Wow. I’ve seen some impressive Alternative Reality Games before (namely, ILoveBees by Bungie leading up to Halo 2), but Valve’s new endeavor, PotatoFools, has certainly taken the cake… no pun intended.
If you’re unaware, Valve launched the Potato Sack pack of indie games on April 1st. It includes 13 games, features a few Portal 2 themed levels for those games and even some Portal 2 content for Team Fortress 2. However, a few users started noticing something weird about the updates for each of the indie games. A little bit of digging turned up a lofty and epic ARG straight from Valve.
I can’t even begin to describe how everything has gone down, so you should check out the PotatoFools ARG thread over on the Steam Forums for the full break down of all the events since April 1st. Needless to say, it’s absurdly impressive. We’re talking cross game clues, passwords, messages from Gabe Newell himself, anonymous e-mails from employees, a special clue hidden on the side of a building in the Netherlands, a surveillance camera watching the forum user that found the clue, secret frames referencing top ARG players in the newest Portal 2 trailers… and that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface.
The point of all of this? Nobody really knows, although speculation right now is that it’s pointing towards an early release of Portal 2 on Steam for this Friday. Who knows if that’s the case, though.
The funny thing is, I happen to be pals with Matt “LordNed” Hoffman, one of the main driving forces behind collecting information for the ARG (you’ll see him referenced in the thread quite a bit). I asked him what the current status is, and he had this to report:
Several ARG administrators are gone. A couple are acting strange, giving cryptic hints that translate about to “Please help she’s killing me”, a POTATO logo was updated to show a figure inside a portal. A whiteboard states that two people are dead, GLADOS took over the wiki and has control over it.
Yikes. So what do you guys think of all this craziness? Has anyone been following it?
Source – Portal 2 ARG thread on the Steam Forums