Daily Linksplosion: Monday, July 12, 2010

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“For a quality experience…” An I Love Bees retrospective

ilovebees It’s been nearly four and a half years since the release of Halo 2 on the original Xbox console. The game is remembered for a number of reasons—online functionality, the story, perhaps even the hype. But for a select group of fans, Halo 2 is remembered fondly not for its play features, but for the Halo 2 ad campaign: The Haunted Apiary, or I Love Bees.

I Love Bees is an ARG, or alternate reality game. What that means specifically is hard to quantify, but ARGs tend to share a few common characteristics. They are played in real time over a finite length of time; they involve group efforts in puzzle-solving, either online or in the real world; their stories are told in rather unconventional ways, ranging from clothing lines to trading cards to false newspapers to in-game websites in games over the years. As for I Love Bees, the main action of the game occurred at the website of the same name.

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On Howard Rheingold’s “Smart Mobs” and Nintendo’s SMS press announcement

Overload: or, welcome your new overlordWhen Game Life’s Chris Kohler reported that the Wii had finally outsold the Xbox 360 in the U.S. yesterday, he also reprinted Nintendo’s annoucement, which itself is written in a strange, alien shorthand. “After just 20 mos, Wii is the new console leader in the US @ nearly 10.9 million units, says NPD 2day.

Kohler received said information from Nintendo directly—not through a formal press release, but instead through a text message.

That’s a text message that Nintendo of America just sent to journalists’ phones, knowing they’d be away from their desks covering E3. (The company used the same delivery medium to announce the Wii MotionPlus controller on Monday.)

Although Kohler’s SMS message from Nintendo isn’t the main point of his update, I find this unbelievably interesting. Two days ago I noted that I’d followed E3 news and rumors using Twitter almost exclusively—and using the new Twitteriffic iPhone app, at that. “When I look over my Twitter friend-feed,” I’d said (yes, quoting myself is bizarre), “it’s like this extremely concise liveblog written by ten or twenty people.”

Nintendo, SMS, and Howard Rheingold’s ‘Smart Mobs’: connecting the dots


The Dark Knight: Play Till It Hurts

At our last office job, a certain coworker was quick to email with links to every new microsite that pertained to Dark Knight’s ongoing ARG/viral marketing campaign (each new puzzle is part of a larger online scavenger hunt, see). Frankly, it’s really very interesting—and maybe heartening, in a way—to see all these fans assembling clues, as if the whole internet were tackling a single problem together.

Yesterday, fans received SMS messages that eventually led them to www.whysoserious.com/laughtilithurts...

Laugh Til It Hurts carnival/circus flash game

...which is the site of the boringest flash game in the world. Think ‘Desert Bus’. Seriously, it’s horrible.

But the forumgoers at SuperHeroHype.com are relentless. And thanks to the efforts of someone who a) hacked whysoserious.com; b) actually played an utterly perfect game, or c) works at Warner and deliberately leaked some information to hurry this along, the message board discovered the knack to escaping the game and getting a redirect to the super-secret video. The video itself contains one still frame of Heath Ledger as the Joker; the internet kids have continued to painstakingly analyze the footage.


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