The week following Thanksgiving is usually a slow one as folks readjust to their daily routine post-turkey and gravy, but Flynn Lives players found themselves back in the thick of things. After a week’s hiatus, presumably to give thanks for all the buzz fans have been creating, Flynn Lives was back with some flash today; a Flash-based puzzle, to be exact.
The main page for Flynn Lives updated with a link to a new puzzle, Gygax, which featured a cut-out pattern for a 3-dimensional Bit from the original Tron film as an homage to Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax’s love of multi-sided dice. Additional information in the read-only Flynn Lives discussion forums helped players crack the puzzle in no time and in turn discover flynnlives.com/epiphany. With a few additional twists and turns players found themselves staring into pulse of a count-down timer.
End Game has begun with flynnlives.com/digitalpulse, a a call to action to retrace Kevin Flynn’s steps during his final book tour. The site advises all Flynn Lives operatives to be prepared to hit the ground next Wednesday, at 11 am EST, in a final push to retrieve the remaining evidence and finally uncover what has happened to Kevin Flynn. A total of sixteen cities will take part in the final mission but the cities themselves have yet to be identified (excepting Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco which were named on the poster), a tactic reminiscent of the beginning of this viral and its first outing, Operation Zero Hour.
Flynn Lives is going out in style, so make sure you have your shoe laces tied and your GPS units handy, because when the time comes next week, Flynn Lives operatives will finally get the chance to find out what happened to Kevin Flynn: and that’s one ride you do not want to miss out on. Keep your finger on the digital pulse, and be ready to hit the ground running next Wednesday.
It has been a busy two months for Flynn Lives, which has been a nice change of pace for players who had been growing anxious for activity following the two month lull post San Diego Comic Con. In early October players noticed a new puzzle on the Flynn Lives Facebook page that, once cracked, led to tickets for a screening of twenty minutes from Tron: Legacy in IMAX 3D in theaters across the country for Tron Night, October 28th.
Ordinarily such a screening would be prize enough for most players but Flynn Lives did not stop there. Just days before the Tron Night screening, the Flynn Lives website updated, letting players know that the game was back with a vengeance and that the endgame had begun. Players began frantically searching the site for updates, and it was quickly discovered that Zack’s popular Arcade Aid puzzle game from months past had been updated with new titles of classic video games.
Players worked together and beat the updated game, earning new achievement badges within just a few short hours, but it was the message with the final achievement badge that left the forums buzzing. Titled End Game, the unlocked achievement let players know that something was coming in the mail soon from Flynn Lives. A screening and swag? Players speculated that this was surely the Endgame hinted at on the Flynn Lives main page and as Tron Night came and went, everyone anxiously awaited their package, their final parting gift from Flynn Lives.
In 2008, Disney came to Comic-Con with some early conceptual footage for a movie that, at that time, was called TR2N. It received such strong support and generated so much excitement from the Comic-Con crowd, Disney greenlighted the project. Flash forward to the 2009 Comic-Con, where Disney presented additional footage for the now-titled TRON: Legacy. Fans were also led on a merry chase through San Diego leading to a recreation of Flynn’s Arcade, where further information about the disappearance of Kevin Flynn was revealed.
Flash forward again to 2010, where the Flynn Lives alternate reality game ramped up through the release of online mini-games leading to live drops, movie screenings, digital badges, and real-life TRON artifacts. Meanwhile, buzz for the movie increased as Comic-Con approached and TRON banners and signs appeared around San Diego. The news media started referring to Comic-Con as ComiTRON, which generated even more excitement and anticipation from the ARG community following the Flynn Lives campaign as they started to wonder: would Flynn’s Arcade return?
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.
This Friday at 8PM in San Francisco, Encom’s Executive Consultant Alan Bradley will address invited press and employees regarding a brand new Encom product. Little does he (and hopefully the Encom security) know that his audience will also include many intrepid members of the Flynn Lives organization posing as Encom employees.
Several weeks ago, the enigmatic Zack challenged the group to a little game called ArcadeAid – a site filled with pictures of clever (and sometimes groan-worthy) puns representing several generations of video games, from Pong to Asteroids, Space Ace to… well even Discs of Tron. As players named video games, they were awarded badges at certain levels. Naming all 56 earned them the opportunity to acquire their very own Encom security badge, and as we were to find out later, the ability to attend an exclusive press conference hosted by Alan Bradley himself (played by Bruce Boxleitner).
So if you’re one of the intrepid numbers who completed the ArcadeAid challenge and received an Encom badge, the place to be is the Justin Herman Plaza in the Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA at 8PM, April 2 2010. No word yet on whether non-badge holders will be able to find other ways to attend, or if the event will be aired online either live or after the fact. However, Wondercon will be occuring this weekend, and Disney does have a panel there: so if you are going to Wondercon, take it from an old San Diego Comic-Con pro and keep an eye out for opportunities to attend, either at the Disney booth (if present) or at the panel. You can also follow along on the Unfiction forums thread .
Good luck to all FlynnLives Infiltrators!
UPDATE: Zack from FlynnLives is asking all participants to meet at the Hyatt Regency (across the street from the press conference venue) from 6:15-7:45PM. t-shirts and posters will be handed out to participants, and the group will march to the press conference site en masse in order to get a good location in front of the stage.
It has also announced been announced that while there is going to be a VIP area for Encom employees (hence the infiltrators having Encom badges), the press conference itself is open to the public. So if you’re in the area, get down there and check it out!
As we reported earlier, ZeroHour reached the end of its countdown at 11AM EST (4PM GMT) and had players all over the globe sitting by their computers, compulsively pounding their F5 keys to see when their city’s listing would go live and a drop location would be revealed. Chicago, Orlando, and Paris were the first to update, and it was quickly discovered the drop points were located, fittingly, at arcades. Upon arriving, players looked for their contacts in Flynn Lives t-shirts. The first one to reach the contact gave a pass phrase (such as “Downloadable Content” or “Power Slide”) and was rewarded with a phone, but no further instructions. Once players figured out there was a number in the phone’s contact list labeled “Call Me”, they called and talked to a live person who gave them instructions to find the rest of their package – an 80’s style vinyl velcro “TRON” wallet containing 3 Tron trading cards with codes to be input into the ZeroHour website, a few Flynn’s Arcade tokens, and newspaper clippings about ENCOM. A PM helper shadowed the players and, once the package was found, the ZeroHour website was updated with a check mark to note the drop had been successfully picked up. The players then logged into the ZeroHour site to enter the codes, which unlocked the cards on the site.
As the day went on, more cities went live and more drops were collected. Except for a glitch or two (the Toronto package was taken before the player could reach it, and the Madrid drop was never recovered) the drop collections were rapidly collected and the codes were entered. Finally, when Las Vegas and Sydney were the only locations left, the “No” Bit under the card icons changed to a “Yes” Bit. Clicking on the Bit led to a new site, The Pit Cell.
The Pit Cell contains information on an “exclusive limited event” to be held this Saturday in 4 different IMAX theater locations – New York, Los Angeles, London, Toronto; and a fifth on Sunday in Sydney. Ticket distribution starts today at 4PM EST (9PM GMT), on a first-come, first-served basis.