Tag: the dark knight (page 1 of 3)

SXSW Interactive awards for TDK ARG, We Tell Stories, Lost Zombies

2009-sxsw-web-awards Image courtesy of the SXSW Interactive Web Awards site.

It’s a big night for three campaigns tonight, as the teams behind The Dark Knight ARG, Lost Zombies and We Tell Stories have won major awards at the 12th annual SXSW Interactive Web Awards. The awards were handed out earlier tonight at the Hilton Austin Downtown, and according to The Underwire blog at Wired, the major hardware found its way into the hands of the wonderful people behind these highly successful campaigns.

One of the biggest wins of the night came for We Tell Stories. This project was a collaboration between Six to Start and Penguin Books and, as reported here in March of 2008, was a way for media-savvy designers to retell classic stories through the use of technology. We Tell Stories won in the Experimental category, but as a bonus, also walked away with the Best in Show Award. This is a monumental win for the company, formed at the beginning of 2008 by former members of Mind Candy.

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ARGFest 2008 in Review: The Live Events (Stealing Sleep an Hour at a Time)

ARGNet Writers pose at ARGFest 2008

There were so many game launches, puzzles, and events at ARGFest this year, it’s a wonder anyone had any time to attend any of the panels. What follows is a brief summary of some of the events that robbed this columnist of his much-needed beauty sleep.

Alpha Agency
The first game launch of the night was a subtle one. Upon arriving at the Cocktail Party at 7pm, Lewis Murphy handed me his business card. He even went through the trouble of writing my name on the card before handing it over. Upon closer inspection, there was a symbol on the back of the card. Sixteen other specially marked business cards were handed out over the next few hours. Thanks to some quick footwork by Mapmaker, the symbols were all collected and assembled to reveal the website for Alpha Agency.

Eight Days
Eight days before the start of ARGFest, a number of players received emails leading to a series of highly technical puzzles and a countdown page. When the countdown ran out, something happened at the cocktail party. The general buzz of conversation was replaced with the rantings of a mad man with a manila folder sticking out of his pants. The natural reaction, of course, was to steal the folder from the crazy man, which is just what EGo did. Inside the folder was a CD containing a video as well as a photo that led the partygoers away from alcohol and into the streets, where they eventually found the following letter marking the end of the scavenger hunt.

The Dark Knight
Luckily, the scavenger hunt ended with just enough time to make it to Loews theater to catch a screening of The Dark Knight, courtesy of ARGFest sponsor 42 Entertainment. Watching the film, I appreciated how aspects of the alternate reality game added to the movie viewing experience.

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ARGFest 2008 in Review: Rules of Engagement with Steve Peters (Brunettes with Glasses are Hot)

ARGNet Writers pose at ARGFest 2008

This article is the third in a series, providing summaries of the presentations at ARGFest-o-Con 2008 in Boston

Steve Peters left ARGNet a few years back, but he still sticks around. Supposedly, he works for some company named 42 Entertainment that sponsored ARGFest 2008 and purchased tickets to The Dark Knight for attendees. In this Showcase Presentation, Steve Peters explained how to deal with Alternate Reality Gaming audiences using the Microsoft Vista-sponsored ARG Vanishing Point as an example.

According to Peters, there are Five F’s of Fantasticness necessary for every alternate reality game: Find, Focus, Fun, Freedom, and Fear.

The first step to every alternate reality game is the FIND: discovering the game. With Vanishing Point, 42 Entertainment targeted early adopters with puzzle boxes, puzzle graphics on Windows and technology blogs, and a taunting message suggesting that the readers wouldn’t be able to solve these. Solving the puzzles led to the main page for Vanishing Point, where, explains Peters, players found the ever effective and tantalizing countdown. So effective, in fact, that Vanishing Point included dozens of countdowns scattered around the website, each one culminating in a live event.

Which brings us to the second step: FOCUS. Players need to know what to expect when they’re entering a game. While you can pick up a book and anticipate the commitment it will involve by the number of pages, size of the font, and reputation of the author, the same does not necessarily apply to alternate reality games. Sticking to regularly scheduled updates helps generate expectations for the players. Setting more explicit boundaries through iconic touches to the websites can also help guide players and protect the developer’s sanity.

The third factor is both the simplest and the hardest: FUN. Under the direct assault of hundreds or even thousands of skilled players, puzzles often need to be difficult. However, they still have to be fun, and often building upon previous puzzles can help with that process.

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Harvey Dent Press Conference Today

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The latest in The Dark Knight promotion is upon us. Today at 3:00 EDT, the I Believe in Harvey Dent campaign will be streaming a live press conference on their website. The email announcement says in part:

Everyone who knows Harvey Dent knows that the vicious smears by a mysterious group calling itself “Concerned Citizens for a Better Gotham” are not true. Harvey Dent is innocent of these charges, and the truth will triumph.

Harvey Dent believes that the movement to take back Gotham is bigger than one person. It’s never been about Harvey Dent. It’s about our hopes for our city. It’s about you.

Harvey Dent has always said that if he becomes a distraction from the bigger issues of the movement to fight crime and corruption, he’ll make the best decision for the movement itself.

We’ve done a lot in the last few months. We’ve shown the city that we will not stop fighting against the dark forces that have Gotham in their grasp. We showed everyone that we do have power. That there is hope for Gotham City.

If past events are any indication, it’s clear this will be more than just a press conference. Tune in to see what happens.

Having a Ball with the Joker

The Dark KnightOn March 26th, a new chapter in the Dark Knight alternate reality game began, as the cell phones that some had received inside a tasty, Joker-commissioned treat — phones that some figured may never ring again — sprang to life. A text message read: “Hey clown! Long time, no crime spree! Well, put on your floppy shoes and answer this question: are you ready to get to work?”  For those brave enough to text back, answering in the affirmative, the reward was a second text: “Glad to see you’re still alive and kicking. I’ll be in touch before Poisson D’Avril”

A quick Google reveals “Poisson D’Avril” to be, literally, “April Fish” in French. Poisson D’Avril is also the French equivalent of April Fools.  This gave the indication that something Jokerish was about to occur, prior to April Fools!

The phones went active again on March 30th, but this time, with a call from an actual person instead of a text message.  The recipients were informed that they were one of 17 “clowns” remaining, and each were given a letter to remember and report to the rest of the “clowns” (for example, “‘E’ as in Elephant”).  Sixteen other letters were given to the remaining clowns, which led to a new web site being discovered — Clown Travel Agency.  The site was simple in design, with only a suitcase adorned with stickers from several worldwide destinations, and an envelope which stated “Departure Date: 4-01”.

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Harvey Dent campaign swag!

dent_03.jpgIt wasn’t long after the latest stage in the Dark Knight alternate reality game went live that we began noticing reports of cool swag delivery — staff writer Michelle Senderhauf got one in the mail, as did our associate editor, Marie Lamb, and a friend of the site, Brian Enigma. I received the ARGNet package a few days ago, and in the package was a T-shirt and a folder which contained postcards, bumper stickers, buttons and a letter. It’s always a treat to receive treats from game developers, so I thank those out there who are responsible for sending the package up to Canadia. So, um… does this mean that the campaign will be heading above the 49th parallel sometime soon? Inquiring canucks want to know!

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