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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Spider-Man ARG game!



If you like our Facebook page, you would have noticed that on Thursday we put up a post about Peter Parker's dad, Richard Parker making a visit to Chicago later in the day.  Since I'm a huge Alternate Reality Game fan I was hoping to be able to participate, but I had a few errands to run and a meeting at work later in the day, so my hopes were kind of low.  As luck would have it, I was in the right place at the right time during this run of the ARG game.


Now for those that do not know what an Alternate Reality Game is, it is an experience, movie, video game and television studios use to build hype for upcoming releases.  The companies hide clues in posters, print ads, or commercials that lead to websites where fans get to solve clues that lead to more websites and prizes.  For movie studios the final prize is usually an advance screening of whatever movie is being promoted.


I have been fortunate enough to participate in a few of these ARG's in the past.  From running around in the Navy Pier area for The Dark Knight, to naming hundreds of video games for Tron Legacy, to currently playing along with two games for the new Spider-Man movie: Mark of the Spider-Man and Webbed-Menace.  These games are cool because not only do they provide hype for the movie, but they also reward those that participate in them.

Some of my ARG prizes/gifts.
Gotham Times Paper
Badge From Flynn Lives












A thank you for participating.


Posters I got from Webbed-Menace



Back to this past Thursday.  During the morning I kept checking the Mark of the Spider-Man and ScaleSeeker twitter feeds to see the clues that they were releasing regarding Richard Parker's itinerary.  On the itinerary there were a list of cities and times when the event was supposed to to go live.  Once the event went live, the link on the page took you to a handwritten message with an address and password.  Once these two items were released, the first person that got to the specific area and spoke the password was given a package: Richard Parker's bag.

I had just dropped my wife off at her job when I saw the Chicago site went live.  I pulled over to read the tweet and saw that the address was nearby.  I immediately used my phone to find the directions of the location and saw that it was a few blocks away from where I just was.  I turned around and started driving back to said location.  On my way there I was expecting to receive the tweet saying that the item was found, but the closer I got to the location I was not getting any new messages.

The location was the International Museum of Surgical Science, which kind of makes sense since Peter Parker's dad was a scientist.  When I got to the location, I took a deep breath and crossed my fingers that I was the first one there.  As I walked in I saw a guy sitting on the stairs wearing a Spider-Man shirt and I walked up to him.  He told me I have to go into the admission desk and I turned around and went to the lady at the counter.  When I went to her, it was something like a spy movie. I told her what I was there for and she asked me for the password.  After a few words were exchanged the guy came in and verified the information and nodded to her.  

Here it was the moment of truth, there have been a few times when I did not get to the location on time (Super 8 Blu-Ray giveaway) and this time I was the first one there.  When she gave me the bag, the guy told me to look carefully in the bag and its contents and post online whatever I find.  He then took my information and told me I will be contacted shortly about tickets for an advance screening.  While he was giving me this information another guy came through the door and saw us and asked if he missed it.  As I left the late guy told me he was from unfiction and had already seen pictures of what was inside the bag.  I told him that I was heading to work and would go through the bag as soon as possible.

Richard Parker's Bag.

After work I went home and immediately started looking through the bag. Inside the bag there was: an old calculator, a cell phone, two spiders encased in glass, pens, a pair of reading glasses, some quarters and train tokens, Richard Parker's Oscorp ID Badge.  I thought that was all, but then I saw a hidden zipper inside the back pocket.  When I opened it up there was a file folder inside with documents, overhead projector sheets with pictures of spiders and a picture of Richard Parker and Dr. Curtis Connors.

The Grids.
The bag and it's contents.

 
One thing that stood out to me was each paper had 2 small 8x8 grids with letters randomly placed inside the squares.  I figured out that this had to lead to something and immediately got online to find out what they meant.  I wasn't having any luck then I jumped on twitter and was instantly flooded with request to post my grinds online.  These request led to the unfiction forums and then I was given a link to an online Google document where people were posting the letters from the grids.  It seemed like I was one of the last ones to post my letters, because a few seconds after posting them up the mystery was solved: a free screening

This was a lot of fun to be a part of and I really can't wait to see The Amazing Spider-Man when it comes out. Thank you to Mark of the Spider-Man for doing a cool viral for the movie, the guys at unfiction for their patience: @ObFuSc8, @rcrT, and Tseug (who informed me about the forum as we were leaving the museum) for helping me out and leading me to the Google document and breaking the code. A big thank you goes to my wife for canceling her first CPR appointment and rescheduling it for that day.

The Amazing Spider-Man comes out in theaters July 3, 2012.

UPDATE: The company that makes the bags, Cenzo Bags, used the picture from our post on their website and added a link to this story.  If you are interested in finding out more about the bag or how you can purchase one from them visit them today. The link provided takes you directly to the bag that was used in The Amazing Spider-Man.