The fifth season of Supernatural is coming to the UK this February. To raise awareness for the show’s return, LIVING launched Fight the Apocalypse, an alternate reality game running from today until March 3rd. UK and Eire residents 18 years or over can join the game by registering at LuciferisComing.com and following the @fightapocalypse twitter account. The player who collects the highest number of points over the course of the game will win a flight to Vancouver to visit the set of Supernatural, along with the chance to appear in the show.
In order to play, residents of the UK or Eire can follow a series of clues delivered via the game’s Clue Portal or through videos by the angel Castiel (Misha Collins) that lead to Enochian Sigils scattered online and across the country. By taking pictures of the sigils and sending them via MMS or email, players can help Sam and Dean Winchester stay hidden from Lucifer. The clue to the first sigil notes:
In the heart of London there is a Victorian street of booksellers. Here you will find an esoteric bookshop, established in 1894, specialising in Mysticism, Mind, Body and Spirit. Find a Sigil here and even have your Tarot read while you’re there.
In addition to hunting the Enochian Sigils, players can join armies of fellow players and create alliances through Facebook or their mobile devices. Additional clues and challenges will be released on the game’s twitter account.
While the main focus of the game appears to be hunting down sigils, Castiel’s videos provide an opportunity to extend the story. And since the game asks players to “look out for new ways to score points as the game goes on,” there may be much more to this experience.
Access to the Lucifer is Coming website is restricted to UK and Eire residents.
Pity Tanya Mitchel: she’s just a nice girl with a LiveJournal, a job at a bank, and a wacky sister. The last of these happens to have disappeared, leaving a cipher-strewn trail and mysterious plea for her sister to save her by finding Dean Winchester (who appears to be the same Dean Winchester from CW’s Supernatural), and poor Tanya is utterly distraught about the whole thing. So, like any self-respecting character in an alternate reality game, she has turned to the wisdom of the internet to help her out.
A tip sent to Unfiction owner SpaceBass last Friday, containing a link to Tanya’s blog (Essentially Invisible), set players on the trail of what is beginning to look like a disjointed indulgence in ARG cliches. Between Tanya claiming that she found her own blog by accident and the appearance of ciphers with no plot-based justification for their placement, this looks likely to be the type of game that makes community veterans roll their eyes.
However, the game’s limited scope provides an easy opportunity for overview. During a discussion about the difficulty of finding regular coverage of the ARG world that is geared to people outside the community with game reviewer par excellence Chris Dahlen (one of the few journalists to tackle reviewing an ARG — Perplex City — in the context of mainstream gaming), Chris expressed a desire for regular sports-page-like coverage of running ARGs. He wanted to see an account of a game’s highs and lows that would be accessible to people who are internet literate but don’t regularly play ARGs.
I’m far too lazy to attempt such an ambitious project for a large-scale game, but Essentially Invisible provides an example of limited enough scope that I’m willing to give it a try. Please mentally read the following in your best sportscaster voice.