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How He Found The Cube

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the think-think-think dept.

Games 45

Via GameSetWatch an in-depth article on the Alternate Reality Game Network site explaining how Andy Darley found the cube, and completed the first season of the Perplex City game. Written by Darley himself it's an engaging account of what it's like to actually play one of these games, and the process by which the cube's location was discovered. "It was then that I realised I was practically standing on a spot where the topsoil was the colour of the clay that ought to be hidden underneath it. It wasn't 10m from the post, it was slightly further - practically a continuation of the line I'd just investigated, exactly where you'd end up burying something if you walked 10m, stopped, and leaned forward to start digging. Seeing sub-surface clay with just a very thin covering of the material that was several inches thick elsewhere was deeply suspicious." GSW also links to an exhaustive look at an older ARG-in-a-children's-book, the game Masquerade, which is well worth reading up on.

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45 comments

Like an episode of Twin Peaks (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070458)

I've read through the article twice now, and I have absolutely no idea what this all is about. Is the Cube some kind of treasure hunt, a fountain of youth, a cult?

Re:Like an episode of Twin Peaks (4, Informative)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070506)

Treasure hunt based on alternate-reality RPG (i.e. trading cards with real-world tie-ins to an actual object you had to find to win a large cash prize).

Re:Like an episode of Twin Peaks (5, Informative)

ShaggyIan (1065010) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070638)

It took me a bit of reading (www.perplexcity.com, apparently down right now) and googling to get the gist.

As the previous poster pointed out, it is a card game/Alternate Reality Game. Solve puzzles on cards you buy, read blogs, call phone numbers, send emails (and get responses), and occasionally show up for an "event" in Britain. The more I read, the more I thought it sounded like good natured cult.

Given the press coverage on this, I can't quite figure out how I had never heard of it. Perhaps because I don't hang out in gaming shops?

Re:Like an episode of Twin Peaks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18073626)

Sounds like recruitment tactics... of TERR0R!!!

Re:Like an episode of Twin Peaks (1)

Archibald Buttle (536586) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079598)

The events run for the first season of Perplex City were not exclusively run in Britain. They had a fairly large live event in San Francisco not too long ago. There were also hints and clues run fairly early in the game as previews in cinemas in Toronto. I believe they're planning other events around the world.

The perplexcity.com web site had been down for upgrades in advance of Season Two of Perplex City. It's back up now. The new season officially starts at the beginning of March - although many suspect that things may happen at the party being held this Saturday in London to celebrate the finding of the Receda Cube and the end of Season One.

Why didn't you hear about this? Well, Mind Candy Design, who run the Perplex City ARG were rather small when the game began and are still a fairly small operation. However you are of course hearing about it now...

The emphasis for season 1 was finding the Cube for a $200,000 prize. Along with this quest were puzzle cards that you could buy and solve - many of the cards contained clues to help find the location of the Cube. Not much is known about the second season right now beyond the fact that there's a new set of puzzle cards coming out. I'd expect there will be another prize on offer.

Whilst the winner had collected and solved most of the puzzle cards, it's not actually necessary to buy any of them to take part. Puzzle cards can however be bought from www.firebox.com if you're interested. Season one also seems to have been fairly self-contained so I'd expect it would be fairly easy to jump into season two as a newbie.

Re:Like an episode of Twin Peaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18070726)

lol, you've been watching too much stargate if you think it's a fountain of youth cube :P it's from a real work strategy game sort of thing where the only cheat codes are being rich and hacking into the company who made it's network and stealing the answers, which I'm sure the winner actually did.

Re:Like an episode of Twin Peaks (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18071874)

It sure was annoying. There hasn't been a story on this on Slashdot that I remember, and somehow we're thrown in the middle or end of the story without a quick recap? It's a good way to make people think you're just being weird or excluding.

Re:Like an episode of Twin Peaks (1)

Calmiche (531074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18072832)

Err.. There was a story on the 8th of February about this.. http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/09/ 0429250 [slashdot.org] and I know I saw a news spot on CNN about it. It's just a real-life roleplaying game, similar to the "I Love Bees" campaign from Halo 2.

Why didn't you hear about this earlier? Maybe because it's based in England?

There are a lot of people saying that this is the direction where some games and ad campaigns are headed. It sounds like a lot of fun to me.

Re:Like an episode of Twin Peaks (1)

Kuvter (882697) | more than 7 years ago | (#18074776)

I have a Game Cube, it wasn't hard to find. It's just a last generation game system now.

Re:Like an episode of Twin Peaks (1)

Lectrik (180902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18078774)

I've read through the article twice now, and I have absolutely no idea what this all is about. Is the Cube some kind of treasure hunt, a fountain of youth, a cult?

Singularity "education"
inflicts a dog brain upon
Students - ability to be
taught servitude - but
an inability to ever think
opposite of brainwashing
and indoctrination - very
unlikely to ever recover
to acknowledge Nature's
Harmonic Simultaneous
Rotating 4 Corner 24 Hr.
Days in 1 Earth Rotation.

How KC found the booze. (1)

Keith Curtis (923118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070472)

It was under the Irishman all along!
Dirty fuckin drunks.

Real players (2, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070584)

Beat spheres into cubes.

Wrong Adjective (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070946)

Seeing sub-surface clay with just a very thin covering of the material that was several inches thick elsewhere was deeply suspicious."
Since the topsoil was thinner, not thicker, shouldn't that be "shallow-ly suspicious?"

Re:Wrong Adjective (1)

ShaneThePain (929627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18072196)

buh-dum-tshhh
*rimshot*

Alternate Reality = Real Life (1)

neltana (795825) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070954)

I'm waiting for the PS3 version, though. Think of how much better the graphics will be once they start using the Cell processor!

I guess I'm a bit slow today, but it took me a while to figure out that this wasn't a computer game. I guess Alternate Reality games are computer games that you don't use computers for...you know, what we used to call games, but now we have a high tech sounding term for them.

It sounds like this was a game in England where people buy puzzle cards that gave them clues on how to find a real life object. The person who found the real life object won a 100,000 pound prize by doing so (which, is like, really, really heavy).

Re:Alternate Reality = Real Life (2, Funny)

bmin (945466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18071446)

You do realize Pounds are the monetary unit in the UK right? If they wanted the unit of measuremeant in weight they would have used kilograms.

Re:Alternate Reality = Real Life (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18071724)

===JOKE===>

  o
  \|/
  | == you
  / \

WOOOOSH!

(always wanted to do that)

Re:Alternate Reality = Real Life (1)

dannycim (442761) | more than 7 years ago | (#18072230)

You do realize Pounds are the monetary unit in the UK right? If they wanted the unit of measuremeant in weight they would have used kilograms.
Actually, kilograms are a measure of mass, not weight. A six kilograms of matter is still six kilos on the moon, whereas a six pound one is only one pound on the moon.

Re:Alternate Reality = Real Life (2, Funny)

neltana (795825) | more than 7 years ago | (#18072348)

Wait, I thought that depended on the exchange rate.

Re:Alternate Reality = Real Life (1)

bmin (945466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18073290)

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/weight [reference.com] the amount or quantity of heaviness or mass; amount a thing weighs.

Re:Alternate Reality = Real Life (1)

DrWho520 (655973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081228)

The weight of an object is based upon the amount of matter it has and the acceleration due to a local gravity field upong the object. The mass of an object is just the amount of matter it has, a fundemental quantity. Objects weigh less on the moon because the moon's gravitation pull is less than the earth. You can think of gravity as the interaction of two masses, with the medium that transmits the interaction being space-time. The moon has less gravity than Earth because it has less mass than Earth, so its interaction with other masses is less pronounced than the earths. You do not loose mass by moving to the moon, you just loose weight. Physics 101

Re:Alternate Reality = Real Life (1)

neltana (795825) | more than 7 years ago | (#18072488)

No, when I said "really, really heavy" I meant "deeply profound," because I personally can't think of anything more personally meaningful than money.

Re:Alternate Reality = Real Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18081152)

HAH-HAH, everybody point at the noob and laugh!

Beloved Other Thesaurus (0, Troll)

bsundhei (1053360) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070984)

So is "Beloved Other Half" British slang, game slang, or this guy just sounding like a whipped puppy who is just happy someone is staying with him? The article really could have done with 'my wife,' or hell, given her a name.

Re:Beloved Other Thesaurus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18071666)

It's British slang. "Other half" usually means wife. "Her indoors" is another term.

So that's where it was! (4, Informative)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18071682)

As a perplexcity player, I'll fill in the rest:

Perplexcity involved a series of puzzle cards, which somehow lead to a cube buried somewhere in the damned ground, and a big cash prize to whoever could find it. This also involved some online puzzling and drama, in the usual fashion of these types of games.

From the looks of things (and the whole Cube 2/3 bit), there's multiple cubes buried so that potentially an American player could win without traveling to England. This guy just happened to pull it off first.

Kudos.

I've always wondered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18072250)

I took a look at the site and thought about playing but I always wondered if it would be worth playing given the amount of time required vs. the reward.

Seems like the game devolved into a treasure hunt at the end where there was a very large possibility of "sniping" throughout.

The idea that the object was physically hidden somewhere was also put me off as that seemed to put a large burden on those outside of the UK. Seems like playing for a year or so only to find out the object was in a place most people couldn't realistically afford to go wouldn't exactly be "fun".

I've also wondered about the end result. Now that the game is "over" and the end location has been "spoiled"; how do people feel about the experience given that they can no longer "solve" the puzzle regardless of the cash reward?

Seems like the only reason to get involved, to me, is the process, not the end result. Which seems kinda odd in some respects.

Re:I've always wondered... (1)

GodaiYuhsaku (543082) | more than 7 years ago | (#18073676)

Well there's also the fact that they are starting up Season 2 next month. Plus you can still solve the cards for thier own puzzle sake. Some are fun. Some are frustrating. And earning the points will get you rewards. (when you earn X amount of points you earn a Leitmark. And they actually send you a pin/badge in the mail.) Its a small reward vs cost but its something. :)

Re:I've always wondered... (1)

pelrun (25021) | more than 7 years ago | (#18077282)

Seems like the only reason to get involved, to me, is the process, not the end result. Which seems kinda odd in some respects.

Really? Isn't that true of every game? If I put down my money for a Monopoly set or a copy of Half-Life 2 or a WoW subscription, am I really only doing it for the "end result", or am I interested in spending time playing the game?

Putting money into something to get a guaranteed end result is called investment...

Re:I've always wondered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18081014)

"Really? Isn't that true of every game? If I put down my money for a Monopoly set or a copy of Half-Life 2 or a WoW subscription, am I really only doing it for the "end result", or am I interested in spending time playing the game?"

Generally, people are interested in both. Both are what make a good experience. Games are always about risk vs. reward.

There are a lot of differences in the examples listed, however. One is the amount of time and effort involved, you don't generally spend a year or two playing a board game. You may spend a year or so trying to finish a video game, but there the end result is still there, it's reachable in many cases. WoW almost falls into a similar category as Perplex city, but with the exception that the game may not really end and even if there is one, it really does not effect other players.

Yes, one of the primary reasons for playing a game is the interaction / challenge / etc. But the other important thing is that it must have a resolution. If the resolution seem inequitable to the amount of investment players put in, then people may not play.

To me, Perplex city came off as something like studying chess for a year only to have a piece added at the last minute, making the game obsolete such that no one plays the original anymore and making your study of the game almost pointless.

What I don't get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18071712)

A) The finder states he didn't really complete any of the puzzles. Seemed like the whole "game" devolved at the end to a treasure hunt that was prone to sniping. I wonder how others who actually spent money to buy the cards or took the time to solve the puzzles feel about this?

B) The object was hidden on public property. What happens if it was accidentally found / dug up / thown out / etc.? How do you validate that the game is still in progress without tiping your hand? I guess they could have put a GPS tracker in the device?

Seems to me to play the game you would not have to care about either a), b) or the money?

Re:What I don't get (1)

pelrun (25021) | more than 7 years ago | (#18077228)

It's a pay-to-play game, not a pay-to-win game. It's not even very unusual - nobody buys a board game, or a computer game, or pumps their cash into WoW just to win a "big prize"; they do it to enjoy the gameplay and social interaction with other players. The same goes for the puzzle cards in Perplex City.

Re:What I don't get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18081198)

"It's a pay-to-play game, not a pay-to-win game."

No one said you "pay" to win, you do "play" to win, however. One does think that hard work within the game would have had some reward. That is part of what makes a game good, the risk and effort vs. the reward. Otherwise all it amounts to is a lottery. Like playing chess only to realize that once in checkmate, the winner is decided by a coin-flip, not by the pieces on the board.

What do you think would happen if the WoW people pulled the plug saying "Bob found the super item" the game is over, you all start a new game from level 1? Do you not think that some of the players would be upset? Also, why do you think there is a certain level of player anger over store-bought characters, items, etc.?

New NIN ARG (3, Interesting)

cliveholloway (132299) | more than 7 years ago | (#18072778)

There's a new Nine Inch Nails ARG [echoingthesound.org] based around the new concept albums (Year Zero and (possibly?) Year One). It's driving us crazy and the server's are periodically crashing under the load, so I thought I'd try and slashdot the ARG site to see if that helps :)

Re:New NIN ARG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18073248)

Yes, but the nine inch wankers don't include a prize with their ARG.

Re:New NIN ARG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18073670)

Plus, nobody is actually reading this thread.

Re:New NIN ARG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18075090)

I love wanking my nine inch!

Cube (1)

darkshadow (102598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18073812)

There is only one cube.
http://timecube.com/ [timecube.com]

Re:Cube (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18074290)

Haha, that's what I thought TFA was about.

Re:Cube (1)

falcon8080 (975701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18074742)

Actually, the only true cube worth using is http://www.miniaturecube.com/ [miniaturecube.com]

Re:Cube (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18076286)

the post about the timecube is weird and very creepy. this miniature cube however is amazing :)

Re:Cube (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18076502)

Its odd you should mention that, because a lot of ARGs take stuff like the Time Cube as inspiration. Take the NIN ARG, for example, seems to be taking a long, text-filled page out of the Time Cube book.

For the record, I believe the actual name of the Perplex City mcguffin is "The Receda Cube"

And yet still... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18080404)

...hardly anybody knows that it should be alternative, not alternate.
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