Valve have been around a while, and they’ve seen promotions come and go, taking notes on what works and what doesn’t. It looks like one strategy they’ve underlined in their notebook is the fabled Alternate Reality Game, or ARG.
If you’ve also been around a while, the concept will be familiar to you, but new-comers to the games industry might be confused, hearing stories in hushed tones about cryptic emails, real-world clues and late-night phonecalls. Looks like Valve have brought the idea into the modern day as well, and it all focusses on the 13-game Potato Sack, launched onto Steam a couple of weeks ago.
At the time, we didn’t think much of it. The game popped up in the weekly best-seller list a couple of times, and we were pleased that this collection of indie games was selling so well.
Now, though, internet detectives have gotten out their magnifying glasses, their fingerprint powder and a healthy dose of suspicion, and dug up all sorts of things hidden within the Sack. Most of it seems to relate back to the Aperture Science Laboratory…
…wow, he talks even faster than I do!
Games featured in the bundle have been receiving sudden – and quite strange – updates, which saw a GLaDOS-themed level appearing in Bit.Trip Beat. Amnesia now features “20% more horror and 10% less cake”, while The Ball has seven new stages, Rush features a Companion Cube or two, and Chell has her own themed-ship in Audiosurf.
It’s all a little bit crazy, the deeper you go, the more you find. Portal fans (and ARG nerds) have created a comprehensive wiki to keep track of all the new information – and they claim it all points to one thing.
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