Tag: twitter (page 1 of 2)

Spring Cleaning, Part Two

streetsweeperAs promised, here is our second installment of the spring cleaning of the ARGNet inbox, with game tips and news items dating back to the beginning of the week. Enjoy!

May 21: “N” sent us in the following game tip which he found on “this new site online”: I found this article below on this new site online. There have been random texts with riddles going around about it. What do you guys make of it? I figure this is your area. ——————————— Is When they were Pharaohs really an A.R.G. in disguise? by E.A. Wallis First there was The Beast, then there was I Love Bees and Lost Experience, now an A.R.G. in a story on ancient Egypt? In an age where alternate reality gaming has taken on many forms, there are practically no limits in the way that mass online adventures are now being played, but in the novelization of an upcoming theatrical stage play? In a way When they were Pharaohs might represent the ultimate in reality fact finding, puzzle-solving missions, in what is looking to be another world-hopping adventure, but you’ll need to be an Egyptologist or hieroglyphics expert to crack some of these modern takes on ancient riddles, because though some clues are hidden out in plain sight with hieroglyphic translations conveniently included, others are presented completely without. Of course the ancient Egyptians themselves had games and other leisurely pastimes to remedy their boredom (although without Facebook) but a modern-day reenactment of the mythological quest of Horus and Isis to revenge Osiris? With the re-discovery of the mummy of Hatshepsut in 2007, this real life saga has enough drama and irony, worthy of a Greek Tragedy. I may have found the eye of Horus, but if you can tell me where Osiris is laid, you might as well solve the riddle of the Sphinx. We did a little Google-fu and found this exact text (save for one line) on Craigslist ads from Los Angeles and Baltimore. After looking at the web site from the ad, I’m going to go out on a limb and say no, not an ARG in disguise. However, prove me wrong and earn a place in my heart.

May 21: The good and wonderful Tony Walsh send in this tidbit about an upcoming event: Hi guys, just wanted to let you know about this upcoming event in San Francisco. Tony Walsh (Phantom Compass), Lance Weiler (the WorkBook Project), and Ken Ecklund (sic) (World Without Oil) will all be appearing at KQED in San Francisco next Saturday. http://www.bavc.org/index.php?option=com_registrationpro&Itemid=935&func=details&did=903 On Saturday, May 30 at 1:30PM Pacific in the KQED ATRIUM, Tony Walsh (Phantom Compass) and Ken Eklund (World Without Oil) will present on the topic of games for change: Games for Change has turned into its own movement of creatives, technologists and gamers who are developing interactive and game projects driven by social issues.Tony Walsh, CEO of Canadian game design firm Phantom Compass, and Ken Eklund, developer of the award-winning ARG World Without Oil unpack some of the most successful social change games and related creative experiments and provide a blueprint for filmmakers looking to get into “game space.” Hey, that’s only three days from now! Hopefully this meas that some of our Bay-area readers can make it down to see this presentation!

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Stop TARP ARG protests to rock SXSW?

tarpargIt would seem that there is trouble brewing at the SXSW Interactive festival in Austin this week, and it’s a very persistent kind of trouble – protesters. On March 11th, Steve Peters posted the following on his Twitter account: Hmm, some group is protesting our SXSWi panel?? RT @StopTarpARG Alternate Realities are set to destroy our children. Visiting the Twitter account for StopTarpARG leads to their web site, stoptarparg.com. Once your eyes have adjusted to the multi-font experience at that site, the message sinks in: there’s a new ARG set to launch at SXSW, called TARP ARG 2009 for the kids, and according to StopTarpARG, it’s a government-sponsored attempt at brainwashing the minds of America’s children in the face of hard economic times.

Of course, the folks behind TARP ARG 2009 for the kids see it differently, claiming to be part of the economic bailout assistance program in the U.S. while promising to build a “direct interface with [their] targeted child audience.” Brian Cain’s name is all over this, and a simple Googling leads back to Campfire, the company behind many of the most popular ARGs of all time. Brian is going to be at SXSW Interactive on the same panel as Steve Peters, so we assume this is related to the hijacking of the panel Steve alluded to in the recent press release about his new company, No Mimes Media.

For those curious enough to sort through this madness, StopTarpARG has set up a phone number (866-397-7406) where Brian Cain’s apparent manifesto can be heard, while the TARP ARG folks have an email address where people can ask their questions. It would also seem that events are starting already, two days before the scheduled panel discussion, as our own Michael Andersen has outlined recently in the Unfiction forum discussion thread for Stop TARP ARG. In my opinion, this should be a fun way of showcasing alternate reality gaming, and I’m sad that I can’t attend the event myself. We’ll keep up with the Tweets and the shenanigans leading up to and following the panel discussion, so stay tuned.

Get Intimate with Intimation

intimation_vidcapIt wasn’t too long ago that discussion at the ARG Netcast included a look at The Way Their World Ended, a game that launched through a Twitter account on Christmas day of 2008. At the beginning, a few of the players that followed Intimation on Twitter were discouraged by the flood of cryptic updates to the account, but once the messages were decoded, the game began dropping references to the Halo universe.

In the past week, there have been more discoveries which lead at least one player to believe that this game’s narrative takes place, “after the events of ILB, since this AI knows about ‘the legendary Melissa.'” ILB, for those who may not know, is short for I Love Bees, the massively popular alternate reality game from 2004 which was a promotion for Halo 2. There have also been references to material discovered through the Iris ARG, which Bungie/Microsoft put together for the release of Halo 3.

So, is it an official tie-in to some sort of Halo product, or a fan creation? We’ve sent off an email to Bungie to see what they have to say, and we’ll update once we get a response. In the meantime, if you’ve been waiting for something to fill the void until Halo Wars hits store shelves, this may be just the thing.

In-game YouTube account
Unfiction Forum thread

PICNIC ’08, part five: Virtual things in a virtual world are so passé!

argnetpicnic2008.jpgEditor’s Note: Daniël van Gool, an administrator at the Unfiction forums, was on the scene at PICNIC ’08 on behalf of ARGNet. We were impressed with Daniël’s work covering PICNIC ’07 and, as media partners of the annual cross-media festival, were invited to a number of special events in addition to the speaker sessions. This is the fifth part of Daniël’s comprehensive look at this year’s event, a continuation of his analysis of day two of the event. All pictures are courtesy of Daniël as well.

Another very interesting talk followed, titled Commercial Collaborations: Tools, Things and Toys by Michael Tchao from Nike. This talk expanded some more on the theme of connecting the physical and online worlds and even a little bit on data visualization by addressing one of Nike’s most successful ventures of the past years: Nike+.

In short, Nike was looking for a way to connect the physical activity of running to a digital community, creating a buzz around their brand by creating indispensable tools that connect consumers to each other and the Nike brand.

Looking at runners, there’s only a small group of people that is actually self-motivated. A lot of runners need motivation though, and this is where Nike+ proved to be a valuable addition to the concept of running: digital technology can now provide data, such as distance ran, pace, and calories burned.

Another trend is that music is growing rapidly as an important factor when it comes to running. Forty percent of people say they would not run without music and participation by people who run with music shifted from 25% to 75% in a few years time. Also, fifty percent of iPod owners say that they use their devices in some form or other for sports. This is why Nike teamed up with Apple to develop Nike+, which builds a digital set of information around the iPod functionality: a website that collects statistics and has you set goals for yourself. In short, it provides motivation.

Upon request from its users, a Challenge function was implemented, so people could challenge themselves or others to reach certain goals and keep track of progress. People have met through this community, challenging each other online, but also making friends in real life. The community has taken on the challenge ability to make very interesting challenges (for example, Europe vs Japan, Cat lovers vs. Dog Lovers, Simpsons fans vs. South Park fans, etc.)

Expansion of the community element is still going on: Nike launched a web store, which sold selected T-shirts, available only for people who reached a certain milestone — the 100 Mile Club, for example. Also, you can now create an avatar that you can plug into Facebook to communicate your running progress to your friend and that will motivate you to run if you didn’t.

All in all, Nike+ is a great example of a very successful way of using a community in a commercial setting, which should tell other companies something about possibilities.

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I Swear, I’m Not Claiming All Girl Gamers are Fake: Personal Effects Goes Live

pixelvixen.jpgBack in September, podcast novelist JC Hutchins tweeted about a friend’s new gaming blog. A little over a week ago, he did it again. And I’m glad he did — since January 2008, Rachael Webster has posted some rather insightful and snark-filled articles critiquing recent game releases under the moniker “PixelVixen707”. The blog has attracted some attention, and Pixelvixen707 even had the impeccably good taste to list ARGNet on her blogroll.

Only one problem: Rachael Webster isn’t actually real. Although the blog’s archives go back to January 2008, the domain was only registered in June. Compounding the problem, her employers at the New York Journal Ledger have a tendency to report news that hasn’t actually happened. Some of that news involves her boyfriend Zach Taylor, a rather popular art therapist at Brinkvale Psychiatric Hospital. With the recent addition of personal posts to the PixelVixen707 blog, a simple gaming blog slowly yet subtly drags you into the rabbithole, as GameSetWatch noted earlier today. For a bit of irony, check out Rachael’s article on Matt Hazard, an action gaming franchise that never existed, as described by Ralph Tokey, a game developer that never existed.

These assets set the stage for JC Hutchins’ upcoming supernatural thriller, Personal Effects: Dark Art. The story revolves around Zach Taylor, an art therapist who uses his patients’ personal effects to help decipher their mental problems. However, according to JC Hutchins, “Zach gets far more than he bargained for when a new patient is admitted to the facility: a man who is a suspected serial killer.” The thriller will showcase a spooky storyline featuring a young optimistic hero, in addition to a relentlessly cruel villain with a secret.

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ARGNet gets YouTube’d, Twitterpated!

Youtube and Twitter logosARGNet is pleased to announce our brand-new and shiny YouTube channel, argnetwork. Now playing: “ARGs and Extended Media Experiences,” the first panel from this year’s ARGFest-o-Con in Boston. Due to YouTube upload limits, we had to break it into six pieces, but it’s all there.

The rest of the panels will go up as fast as we can get to them. Attendees can relive the thrill of professional tattooed bodybuilders and black-bearded Grand Inquisitors, and if you weren’t there you can now see what you missed. We will also be moving over the ARG Video Netcasts as soon as possible. Enjoy!

Also, we might as well make our official announcement of the ARGNet Twitter account. Twitter is a great micro-blogging service that works well with announcements. So far, we’ve used it in an unofficial capacity for breaking news and article announcements, but we figure it’s time to make it official. Unfortunately for some, this means the end of the announcement email subscription, which will be phased out by October 1st. So, if you want the latest news on alternate reality games and related items, follow us on Twitter!

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