bee enthusiast’s website refer to themselves as “Beekeepers”, a passion for the cultivation of honey wasn’t the only reason over half a million people flocked to ilovebees.com over the next four months. I Love Bees was an alternate reality game that introduced Halo fans to the first-person shooter’s rich backstory through over a five-hour long audio drama released into the world through pay phone calls, blog posts, emails, and websites in bite-sized chunks.

Between Thursday July 31st and Saturday August 2nd, many of I Love Bees‘ creators and some of its most dedicated players will gather together to celebrate the anniversary in Portland for ARGFest, an annual conference, festival, and meetup that brings together the creators and fans of alternate reality games, transmedia storytelling projects, and serious games.

On Thursday July 31st, ARGFest is adding the IDEA Symposium, with a series of speakers focusing on the business of creating interactive entertainment and transmedia. Serial game designer Mike Selinker, whose recent projects include the narrative puzzle book Maze of Games and the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game will be headlining the day’s events. Joining him for the IDEA Symposium are indie game developers, platform creators, event producers, and experience designers behind everything from Cards Against Humanity’s game design reality show Tabletop Deathmatch to Disney’s The Optimist, a historical fiction retrospective of Disney Parks’ history.

The I Love Bees Anniversary festivities start on Friday August 1st with an interview between ARGNet founder Steve Peters and Jordan Weisman, the chief creative for the alternate reality game, and more recently creator of Shadowrun Returns and Golem Arcana. Friday’s Speakers will also provide a closer look at the state of transmedia in Europe, the climate change serious game Future Coast, and the transmedia thriller Phrenic, guided by Glitchhikers creator Lucas Johnson as Grand Inquisitor, charged with kicking off the Q&A sessions by asking panelists challenging questions. The evening’s keynote will be followed with a performance by The Doubleclicks, who recently raised over $80,000 on Kickstarter to release an album of songs about dinosaurs, tabletop games, and binge-watching Netflix.

The main Beekeeper reunion will take place on Saturday August 2nd, with panels reflecting on the game from players, as well as I Love Bees creators Elan Lee, Sean Stewart, and Kristen Rutherford. The festivities will conclude with FestQuest, a puzzle hunt designed to show attendees the city of Portland in a different light before leading them to the final mystery location to close out the evening. This year’s hunt was created by Puzzled Pint.

Tickets for the full three days of ARGFest are available for $200 through July 2, although attendees are able to purchase tickets for select events at a discounted rate. Check out the ARGFest 2014 website for the full list of speakers, conference schedule, or to register.

Bank Run: Climbing the Corporate Ladder Can Be Fatal

bankrunSilkTricky, a Portland-based digital agency, will preview Bank Run: Someone Has to Pay, their soon-to-be-released interactive movie and iPhone game app, on Tuesday, February 16, at The Living Room Theaters in Portland, OR at 7:00 pm and 8:15 pm. In the completely live-action Bank Run experience, you control the choices and actions of Evan Sharpe, a collared-shirt office cog who stumbles into a deadly conspiracy. Ski-masked guys will come at you with unnecessary force–are you sharp enough to evade death? Hot babes may try to influence you–do you trust them? Will you and Evan make it out alive?

Bank Run will be presented in two parts. The first part is a choose-your-own-adventure video experience, which will be available for free online. The iPhone app continues the plot and features additional games–such as a third-person shooter–that, when beaten, unlock further scenes. The iPhone games can be played in infinite arcade mode, available to replay without going through the narrative experience.

Bank Run is inspired by the popularity of SilkTricky’s 2008 interactive zombie movie, The Outbreak. Puppeting the protagonist James, The Outbreak progresses in short chapters, and the transitions from scene to scene require viewers to make choices. With a horrifying line of zombies amassing in the yard outside, I had to make some hard choices. In the process, I learned something about myself: I am really ill-prepared for the coming zombocalypse.

Bank Run goes way beyond The Outbreak by introducing the iPhone app to the overall narrative experience. With the game/movie release coming very soon, we’ll soon see how the two components come together. But, the interactivity already inscribed in The Outbreak seems a pretty good preview of what’s to come.

Bank Run previews at The Living Room Theaters (341 SW 10th Ave., Portland, OR) will include Q&As with the Director and Producer of the project. Space is limited, so RSVP through Bank Run‘s Facebook Fan Page, or via e-mail to [email protected].