redthumbnail.jpgARGN has been receiving an increasing amount of cryptic emails and/or packages, most likely as a result of the increased attention Alternate Reality Gaming has been getting lately. Most of the time, they’re simply spam or perhaps a hint that leads to someone’s stab at a work of interactive fiction, but every so often something will lead to a very worthwhile Alternate Reality Game. The trick is being able to sift through things (especially some of the emails…hmm, a Nigerian ARG??) to figure out what’s worth mentioning. So, without further adieu, submitted for your approval, as they say:

Yesterday morning, ARGN received a zip file (1.26 mb) of what looked like 7 colorful desktop wallpapers from someone calling themselves Your Friend (historyneverdies at Along with coded info along the top and bottom, they all seem to be pointing at a game that will start up in Winter 2005. Subsequent emails to the above address have yielded an additional image. Players have made progress in decoding things, and it seems the lower right characters all decode to the names of characters that were featured in Project Gateway, an ARG we reported on last September. So, it looks like we’re in for a sequel coming this winter. Of course, is that winter in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere??

todothumb.jpgAs if that wasn’t enough fun for one week, ARGN received a package just this morning. It was simply a To Do list, dated April 7, that listing such errands as going to the grocer, dry cleaner, and submitting an ad to the NY Post (see a larger version of the note by clicking the image at right). Apprently, the NY Post advertisement led to a rather extensive blog by an Alesha Periwinkle, whose fiancee has disappeared. If you look closely, you’ll see that all of the photos on the blog have been “deleted for reasons of national security.”

Quite notably, players have already received in-game phonecalls and text messages. Looks like a pretty promising (indie?) ARG is shaping up with this one.

desktops discussion at unfiction
ne1seenjames discussion at unfiction

Alternate Reality Gaming was the subject of a feature article in the May 2005 edition of PC Gamer Magazine in the UK. For those of you without access to the magazine, you can find some scans of the article (along with more comments by the author) over at the unfiction forums.