There are aliens among us. No, I’m not talking about the fake Hollywood aliens like the ones soon to be on movie screens worldwide this Friday when J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek is released. I’m talking about honest to goodness alien beings hiding out among us human folk here on this island Earth!
You think I’m joking — and I am. Kinda. Here’s the skinny: About a month ago or so, hardcore Trek fans hungry for any scrap of info about Abrams’ much-buzzed-about reboot stumbled across a website called thecobrasnake.com, which apparently has been throwing "Star Trek Dance Parties" (seriously) across the world to get people pumped for the flick. They began noticing something peculiar in the posted photos that were taken at these parties — something like binary code, penciled on the walls. These codes turned out to be website addresses, which have in turn served as the starting line for a global alternate reality game (ARG) that has taken on a bizarre life of its own.
Now, reporting on puzzle-driven ARG entertainments is mucho tricky, because the process of discovering and problem solving is a big part of the fun. So let me say this much: The plot concerns a group of Trek-esque aliens (Romulans?) scattered across the globe who are trying to do…something. Perhaps this something is nefarious; perhaps this something is heroic. You have to figure out which — and then figure out how to participate in the story. For those who are intrigued to play and then catch up, I suggest beginning here, which provides a summary of the first stages of the game. Then, move here, where you’ll learn more about the central figures in the storyline.
The genius, capture-the-imagination part of this ARG has been theway the game has found ways to bleed into real life. Fans in Berlin,for example, followed the clues to find the hideout of one of the aliens,complete with half-eaten pudding and green blood. Meanwhile,industrious fans in the United Kingdom cracked clues and discovered a crash site in the countryside. There are other aspects to the ARG, too, including videos, and I hear there could be a television component, too.
In my opinion: way cool. It’s certainly more fun than your usual moviepromotion. Presumably, the ARG ends this Friday with the release of thefilm. Check back here in the coming week for more info. In the meantime, if you have tips about the game to passalong, feel free to post below — or send to me at JeffJensenEW@aol.com.