10/27/09 A game?

Warning this is long….

Thriller 2 – Cause this is thriller, thriller night and no one’s gonna save you from the beast about strike
Alternate Reality Gaming (also known as beasting, unfiction, or immersive fiction)
The Beast was the first true Alternate Reality Game.
History of The Beast (www.unfiction.com)

The Beast was the first true Alternate Reality Game. It was set in the AI movie universe but at a time about 40 years after the movie. In April 2001, a group of people came together, curious about the rumors of circled letters on the backs of the AI movie posters and the credit in the movie trailers for one Jeanine Salla, “Sentient Machine Therapist.”

The Cloudmakers, founded by Cabel Sasser at a free online messaging service, were soon hot on the trail of the person who had murdered the fictional character Evan Chan. At least they thought he was fictional, but nowhere in any of the dozens of sites that were eventually found was there a disclaimer stating, “By the way, this is just a game.” In fact, the creators went so far as to embed the opposite message – “This is not a game.” – in sparkling letters of subsequent movie trailers.

What is “it” – “it” is a “a game”.  The bolded statement in the paragraph above makes me think of “This is it” vs. “This is not it”

In tracking down those responsible for Evan Chan’s untimely demise, the Cloudmakers—and the thousands of independent players who followed along—uncovered a secret cabal of Watchers, an underground movement of sentient robot revolutionaries, and a secret project gone madly out of control. In the process, players decoded messages encrypted with a World War II Enigma machine cipher; translated German, Japanese, and Chinese text; and created a nightmare database to trap an insane AI named Loki, who was “hacking” a swath through the in-game websites.

The story that unfolded across thirty sites was written by Sunburst and World Fantasy award-winning, Canadian author, Sean Stewart, engineered by Jordan Weisman and masterminded by Elan Lee, both of Microsoft. The Cloudmakers maintain an exhaustive archive of the sites and pages found during play.

Clues can be passed through web pages, email, voicemail, snail mail, television advertisements, movie posters, campus billboards, newspaper classifieds… really, in any way that information can be passed.

Have we not seen all of this?  Down to the DirecTV advertisment with fireflies, elephant, moon, and two of Michael’s musical collaborators?
I am going to start a list of clues, agencies, players, etc. that have been used in this whole thing because it is really staggering. (aka the list of PuppetMasters – see glossary below)

As an aside…. I found they are doing an ARG to promote the movie 2012…. Note who is involved in this one…..
Anyway, today may be a magical day for superfans of the upcoming movie 2012. Not only was voting to begin today in the election for a leader of the post-apocalypse remnants of humanity but apparently Comcast has teamed up with Sony Pictures to provide a sneaky preview of a scene or scenes from the movie, a month and a half prior to its release date of November 13. (http://www.despoiler.org/)

In looking through the glossary


Arguably the granddaddy of the genre. Although it was preceded by the “Publius Enigma,” a promotion for the Division Bell album by Pink Floyd, the Beast was more successful in attracting a mainstream and diverse audience. This alternate reality game was set in the A.I. movie universe and centered around the mysterious death of Evan Chan.

Interesting the the Publius Enigma was a promotion for an album…. hmmmmm

Collective Detective:

A team of players that works together to attempt to solve puzzles and find the hidden bits, thereby winning the furtherance of the story. Term coined by Cloudmaker Alex in post number eight to the Cloudmakers List.

I guess this is us! LOL



The line separating players from puppetmasters. As in, “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

What the heck? “The final curtain call”


An individual working “behind the curtain” to control an alternate reality game.

Michael et al?

Rabbit Hole:

The initial site, page, or clue that brings someone into the game.

Could this be MJHD?

Red Herring:

An intentional or unintentional distraction that diverts the players from the path to a solution and sends them off on a wild tangent, sometimes involving hippopotami and peanut butter.

Illuiminati? #7?

Here are some online tools for the ARG community

alphanumeric translators and converters

code charts



  • DNS Stuff : lookups for Whois, abuse records, spam database, reverse DNS, IPWhois, geographical IP, DNS, and CIDR/Netmask; traceroute, ping, URL deobfuscator, and decimal IP convertor
  • DNS lookup : search Whois records
  • multiple keyword whois : search Whois records with multiple keywords
  • number finder : search US white pages
  • area codes : US area code listing
  • zip codes : find zip codes for US addresses, all zip codes for a city or town, all cities and towns in a zip code, and zip+4 for companies


  • CipherClerk’s applet : encryption/decryption applet
  • ROT-X : rotate text through all alphabet rotations from 1 through 26 simultaneously
  • Vigenere decoder : online decoder for this early cipher
  • file vault : self-contained, single-use file encryption
  • HTML Lock : to view the source code of web pages encrypted using HTML Lock, save the page locally and add this text to the source code in the “body onload” tag and reload the page locally: alert(document.all[0].innerHTML)



custom search engines

steganography [?]

  • camouflage
  • jphide
  • camera/shy : the only steganographic tool that automatically scans for and delivers decrypted content straight from the Web


Something tells me we should be looking back at the JCC clues…..

This is what I have so far…. we got some digging around to do!

Put your Sherlock Holmes hat on!



~ by lilwendy on October 27, 2009.

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