Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category

Dateline Mar. 22, 2003: S4e May Be Over

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Heather Hawkins, on again, off again publicist for Search4e released a statement on behalf of [truecrimepress.com True Crime Press] formally severing their relationship with S4e.

What is puzzling if whether this spells the official end of the game or merely acknowledges the loss of funding that became very evident late last year. TCP is the game related website affiliated with Bizincu, the New York business that provided much of the early support for Search4e.

Contact: Heather Hawkins

For Immediate Release

New York (March 22, 2003) — It is with deep regret that True Crime Books announces that it is ending all formal ties with the Ed Sobian case. Effective immediately True Crime Books will cease to have any further financial or legal arrangements with the website [www.search4e.org search4e.org], which was established to create public interest in the investigation. The partnership with its principals, first announced in September 2002, is dissolved. This decision was not taken lightly. However, because of current developments, a sponsorship of this kind no longer fits in with the company’s long-term business strategy. We believe that we should focus exclusively on publishing high quality books in keeping with the original vision of our late publisher, Owen G. McCleary.

All of us at True Crime Books value our relationship with our authors and so this decision should not be construed as reflecting any change in our association with James Pitt. We will continue to proudly publish his books just as we have done in the past and wish him every success in the future.

Dateline Mar. 19, 2003: Noah Boddy is Noah More

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Team Noah Boddy terminated their game once and for all today. In a lengthy message (would players have wanted anything less :)), they stated a few reasons behind the decision.

Most prominently, [noahboddy.com TNB] claims to have a screenplay deal in the works and didn’t want to give up the surprises still forthcoming in the story.

The team has also suffered from substantial attrition due to their inability to land any significant sponsorships to help fund the effort.

Sadly, NB is the latest in a string of premature game closures lately. The audience for Noah Boddy remained loyal throughout and I’m sure they will miss the game. With [www.chasingthewish.com Chasing The Wish] just starting and [www.search4e.org Search4e] working on a comeback, there will be plenty for the NB refugees to jump into.

Following is the entire announcement from Team Noah Boddy:

Team Noah Boddy, with considerable sadness and regret, must present you with the following announcements. We wish to first thank you for your loyalty, your drive, your interest, and your continued perseverance in following both the story and plot unfolding before you and the hints and puzzles of the game. We feel very honored to have had such outstanding interaction with you, both in game and out of game. You are an excellent and wonderful group and we hope that if nothing else, we have contributed to the forming of sustained, amicable and cooperative friendships and a truly unified group as a whole. Thank you.Now… For the tough part…

As we have stated from the beginning, NoahBoddy.com’s plan has been to two-fold: to integrate a compelling and interesting plot together with a fun, exciting and worthwhile contest. Since it’s inception, Team Noah Boddy has created this game to be adopted and enriched by a sponsor, production company, or game company as well as expand itself into greater interaction and productivity through the development team.

It may be also apparent at this point that not only has no official sponsorship taken place (despite numerous meetings and agreements), but also the decrease of available team members (all volunteers who have since had to move on to paying positions) has impacted the flow and format of both of the main aspects of the game. The game has continued to be somewhat experimental, and has been kept alive by a remaining dedicated few, who through spare time and out of pocket expense have continued to provide what we hope has been an enjoyable aspect of your online gaming experience.

With all that being said, it saddens us to have to inform you that the current Noahboddy.com game must be brought to a definitive close.

Over the course of the next few weeks, the Noahboddy.com website will be reformatted to provide you with a comprehensive consolidation of weekly hints, solves, and clues, as well as a synopsis of what would have bound those clues together toward the final solves. Unfortunately, we will no longer be able to sustain the puzzle portion of the game for tangible prizes, but please believe us when we say that each and every one of you absolutely deserves a grand prize for the loyalty and effort that you have put into this game.

However, there is some good news in the midst of this announcement. The closing of the game is not due to a lack of prizes, lack of willingness to continue to run a game (we’re as hooked running it as you are playing it) and definitely not due to lack of interest of the players involved.

There has been serious and continuing interest from an outside production company to develop the Noah Boddy story into a screenplay format for series or feature potential. Obviously, this is a huge opportunity for the creative talents of the team. The unfortunate side effect of such an opportunity is, first and foremost, the necessity to halt any continued unfolding of the storyline. It is a matter of preserving the suspense and outcome of the story involved, and also a matter of preserving the intellectual property of those who were most involved in the story development, but now wish to take their story to potentially lucrative levels. A great portion of the negotiations regarding the story was an interest in the secrets not yet revealed.

This does unfortunately leave our story as a cliffhanger, which will certainly be as disappointing for you to deal with as this decision has been for us. It is the Team’s hope that the players who have stuck with us for so long will understand. And we want you all to know that we are aware of how much we owe to your dedication and resolve. As a matter of fact, it is the plan to utilize any revenue that is created to return to the site with future stories, puzzles, and ARGs. As it stands now, the Team must focus on the possibility of taking the current story to a new (and hopefully larger audience) format. Time management, organization, and consistent game flow are key to the success of any game, and we do not want to continue with anything less than our full-undivided efforts. We respect you as our players to not short change you with anything less—and if we started immediately with a new story, we would be doing just that.

We will keep the out of game message boards intact and will reformat the site to provide a synopsis and wrap up of our beloved game, and we will continue to keep you updated with whatever the next project is we have in the works.

We also plan on keeping the Yahoo Groups community up and running. It is an important community to us and to you that we do not wish to see fade away. We hope to keep you posted on future projects via that community, via any alternative means you prefer, or not at all if you so choose. The websites, emails, and message boards will remain under the care of Thea, and she may be able to assist with any questions that you may have in regards to these decisions. If the questions are of significant importance, further info may be shared with the group as a whole. Send her any changes of your status in the group, or whether you would like to be more or less involved in the community that remains.

Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your participation in our endeavor. Although we did not end up with what we initially planned, we went quite far with what we have, and have you all to
thank for it.

Any thoughts or feedback, however long or short, are entirely welcomed. Feel free to (obviously) bring to the group as a whole, or to present to Thea at thea@noahboddy.com.

You will see a few more announcements as we wrap up. We hope you had as much fun playing as we have had creating, and that you peek in every now and again to see we have anything new in store for you.

Best Regards,
Team Noah Boddy

Dateline Mar. 19, 2003: First Annual ARGCon Set for Las Vegas Apr 25-27

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Prepare to set sail for the First Annual ARGCon in Las Vegas on April 25-27 2003.

According to the, ahem, official announcement at Unfiction, the event, formally entitled, the first ever SuperARGFest-o-Con & Wet T-Shirt Contest, will feature drinkering and costumes.

The event will be unstructured with no official agenda or schedule. No registration is required, but attendees are encouraged to post a note at Unforums so others know to look out for them. Oh, if you are so inclined, please come as your favorite ARG character.

The goal is strictly to let people put some names with faces, have a good time, and insert some real world interaction into our virtual community.

Dateline Mar. 6, 2003: New York Times Write Up on ARG

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Charles Herold, the Game Theory columnist for the NY Times, published a really positive piece on the Alternate Reality Gaming community entitled, “It’s Just a Fantasy, but Real Life Is Always in Play.”‘, ‘The article gives a brief history of the genre, links to several members of ARGN and even gives a spoiler solution for the map puzzle from [landau-luckman-lake.com L3].

Judging by how prolific Mr. Herold is, he seems to be a big fan of computer games and adventure gaming in particular. I checked his [home.nyc.rr.com/cherold/deskchair/Herold.html bio] and found numerous reviews for adventure games. Mr. Herold publishes articles in the Game Theory column every other week.

Dateline Feb. 19, 2003: Geeks Without Borders

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

The flood of favorable press for the ARG community continues! MSN picked up a story yesterday for their “Inside the Internet” column on Slate. The columnist promptly received a mysterious phone call.

Columnist Steven Johnson published an article yesterday that specifically plugged both [collectivedetective.org] and [www.landau-luckman-lake.com L3]. The article, entitled Geeks Without Borders was published on the MSN ‘zine Slate.

Johnson writes, “Most forms of entertainment are defined by their edges: the outline of the Monopoly board or the dimensions of a movie screen. To enter the world of the game or the story, you enter a confined space, set off from the real world. Play-space doesn’t overlap with ordinary space. But Go and L3 don’t play by those rules. Go colonizes an entire city for its playing field; L3 colonizes the entire Web. These are games without frontiers.”

It seems that soon after the article was published, Mr. Johnson received a phone call from Stephen Lake! According to Mr. Johnson, “It was a little spooky, to say the least, though the guy was perfectly friendly on the phone. He had one addition to the piece: he’s not calling L3 a work of immersive media or pervase [sic] gaming; it’s a ‘collective gaming experience.’ Sounds fine to me.”

These brief mentions are the latest in a slew of favorable articles focusing on the genre of alternate reality gaming. Steve Peters, of ARGN, posted a list of other articles at Unfiction.

Dateline Feb. 11, 2003: The BBC Takes Notice

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Despite numerous factual errors, the ARG community got a huge shout out from the dot.life column of the BBC News Online.

Mark Ward, dot.life columnist for the online edition of the BBC News, was very complimentary to the genre and Collective Detective specifically. Factual errors notwithstanding, the article is quite positive and complimentary.

Ward writes, “One of the most prominent is the Collective Detective, whose members share an interest in online immersive games such as The Sims, and have a liking for intellectual puzzles. The group has racked up considerable success in solving online and offline scavenger and treasure hunts, as well as more general puzzles with prizes on offer. ”

The article provided sidebar links to both CD and [Chasing The Wish].

Dateline Jan. 17, 2002: The TerraQuest Requiem. We Didn’t Even Have To Change The Lyrics

Friday, June 4th, 2010

57 days after it finally launched, TerraQuest is no more.

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey I’m gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust

Queen - Another One Bites The Dust

At approximately 3:00 P.M. today, TerraQuest was officially canceled due to lack of registration. Employees of [mind-quest.com Mind Quest], the company responsible for the game, were unavailable for comment.

The game was to feature over $400,000 in prize money to be awarded over approximately a six month period. Each of the six play periods would have a single $25,000 winner while a final winner of the overall game was to be awarded $250,000.

Refunds are expected for all registered players for both initial registration fees and express clues. The first play period prize is being awarded to Roland Spencer of San Diego. Congratulations!

The complete [terraquest1.com” press release]:

January 16, 2003
To the Players of TerraQuest

We want to thank you for your enthusiasm in playing TerraQuest. While the comments from those of you who are players have been wonderful, there is simply not enough participation in the experience to keep this version of TerraQuest going. As a result, we will discontinue TerraQuest immediately.

By discontinuing TerraQuest now, we can take the compelling storyline and combine the user and editorial feedback to modify the structural part of the game. We thank you for your support of TerraQuest and we look forward to providing you with more entertainment options in the very near future.

Since its inception, MindQuest Entertainment has prided itself on its integrity and providing exceptional entertainment value to you, our customers. As a result, all registration fees and express clue charges will be refunded in full to each player and the winner of the first Game Period (Roland Spencer of San Diego, California) has received the $25,000 prize. Thanks again for your participation in TerraQuest.

Most Sincerely,
Keith Griffin
President/CEO
MindQuest Entertainment, LLC

Terraquest is the latest in a string of high profile, prematurely terminated immersive campaigns, including Search4e and the much publicized Push, Nevada.

Dateline Jan. 10, 2003: Uru: Online Ages Beyond Myst Promises Story and Exploration

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

The recently announced open beta for the online MMORPG sequel to Myst promises to deliver more than open ended interaction and level advancement. They also intend to offer players the opportunity to explore within the context of a complex, interactive story.

Uru: Online Ages Beyond Myst is about to begin closed beta testing.

Unlike [The Sims Online], Everquest, and other games of that genre which focus on open ended play and level advancement, the latest massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) from Ubi Soft will offer something new.

First and foremost, URU will be a game of exploration. The game will have three different environments (personal, neighborhood, and the city). By focusing on exploration rather than conflict and level advancement, the game designers are able to introduce puzzles requiring group interaction that will forward a story. This design philosophy should be an enormous draw to fans of the original Myst.

For fans of online immersive gaming, the potential for a running story, a continual stream of puzzles, and realtime interaction may prove to be an undeniable combination.

The original presss release:

San Francisco, CA - January 8, 2003 - Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world’s largest videogame publishers, and Cyan Worlds, Inc., developers of the legendary Myst® and Riven™, today announced their highly anticipated upcoming online adventure Uru™: Online Ages Beyond MYST. Players will have the opportunity to explore and interact with meticulously crafted environments in, around, and beyond the newly discovered underground D’ni empire that predates human civilization. Explorers wishing to help test the game during its beta phase are invited to apply today by visiting http://uru.ubi.com.

“Uru is an ancient word, the earliest word for city. It is rooted in the idea of a gathering of people, which is precisely what Uru will foster,” said Rand Miller, founder of Cyan Worlds. “We’ve been working for almost five years developing the cutting edge technology, detailed design and breathtaking graphics that allow us to build real-time online worlds that go beyond Myst. Imagine being able to explore lush landscapes, ancient deserted cities, mysterious forests, curious swamps — and that’s only the beginning. We’re trying to provide an environment that’s so engrossing, people will talk about it and share their experience. With Uru the journey is experienced together within the game, with friends, family, even strangers uncovering fantastic places together.”

Uru will take advantage of broadband to deliver a continually updated, immersive environment and storyline, with content that grows, changes and evolves constantly. It will also be the first persistent world to support real-time voice communication. Uru is designed to appeal to a broad audience and enable players of all skill levels and interests to experience expansive ages of the Myst universe in a uniquely social environment. Playing their own avatars, hundreds of thousands of players will meet new people, all realistic impersonations of themselves, play games, solve mysteries and embark on a voyage of discovery with friends. Players will be able to customize their level of interaction with other players, choosing to play alone, with small groups of friends or in areas where they can meet new people.

With 12 million units sold worldwide, Myst is one of the most widely recognized and critically acclaimed game brands in history. “Uru represents an incredible evolution in the Myst product line and in online entertainment,” said Jason Rubinstein, General Manager of ubi.com. “Fans of the Myst series, online socializers, mystery buffs, Internet chatters, multiplayer online gamers and non-gamers alike will be amazed by Uru. It will definitely raise the bar for an immersive online experience, and we expect it to attract new customers to online gaming and perhaps change the face of mainstream entertainment.”

PC users will be able to enjoy Uru, which will be made available through ubi.com, one of the top ten gaming portals. The final version of the game is scheduled to launch in late 2003 with a closed beta test commencing in January 2003. For more information about Uru: Online Ages Beyond MYST, or to apply to be a beta tester, visit http://uru.ubi.com.

Dateline Dec. 23, 2002: Gamespy announces RPG Game of the Year

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Gamespy has selected Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind as their RPG Game of the Year. As one of the progenitors of the Alternate Reality Gaming (aka immersive campaigning) genre, it seems fitting that a game for which Gamespy says, ‘You feel that you’re really a part of Morrowind, but even more than that, the world feels like a real place.’ was selected.

They go on to say, “The game engine is a real work of art. Pieces of furniture and miscellaneous knick-knacks fill every home, and you can move or loot or play with just about anything. You can even rob or kill anyone you meet, provided you’re ready to deal with the weighty arm of the law. The result? Total immersion in a fantasy world!’

You can catch the full article [www.gamespy.com/goty2002/pc/index6.shtml here].

If RPG is the granddaddy of ARG, then adventure gaming is most certainly the respected grandmother. On Christmas Day, Gamespy will [www.gamespy.com/goty2002/pc/ announce the Adventure Game of the Year].

Dateline Nov. 18, 2002: ARGN Becomes a true network

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

In support of our mission and dedication to Alternate Reality Gaming, deaddrop.us is pleased to announce it’s charter affiliation with the newly released Alternate Reality Gaming Network.

We have also started our new, weekly newsletter, ARG Week In Review with summaries of games in progress and news from the past week.

The Alternate Reality Gaming Network is becoming just that — a true network of independent sites contributing to Alternate Reality Gaming. More than just a simple webring, ARGN will always point you to quality, complementary places to go.

ARGN will become the hub for this new affiliation of sites, a place where you will always be able to find a listing of interesting places to go and an archive of ARGs gone by.

In addition, there will be access to web-based chat with a listing of cool channels to join, and we are sponsoring a mailing list whereby you can always stay informed of news and announcements of new and suspected ARGs.

Our continued mission is to promote the growth of ARG, aka immersive gaming community. By stimulating growth, everyone benefits. As with any new genre, the community is faced with a chicken and egg problem. We take a long term view and plan to provide an ongoing program of articles and features geared to both players and puppetmasters.

Our newest feature will appear weekly on Friday. Entitled ARG Week In Review, it covers the previous weeks news and updates to games in progress. You can find our first issue here.