An important and much hyped event in the Flynn Lives! ARG came to fruition May 6th–the public unveiling of Encom International’s online version of their 1981 arcade classic “Space Paranoids,” which debuted at San Diego’s Comic Con 2009 for the Flynn’s Arcade event.
As a prelude to its release, a special countdown teased the game’s release. Players who visited the countdown splash page were able to click and destroy Recognizers that appeared and hovered across the screen. It served merely as a timewaster, but if players had the patience to keep clicking and destroy 99 Recognizers, they received a badge on FlynnLives.com. By persisting further and destroying 999, they received another badge. Finally, when the countdown ended on May 6th, Encom published their much-anticipated Space Paranoids Online arcade game, just as Alan Bradley had announced.
Remember Skynet Research? On Friday the 13th the mysterious Terminator site went live, and users who had previously signed up for updates returned to find a fully functional website with company bios, contact information, testimonials and outreach efforts. There was also a robotic community page that detailed Skynet’s Enhancement Module 101, a product guaranteed to improve the functionality of any robot. Of course, being a proper ARGamer I requested a module with little hope of anything actually happening, but then the whispers started over on the Unfiction forums, where some members claimed they had actually gotten an Enhancement Module in the mail. Incredulous, I went about my business until today, when I found a small box in the mail from Skynet Research.
Tucked inside the box was the Enhancement Module in all its glory. While in all actuality it is just a piece of flickering plastic, I still found myself upset I didn’t have a robot to attach it to. The paperwork seemed to hint at the fact that Skynet would take over any robot that was “enhanced” and I dearly wanted to see the carnage that would follow from such a hostile takeover.
All Enhancement Modules aside, the accompanying paperwork included proof without a doubt that Skynet Research is an ARG for the Terminator: Salvation film that will hit theaters on May 22nd, a date the installation sheet reiterated for its readers. While the puppetmasters acknowledged that the module was a “Thank you” for playing along, they still encouraged players to take part in the ARG and submit user-created videos detailing their newly enhanced robots.
It’s not everyday we receive a package in the mail that lists its contents as “pencil pinwheel toy” so today must be a very special day indeed. The envelope, which originated in Maitland, Florida and was sent on January 9th, contained exactly what was described on the customs declaration — a home made pencil pinwheel. Inside the folds of the pinwheel were two pieces of paper, which we assume are part of a larger puzzle. And what is this larger puzzle, you may be asking? Well, it turns out that this is part of the Creepy Luny Inn Radio Adventure Show that we first told you about last week. Players at the Unfiction forums seem to be the target for the mailings, as members MrToasty, Sheep and ifihadahifi all received similar packages.
The game continues to move along, with a new countdown being discovered earlier today. Seems like as good a time as any to jump right in and book your stay at the Inn!
It’s not every day I get sent blood money, but today’s FedEx delivery contained that and a whole lot more. Included in the packet marked “evidence” was a USB drive with files of bank transfers and a recorded message, along with a map to “evidence drops” and some photos (pictures after the break). The evidence comes from an informant in Berlin, where it was recovered.
It all points to stoptheinternational.com, which is a promo site for the new movie The International starring Clive Owen. Owen is Chief Inspector Louis Salinger, tasked with tracking down evidence against The International Bank of Business and Credit, a large bank which appears to be a front for money laundering and other illegal shenanigans.
Entering the serial number for the $2 bill in the packet shows a trail that leads to guns in Africa, then shows the bill’s current location. Urp. It’s a nice touch even if it’s easy to explain. Exploring further reveals another site, www.theibbc.com, for the bank being investigated. Beyond some boring photos and a hard to read typeface, there doesn’t seem to be much there.
However, stoptheinternational.com promises some continuing interaction via weekly updates and live events. The informant who hid the recovered packet of info has secreted other stashes in New York, Los Angeles, London and Berlin. Inspector Salinger is recruiting agents to help him find these stashes and analyze their contents. The first event is November 19th in Los Angeles. Check out the “Find the Evidence” link for the map, complete with countdown clock!
We’ll hope for field reports from the LA agents after the event. In the meantime, enjoy the copious documentation provided on the IBBC and its activities.
On a very busy day for us here at the ARGNet offices, the last of our day’s articles deals with a beautiful piece of etched glass sent to us through the post. With the words “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire” written into the glass block, and with nondescript symbols etched along the bottom, we had a feeling that there was a mystery to be solved here. Even as we talked about it during tonight’s ARG Netcast recording, I didn’t have a hot clue as to what to do with this puzzling transparent square slab. And then, thanks comments from Geoff May and redct in the ARG Netcast Ustream channel, we had a destination — marevitreum.com.
You see, those symbols along the bottom which resemble the Klingon alphabet were only part of the message. Luckily for us, there were a few other recipients of the same gift, except at least one (thatsplenty at Flickr) had different etchings at the bottom. Simply line up the two and the web site URL magically appears.
The web site includes a mystery of its own, with blurry paragraphs that clear up as you mouse over them. The thing is, the blurry paragraphs have red letters strewn within the text, and the clear version do not. Sean C. Stacey and I actually went through and solved the puzzle during the netcast recording, getting the message “Oct thirty first new york city” which points, quite obviously, to Halloween in NYC. Besides that, other mouse overs reveal text which seems rather religious in tone — appropriate as the ‘sea of glass’ quote comes from Revelations 15:2.
So, anyone up for a bit of fun on All Hallow’s Eve in the Big Apple? If you’re in the area, stay tuned for developments of this new mystery.
So, remember that strange call we got on the ARGNet voicemail three weeks ago? You know, the one we couldn’t figure out at first? Well, it’s a good thing we figured it out, because it turns out to be a game for the newly-released film Blindness, and after we sent in our snail mail address, we’re happy to have a nifty little bit of game swag in our hands.
Included in the package was two pairs of the cheapest sunglasses we’ve ever seen — no frames, even! — along with a card with “i am blind’ and “IAMBL” written in Braille. There was even a self-addressed stamped envelope for a P.O. Box in Toluca Lake, which is interesting only for the fact that it is within walking distance of Universal Studios. One final note about the package is the white-out applied to the Statue of Liberty stamps that adorn the front of the envelope — right across the eyes. Our friends at Despoiler received a package as well, and have a full compliment of photos of their swag pack.
Discussion about the game continues at the Unfiction forums and we will be talking about the current state of the game tonight on the ARG Netcast weekly recording.