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Real World perspective.
Flynn Lives ARG Timeline
The following is a timeline of all the phases of the Flynn Lives ARG.
Phase 1: Flynn Lives! (July 2009)
July 21, 2009
Several movie-related websites posted they had received via mail a pair of Flynn's Arcade golden coins along with a flash drive. Its content was an animated gif image that showed CSS code lines. Four of them were put together and part of the code was cracked, revealing the url to FlynnLives.com. Clicking on a tiny spider in the lower section of the main page led to a countdown clock that hit zero on July 23, 2009, 9:30pm PDT.
- Homeoftron.com was found after the phrase appeared on the back of the arcade tokens.
July 23, 2009
Flynn's Arcade was re-opened at a location shown after a scavenger hunt at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con, with several Space Paranoids arcade machines and a variety of '80s video games. Entering secret codes found after beating each Space Paranoids game would eventually reveal a desktop background of the new light cycle, as well as the new high quality teaser trailer (Derezzed) for TRON: Legacy. People at the arcade were presently treated to a full-size light cycle from the new movie on display. (This light cycle also went on display tours to numerous entertainment events around the continent)
Phase 2: Operation: TRON! (February–April 2010)
February 15, 2010
Boxes were sent out to participants through the mail. Each contained one of three Bits (blue/neutral, yellow/yes, or red/no) and had "/zerohour" written on the inside lid. Going to Flynnlive.com/Zerohour revealed a binary countdown to 11:00am EST (4:00pm GMT) on February 24. On February 18, a message began to slowly form beneath the countdown clock, listing 27 of city names around the globe.
February 24, 2010: Zero Hour
The countdown ended, and the website was updated with a grid and a list accompanying the 27 city names. A scavenger hunt began in 27 cities to find Tron wallets filled with arcade tokens, papers and collector's cards. Times and places were revealed 3 at a time for 9 hours, and the first people arriving at each location received a phone from the contact, from which they were given information on where to pick up the aforementioned package. When codes printed on the cards are entered into ZeroHour, the corresponding image appeared in the grid, and clicking on the picture of the card caused it to turn over to reveal a piece of a larger poster. Once all 27 locations had their instructions and all codes were entered, the No bit below the grid became "Yes", and clicking it led to Pitcell.com, with information about exclusive, limited IMAX screenings in five cities. Tickets were distributed on a first come, first served basis, beginning at 4:00pm EST from Pitcell.com.
- Additionally, once the entire poster was revealed, an icon in the lower right next to the Yes Bit began blinking in a repeating pattern. Converting the dots from binary values indicates which cards to flip in a particular order - in doing so, the location of a secret forum was revealed. Posts on the forum mentioned "ENCOM International", and going to ENCOMInternational.com accessed up the fictitious company's website.
- Flynnlives.com received a new look to match ZeroHour's more TRON-like theme. Players could now register for profiles on the site, which allowed for registering for mailings and phone calls and the ability to earn "achievements" for their accomplishments. A video summarizing the SDCC 2009 event was also added.
February 25, 2010
- Tickets for the screenings were released on Pitcell.com.
February 27, 2010
Screenings at IMAXs occurred. The theatres showed the new full trailer of TRON: Legacy, running about 2:30 in length. After the screening participants, were given Flynn Lives t-shirts.
March 8, 2010
Flynnlives.com and the FlynnLives fan page on Facebook posted a video wrap-up of the ZeroHour event (video link), and it was quickly noticed that codes quickly flashed occasionally in the corner. Putting them together led to 5xrp2tk0p10ixnl7ga4e82an3s.net. The puzzle was solved leading to a new website, where the Pitcell trailer was hosted for the public.
March 10, 2010: Infiltrate ENCOM
Flynnlives.com was updated, including three new threads in the Flynnlives.com's message boards. One included a link to a new video game quiz hosted at ArcadeAid.com. Completing the quiz awarded users with up to four ENCOM Badges, including completion of an Encom membership badge to be shipped by mail.
March 17, 2010
The first ENCOM badges arrived. The badge included a QR Code that refers to the ENCOM Intranet at http://www.encominternational.com/employeeintranet.
- Login consists of the Employee ID number and FlynnLives.com profile password
March 24, 2010
Following apress release and video interview with IGN (link), Alan Bradley was scheduled to appear in San Francisco at 8pm on April 2 at Justin Herman Plaza to announce a major new product from ENCOM International.
- A new thread on the Flynn Lives message boards lead to Cheatcode, a program that decodes the intranet login information for existing ENCOM employees. Using this, five new logins were discovered, including those of Alan Bradley and ENCOM CEO Kurt Hardington. An email in Hardington's inbox linked to a remote access version of his computer desktop.
March 30, 2010
New threads are posted on the Flynn Lives message boards, clarifying some details of the ENCOM press event. While there will be a VIP section for ENCOM employees (i.e.: players with badges), the event will be open to the general public. Also, there will be a Flynn Lives meetup that day at the Hyatt Regency grand ballroom from 6:15-7:45 pm, immediately preceding the press conference.
- New emails are added to ENCOM Intranet accounts. Kurt Hardington's inbox contains a link to an uncut version of IGN's interview with Alan Bradley, which features more information about Kevin Flynn.
April 1, 2010
Operation Tron, a Flynn Lives page promoting the San Francisco events, was found through the Flynnlives.com home page.
April 2, 2010: San Francisco Events
The ENCOM Press Event was a success (for the FLO) - supporters gathered before Alan's announcement to brief on instructions for infiltrating the stage, and after heading to ENCOM's event Alan opened up (with an appearance by Lora) and announced the upcoming release of Space Paranoids Online. The speech was interrupted by the FLO in support of Kevin Flynn and a parachutist who was soon to be discovered as Sam Flynn himself.
- Event recap from IO9.com (link)
April 8, 2010
The Flynn Lives message boards and Group 7 ENCOM Intranet accounts were updated with information about the fallout from the press conference and Sam Flynn's stunts. After discovering the executive level intranet accounts were compromised, ENCOM has shut them down; their content been mirrored at Flynnlives.com (link).
Phase 3: Space Paranoids (April–May 2009)
April 15, 2010
The ENCOM front page site was updated with information regarding the upcoming Space Paranoids Online game. A trailer can be viewed online (link)
April 28, 2010: Sam Tracker
Sam Tracker was added to the Flynn Lives site. The site asked for players to find Sam Flynn's current location and enter it into an input box on the page.
- A newspaper article on the Flynn Lives forums discussed Sam's graduation from Wellminster Academy, leading to the school's website. Entering his name into the student search feature accessed his school records.
- One of the records mentions that Sam worked with Amazon Capoeira, a martial arts school in Brazil. Their website says that the group is based in the town of Rio Fiamente and has Sam pictured as one of the fighters.
- Entering "Rio Fiamente" into the Sam Tracker page confirmed that Sam was at the Amazon Capoeira and brings up a link to Unlocksamflynn.com. The goal was to find the combination to Sam's locker and open it.
- In addition to the new sites, the ENCOM Intranet has been updated with more emails and Group 7 updates. One of them talked about the McClaskey Airstrip; its website links to Perfect Parachutes, who made Sam's 89 parachute.
- Calling the phone number on the Perfect Parachutes accessed a voice mail mentioning Dumont Shipping, a subsidiary of ENCOM. Entering their shipping page (by logging in with an Encom badge ID), one order in particular stands out: a shipment to Brazil the day after the press conference, referring the code #273824.
- Use 27-38-24 as the combination to open Sam's locker. Inside the locker are various personal effects: a camcorder featuring a video message from Sam to Flynn Lives, an MP3 player loaded with Daft Punk songs (Daft Punk is composing the TRON: Legacy score), and a copy of Kevin Flynn's book Digital Gaming. Various passages are underlined in the book; they spell out encominternational.com/spaceparanoidsonline, a countdown to the release of the new Encom game.
May 1, 2010
Players who took part in the Sam Tracker trail by entering Sam's location into the website begin receiving a package from Flynn Lives. It contains a note thanking the player for helping to find Sam, two 89 logo stickers, an 89 logo pin and a Space Paranoids pin. If the player got the Overkill badge by destroying 999 Recognizers on the Space Paranoids countdown page, an additional note is included congratulating them on their achievement.
May 6, 2010: Space Paranoids Online
- The countdown to Space Paranoids Online expired, leading to the online game, and secret files.
- A summary of the search for Sam Flynn is posted to http://www.flynnlives.com/trackingsam_overview
- New communications were posted to the ENCOM Intranet.
May 13, 2010: Laying Low
A news post on the Flynn Lives home page revealed that the group was going underground to plan their next move against ENCOM, and would not be communicating with players for the next few weeks. In addition, Arcade Aid is no longer accepting requests for new ENCOM badges, and the ENCOM Intranet is shut down for all Group 7 users.
Phase 4: ???
June 30, 2010
ENCOM postcards depicting classic video games released by ENCOM begin arriving at people's homes. On their backs is a dark box that when viewed under a UV light reveal dots that appear to be unique to the game depicted on the postcard. Four postcards, four video games, were reported initially. More are expected to be received.