Numb3rs ARG: “Primacy”CBS commissioned area/code to conceive and develop an ARG for an episode of the TV show Numb3rs. Working directly with the writers and producers of the show, the character of “Spectre” was born – a game designer gone bad. From the Wall Street Journal:
“…For many players, including Brooke Thompson, a 36-year old web designer in Atlanta, the game was kicked off by an email from a character in a Numb3rs episode named Spectre. Working collaboratively, players found clues and shared discoveries. Some of the first clues were unearthed on chainfactor.com via error messages that popped up when people were playing the site’s main attraction, a Tetris-like game. Clues took them to a quest from a digital billboard at the Mall of America … to ads on mobile Web sites.”
The game’s landscape extended across all CBS media, including: CBS outdoor (billboards from Times Square to San Francisco, even in subways), CBS mobile (Video Sports Alerts) CBS online (CBS News, CBS Sportsline, Showbuzz), CBS prime time television (commercials aired [1,2] during subsequent Numb3rs episodes). The game brought the life of the episode from a single hour to 6 weeks and brought over 500,000 players into the Numb3rs universe and narrative.
At the center of the ARG is area/code’s casual game at chainfactor.com, still live, with several million games played thus far.
ringtone as collective cheer
|Numb3rs / Chain Factor
persistent play, GPS telemetry, live sharks
|The Sopranos A&E Connection
live television, sync-to-broadcast
semacodes, camera phones, treasure hunt, giant game pieces
mobile, GPS, multi-player
Wi-Fi positioning, laptops, mobile browsers
mobile, camera phones, image processing
|Media Res Server