Valve’s Impressive Portal 2 PotatoFools ARG

Portal 2 ARG

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

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

11 thoughts on “Valve’s Impressive Portal 2 PotatoFools ARG”

  1. Very impressive indeed, been trying to keep up with it! Tons of stuff going on though. Just a shame I’m away this weekend if it is an early release…

  2. I tend to be a Rubbernecker on most ARG’s mainly because they happen to start at a time when I am busy with school midterms and the like. I have, However, been following the Portal 2 ARG since April 1st, I have not been very influential when it comes to solving the puzzles but I try to do what I can. My favorite clue so far has to be the message hidden in weird chirps in the Steam Podcast. These chirps, when run through a spectrogram show “There’s a hole in the sky through which I can fly” My favorit “test” has to be the old school text based game in Defense Grid.

    The thing I like about ARG’s is that it combines two of my loves, point and click adventure/puzzle games like Myst, and geocaching.

  3. I actually bought this a week or two ago and I haven’t noticed anything. Haven’t spent too much time playing the games but still a good amount.

  4. For anyone wondering what the heck an ARG is (Like I was) here is a good definition –
    (I know the definition is also on the forum too)

    So this is awesome. I have never heard of this stuff. I think its a great marketing campaign, and a tricky and fun way for community members to have a little extra fun. Its like super secret FBI stuff during the cold war trying to crack a code haha. Really great article!

  5. Hey did you guys make this article because of the comment I posted a few days ago asking for it or did you just do it on your own?

    1. Ha, it was a combo Jerry. Comments, seeing it a few other places then actually going and reading about the darn thing myself. It’s fascinating.

  6. unfortunately half the blog got cut off by either hackers or valve. The last few posts have been replaced with “Reserved for Science, you monster.” Im thinking It’s valve but many of these ARG guys have been hacked recently. Do you know of any sites that have the info?

  7. No, it’s not cut off. AFAIK, they have a symbol limit for each post. So, if he finds out more info, he already has space in the front page.

  8. [quote comment=”16146″]All this for an indie game ad.[/quote]

    lol, I think that rebooting GLaDOS means more than people think, there is bound to be more to this than meets the eye.

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