As we continue to play catch-up from the past two weeks of email, we’re intrigued by a new campaign coming from Brazil. According to tipster Alessandra, there’s a new ARG out there just waiting to be had called Follow Your Instinct 2.O: J.A.C.K. We must have missed the original FYI ARG, launched in 2006 to coincide with the release of Brazilian band Mindflow’s Mind Over Body. However, we discovered the band’s Facebook group that told us the first game involved an imaginary serial killer, and based on what Alessandra has told us, this sequel begins as “not even the strongest bars could stop his never ending talent of bringing fear and his unattainable thirst for evil.”
In this game, which can be played at the band’s web site, players take on the role of a detective looking for clues and evidence exposing an ominous-sounding Destructive Device which is supposedly hidden inside Mindflow’s upcoming album of the same name. Now, how this has come to be isn’t clear, but in the game tip, Alessandra states that the “leads could be anywhere: music, websites, booklets, photos, videos.” How very cross-media!
The Flash-based web site is very slick and well-designed, and the music is catchy enough to leave playing in the background as you analyze the clues. For players who need a bit of a head start in getting into the process, there’s an instructional YouTube video set up to help make sense of the game. The most recent blog post from J.A.C.K. was a few days ago, so it appears that the game is in full swing. And even though this game originates in Brazil, there are English and Portuguese versions of the content, so those of us in English-speaking countries can jump right into the mix.
Do you have what it takes to capture J.A.C.K. and prevent the Destructive Device from doing damage? Register at the web site and get started today!
Four days before Christmas, fans of alternate reality games got an early present. A member on the Unfiction forums noticed a strange new video and from there, it seemed that a new ARG had begun. The video, an eerie clip that showed a group of German explorers discovering and being attacked by a partially buried television, got the attention of the message board members who looked towards commandervideo.com for answers.
At the apparent trailhead web site, the rabbit hole wound further down as players began getting correspondence from a being named CommanderVideo, a professed alien life form approaching earth and in need of help. Just as it appeared that the puppet masters were prepared to reveal to gamers the reason for the viral campaign and the ARG that grew out of it, a player found a scan of a recently released Nintendo Power article that did the job for them.
While the Internet gives life to ARGs, it also has the power to take that life away, and the scanned article contributed to this game’s premature end. The Nintendo Power article killed the ARG as it exposed the game CommanderVideo was marketing, Bit.Trip: Beat, and this left players upset and frustrated. The players were not alone in their disappointment as Gaijin Games, the game’s creators, were also frustrated with the premature reveal. With the game effectively over, players questioned what went wrong.
Alex Neuse, the CEO of Gaijin Games, was kind enough to answer those questions and discus the promising ARG, its abrupt demise, and the upcoming release of Bit.Trip: Beat for ARGNet.
Imagine, for a moment, half of your favorite YouTube stars going to the same college, obsessively using all your favorite social networking programs. It’s almost like some alternate reality where obsessively twittering, texting, Facebook stalking, and playing Halo is the epitome of coolness.
Apparently HBOlab has an active imagination, as they’ve gathered together Jessica Rose (Bree from lonelygirl15), Phil DeFranco (sxephil), and Kevin Wu (kevjumba) to produce Hooking Up, “a College Comedy Series about Relationships and Communications.”
Starting October 1st, “Hooking Up” commenced its ten episode run, with new episodes released weekly. HBOlab is showcasing the project at the American Film Institute’s DigiFest 2008, billing it as “a cross-platform alternate reality game” seeking to “explore how [an] online narrative series might integrate cross-platform promotions to build both intrigue and audience.” AFI’s Digital Content Lab is working with HBOlab on the production.
So far, the interactive and cross-media elements of “Hooking Up” are admittedly sparse. This may change after adding the characters to my social networking profiles, as the site claims you can “Become friends with your favorite HOOKING UP characters…and be part of the hidden story!” The Hooking Up homepage features “bask-book”, a social networking Facebook clone for the fictitious Bask University and its attendees that leads to MySpace and Facebook profiles, where the characters communicate (and miscommunicate) with each other. A post by Kevin Nalts implies that the series will expand to include access to e-mails between the two main characters. The site also provides links to bonus video content.
ARGNet 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!
There’s a new alternate reality game in the wild, and it goes by the name of “Frozen Indigo Angel.” It’s a promotion put on by BBC Radio 1, and is promoting Radio 1’s Big Weekend music festival. The event is the largest free music festival in Europe, and the game has a number of tie-ins to real world entities — the BBC web site, radio, podcasts and many popular web sites are where you can find information leading to the game.
The trailhead for the game can be found at www.pauldenchfield.com, which details the life of Paul Denchfield, who obviously loves the conveniences of Web 2.0, as he uses Twitter, Flickr, Imeem and YouTube to tell his story. Recently, there was a live event involving Paul as he protested at the BBC, and our sources tell us that there are more live events in the near future.
The blogosphere has taken interest in the game, as Matt Deegan, Wonderland and The Guardian Blog have all featured the game in recent posts. This is yet another example of how the BBC has embraced alternate reality gaming as a content delivery model and buzzmaker, as previous ARGs Jamie Kane and Wannabes have come out of the BBC camp.
One last thing, for you faithful ARGNet readers — watch this game carefully, as we have an inside track on a very interesting development to come very, very soon.
Without the work of Ben Wochinski (encoding and uploading), Celina Beach (filming) and Sean C. Stacey (transcribing), among others, these videos would not have been made possible. A huge thanks to everyone who worked hard to get these videos up and available.
The 2007 ARGFest-o-Con in San Francisco had some brilliant speakers, and now you can watch the panel discussion from the comfort of your own homes! Click on the YouTube link above to get to the playlist that contains all of the videos that were recorded in San Fran, including:
Panel 1: Developing an ARG
Panel 2: Running an ARG, Part 1
Panel 3: Roundtable with 42 Entertainment
Panel 4: Running an ARG, Part 2
Panel 5: Defining ARGs and the Future of ARG
Keynote Presentation: Sean Stewart and Elan Lee, 42 Entertainment
Some of the videos had to be split due to length of discussion, but everything that the panelists discussed is right there on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. Also, transcriptions are currently in the process of being completed at the ARGFest-o-Con wiki, and if any of you have a few extra minutes through the day, help them out by transcribing a few minutes of video.