Adrian Hon, Perplex City

With recent developments surrounding 333 mysterious parcels being delivered to people around the world, and more specifically with the speculative meaning in the contents thereof, many questions were raised about the direction this game was taking. Perplex City is an ambitious project, first announced in February of 2004. In pre-game teaser episodes, it has run the standard alternate reality gaming gauntlet, from email puzzles and blogs to mysterious videos and live one-time events. These episodes have built a steady following among the ARG community over the past year. When a recent puzzle solution led to a sign-up page to receive a posted package, which turned out to contain a set of puzzle cards along with assorted Perplex City swag, chaos ensued as players tried to determine how they fit with the game so far.

Of course, the most obvious route to enlightenment was through Adrian Hon, currently known as "Executive Producer and Director of Play, Mind Candy Design" and the joint lead PuppetMaster behind this alternate reality game. It is unknown whether Mr. Hon was required to relinquish his duties as "Acting Ambassador Plenipotentiary to Perplex City" in order to take up his new post but we're hoping that, at the very least, the pay is better. Anyway, the point is he probably knows a thing or two about stuff and we figured he could set us straight.

Is the "reward" a real, monetary prize or a fictional one?

It is 100% real.

How do you believe the prize will affect the collaborative nature of the game? Do you anticipate a conflict between competition and collaboration?

The prize is merely an incentive to ensure that the Receda Cube is retrieved as quickly as possible, and to help spread the news of the missing cube. I'm sure there will be people who will not collaborate because they want all of the reward for themselves but I suspect that many will see the benefits in collaboration.

Do you expect people to break into teams?

It'll probably happen, but I don't think it'll be on a large scale.

Would teams be supported by the game (such as the leaderboard, distribution of the "reward") or will players be required to register some sort of unshareable individual accounts?

There are currently no plans for teams to be represented on the leaderboard. Please bear in mind that the leaderboard and points have nothing whatsoever to do with collecting the cube or the reward. As was stated in a recent Sentinel article, the points on puzzle cards are only there to mark individual achievement at solving puzzles.

It's simple enough – the person who returns the cube to us will receive £100,000. That person can do whatever they want with the money. They may not even have a single point to their name!

Is the leaderboard just about gaining individual reputation through points for puzzle solves, or will there be some other sorts of prizes to go along with high rankings?

The main purpose of the leaderboard is about displaying individual achievement. We have not decided anything beyond that.

Do you anticipate leaderboard rankings to be a bone of contention between players or to discourage collaboration on the card puzzles?

Not really, no.

Do you think "campers" who lurk the open forums for puzzle solves and then use them privately to increase their own leaderboard rankings without contributing back to the forum will affect how the forum community plays, for good or ill?

To be honest, I don't think that many forum community players will care about the leaderboard that much. I believe the real interest will be in the search for the cube. The people who just lurk to get puzzle solves are like those who buy a puzzle book and immediately check the back for the answers. What's the point in that? Where's the fun? Puzzle games aren't just about points or ranking, they're about the experience.

How do the cards combine with the web elements?

The cards offer a window into Perplex City and feature many of its people, places and websites, as has already been seen with the Group 333 cards. The cards are a great way for us to get the public in general interested in Perplex City and its missing cube. After all, we expect most people to buy the puzzle cards because they are fun in and of themselves, but we are basing them around Perplex City itself to gain their interest.

Can the game be played independently of purchasing cards?

You will always be able to access Perplex City websites and resources without buying a single card.

Will there be any restrictions on how the card information is shared between players?

No, not that we would be able to anyway. However, the puzzle cards are copyrighted so for legal reasons we cannot allow total sharing of card scans.

You've stated in a reply to the Wiki maintainers that you will allow low to medium resolution scans, text transcriptions, and high-resolution zoomed or magnified areas of cards to be publicly posted. I am unclear what the difference is between posting all of this information, which is presumably all that would be required to "play" a card, and simply posting a high-res image of a card. Are you concerned about possible forgeries? Is there some mechanism in place to prevent unscrupulous people from selling forged versions of the cards?

We are concerned about forgeries, partly because they would detract from the quality of the cards and the experience, and partly because we have to fund our efforts in some way.

If a player decides not to purchase any card packs, do they still have a chance of winning the grand prize?

Yes, absolutely. It will probably be more difficult though, since a strong familiarity with Perplex City will be required to figure out exactly who took the cube, why, and where it is now.

So the cards are an important but not required supplement to the goal of finding the Cube?

They will undoubtedly be a very important supplement, yes.

On the reverse, is it possible to find the cube solely by using the cards?

People will probably require more information about Perplex City than is on the cards to work out what we have not – where the cube is hidden.

Pages: 1 2