« Observing the net | Main | The Crazy Wisdom Sho »

September 02, 2004

ILoveBees Breaks Into the "Real World"


Beekeeping Mobs

Posted by vpisteve at 11:27 PM on Alternative Reality Gaming Network: August 24, 2004. It all began at 6:07 am PDT. Payphones from coast to coast began to ring. A twelve-hour wave of carefully planned phone calls began to sweep the country, and Halo fans, Beekeepers, the Media and the just plain curious were there to try to intercept them.

This morning, we got to find out what was in store for those who were following the events of Dana and the rogue AI attacking her aunt's website. While many were expecting Halo 2 demo disks, what they got instead was one of the largest, most complicated distributed interactions in ARG history. Hundreds of people around the country descended upon over 200 locales, working as a team to answer phone calls correctly, in order to unlock a series of audio clues.

While we don't have the space here to go into the story itself (for that, check the links below), here's how the whole thing worked: Players were presented with a web page that listed 30 blocks of seven GPS coordinates, which turned out to represent payphones around the country. Each location had a specific time attached, and each block of seven locations had a common password. As the phones started ringing at the exact corresponding time, players realized that they must respond correctly to the voice on the other end in order for something to happen. It was determined that players needed to provide the nickname for the AI that was calling them, plus the password listed for their location. If successful, the web-page immediately updated, indicating success. Two successful responses per group of seven then resulted in an audio file being unlocked. Players successfully unlocked 22 of 30 files the first day, with another chance to unlock the remaining ones every 24 hours. These audio files, when assembled, are revealing a fascinating story.

And this is only the beginning!

Forums and IRC channels broke all records today. The main chat room, #beekeepers, peaked at over 300 users at one point. In addition, the press is taking notice of what's going on. Word is that G4TV's Pulse will be airing a story about ilovebees this Friday, so stay tuned.

Here's a video of one event in Georgia. (6.7 MB)

Unfiction Ilovebees Forums
Plot Timeline

Photo credits
Berkeley: Stitch
Burbank: MrBabyMan

See also This Week in ARGs: Flash Mobs of Beekeepers?? and I Love Bees.

Posted by jo at September 2, 2004 10:27 AM


ilovebees appears to be a project of http://CAPitALLism.org: Art with backbone; backbone with art.

Who are we: You are us. We are a collection of leaders without titles. If one of us goes away, the project continues.

Current Focus: Our current primary focus is maximum wage reform as outlined in the Capitallism Manifesto. The primary project related to this is our CAPitALLism Affiliation Program (CAP), which gathers organizations who are fed up with soulless commercial spaces.

Beginnings: Urged in part by a political climate that declares itself in a state of emergency, CAPitALLism knows that if we're not careful we're going to end up exactly where we're heading.

Launched Thanksgiving, 2003, based in Los Angeles, we invent self-organizing ways to increase human rights and decrease the problems related to power conquests. We are a not-for-profit group.

The Open Directory Project lists us under Politics: Socialism: Theory. Others see more resemblance to the original and now lost spirit of capitalism. Net artists find their curiosities piqued. We were never very comfortable with labels, always weirded out by Hofferian mass 'true believer' movements. CAPitALLism is like CAPitALLism; red is the color of red.

Together we discuss, engage, and incubate principals of reform into our lives until it becomes us and inspires those around without ever having to say a word. Just try and catch up. Mixing theory, art, economics, and activism; our ambitions are unstoppable.

Posted by: Jo at October 12, 2004 02:11 PM

"For those who obsessively play I Love Bees, the point is to take part in the creation and distribution of the radio drama. To do so, players log onto the game's website each week to find the latest clues and a list of the pay phones that will be called."

The site lists the GPS coordinates for each phone and the time it will be called. More than a million unique visitors have come to the I Love Bees website, the game's designers said.

Six main characters from the year 2552 prepare for a great war in the storyline. Each time a player correctly answers a pay-phone question, he or she is treated to 30 seconds of new material. Over the course of the game, the plot unfolds, revealing a menacing alien army that threatens 26th-century Earth and only intervention from the past can help.

The most exciting element of the game for some players is the possibility that they will get one of the rare live calls in which the drama's actors talk to whoever answers the phone and then incorporate the conversation into the show itself." See "I Love Bees Game a Surprise Hit" at Wired: http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,65365,00.html?tw=rss.TOP

Posted by: Jo at October 19, 2004 10:11 AM