While looking at some alternate reality games this week I stumbled upon one called Something in the Sea. It was designed to promote a new videogame (Bioshock 2) and launched in 2009. The premise behind the game is to find the missing daughter of the main character, Mark Meltzer. During the year this game was played new messages, documents, photos, puzzles, and even prizes were slowly given out to help solve the mystery. On August 8th those who happened to be playing the game were also given coordinates of beaches where they could find prizes. Other things were given out too to those who wrote to Meltzer (the address was posted in the game).
One of the things I found so compelling about this ARG was the amount of detail that was put into this game. A yearlong timeline had to have been laid out and it had to be decided when to divulge different details. Not only was the planning extremely detailed, but the level of detail in the actual game was amazing as well. Even though the game is “over” now, I was able to still poke around and was fascinated by all of the different components. There are basically three areas and each area was so detailed that it looked almost real. The design was so well done you felt as if you were in the actual room (and had an eerie feeling from it).
A second area that I found interesting was the wiki that had been made for this game. It’s extremely detailed and reports every piece of the puzzle. There is also a daily entry of what document, message, or photo was given out that day. Anybody could post to this wiki and they definitely did a good job chronicling the game. Before recently learning about ARGs I was unaware that wikis and other forums were formed for games like this (especially those that only last for a certain time period). However, now that I do, I’m fascinated by them. The amount of organized details I find extremely interesting and proves how many people are into these types of games.
Something in the Sea was created as a promotional tool for the game Bioshock 2. From looking at a couple of reviews, the wiki and blog postings, I would say that it definitely got people talking. The fact that clues were slowly given out and it was a hard mystery to solve definitely got people thinking and discussing possible answers to the game.
Although I’m still not positive I would have the patience to play a game over a year span and slowly getting hints every couple of days, I applaud the game and the players. I am amazed at the design of the game, but also the endurance of those who played it for so long. I just hope that some of the prizes from the beach were worth it and the mystery of the missing girl was solved!