*parg

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The Black Watchmen is an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), a puzzle-centric format of gaming that utilizes a multimedia approach to create scenarios that test a wide variety of skills and knowledge. 

Basically? If you’ve always wanted to get a crack at being a secret agent, here’s your chance at doing so.

The concept of this ARG originally existed as a promotion for an MMO that was well-received with fans. With permission from that parent company, they developed their startup company, Alice & Smith, and launched a successful Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight campaign.

A concern of Alice & Smith after their initial MMO promotion campaign was that ARGs often exist as just that – promotions for larger companies, games, products, and concepts; independent ARGs unfortunately often don’t last very long. Therefore, The Black Watchmen exists as a PARG, or a Permanent ARG, with the intent to exist beyond a short-term period and continue to create content, much like an MMORPG.

After months of testing, promoting, playing around with ideas, and getting feedback, the official and Steam release of the game has been announced for June 25!

The devs, who work closely with the community, have given us hints into the future of the game, and it’s a bright (if paranoia-filled) one:

  • Live events that involve community online work and/or physical presence
  • Immersion levels let you opt in to calls, texts, emails, etc. that will be sent to different players 
  • You can also opt in to have physical presence (possibly via geocaching, packages, meetups? they’re hiding it from us) 
  • A comic released based off the game’s events, featuring active players 
  • Select players (who are going through the selection process right now) will be given deeper immersion

Also a good majority of this game is puzzles and ciphers, and the community is always willing to come and help (or join you in despair) via IRC or the in-game group puzzle system. 

The game’s first “season” of missions and story will begin as soon as the game is released June 25, so if you want to join keep your eye out!

(I think the price right now will be $30-$35 for one “season,” or for about three months or about 30 hours of content.)

[WARNING: The game is rated M, it may have mature content such as violence, gore, blood, and other grosteque themes.]

Links: 

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