Perplex City ARG Starts Season 2

With a £100,000 prize for Season 1, and the promise of smaller but more frequent rewards for Season 2, the alternate reality game (ARG) promises "new mysteries, new adventures, [and] new gameplay" for its 50,000 UK and US players, and began yesterday with the news of a grisly murder. If you've never heard of, or played, an ARG, you're certainly not the first. While Microsoft, Electronic Arts, ABC (for its show LOST), Nine Inch Nails, and others have dipped their hand into the ARG arena (sometimes twice, as with Microsoft's A.I. and Halo 2 ARGs), they all share the "This Is Not A Game aesthetic ... [dictating] that the game not behave [like one]."

Wikipedia continues with other key factors of the ARG experience:

"... the design was directed at a collective of players that shared information and solutions almost instantly, and incorporated individuals possessing almost every conceivable area of expertise. While the game might initially attract a small group of participants ... they would reach out and draw in others with the knowledge they needed to overcome the obstacles ...

Although more recent games like Perplex City offered prizes (for the finding of the Receda Cube, which took three years and earned its discoverer Andy Darley £100,000; read his endgame discourse), ARGs share a communal aspect where solutions and answers are never hoarded but always shared: it's the game playing community, not the individual, that keeps the game moving forward. The BBC continues:

[ARGs] use real world events and clues planted on the internet, television and newspapers to guide players on a real-life treasure hunt ... Perplex City also used puzzle cards, bought in shops and on the internet, that contained optical illusions, cryptography, and riddles. The rarest cards have traded hands for more than £200 on online auction sites.

With the finding of the Cube, designers Mind Candy Design concluded Perplex City's Season 1, drew back the curtain to give the players a look and, wasting no time, launched Season 2 on March 1st, 2007. Season 2 puzzle cards have either been shipped, or are on their way, to retailers in the UK and the US. They are also available online at

For Season 2, however, they've made a clearer line in the sand: the primary site, We Love Puzzles, collects many different types of "casual" online puzzles, including Daily Puzzles that increase your standing in the Season 2 Leaderboard, as well as the physical puzzle cards themselves (granted to us Earthlings from the intellect-loving puzzlistas of Perplex City). The alternate reality game, on the other hand, was renamed "Perplex City Stories" and has started trickling teasers at, with a full launch in April.