Portland, OR (PRWEB) March 22, 2007
Unfiction Inc., the leading online community for Alternate Reality Gaming, today announced that it had received its largest-ever donation. The $8,000 sum will fund the community's hosting and overhead costs for an entire year.
The gift came from Andy Darley, recent winner of Perplex City's Season One cash prize, and will allow Unfiction to focus on continuing to offer a sustainable, free resource for players of Alternate Reality Games (ARGs).
Explaining his financial support for Unfiction, Darley said: "Perplex City is the first ARG to end with a significant sum of money in the hands of one of its players, and it's only right that some of that money should find its way back to benefit the whole ARG community."
Unfiction's work includes:
- Hosting the leading online forum for players of Alternate Reality Games
- Sponsoring a yearly ARGFest and Conference that allows players and developers a unique opportunity to discuss and learn about developments in the genre
- Aiding the promotion and development of the genre through collaborations with other sites dedicated to ARGs
Founder Sean Stacey said: "This extremely generous contribution by Andy Darley will allow us to focus our attention for the first time on future projects instead of having to worry about where next month's hosting costs will come from. We will now be able to concentrate on building up other revenue streams, and directing those revenues towards the growth and promotion of the genre as a whole.
"It may not seem like a great deal of money to some people but all of our work is done by volunteers, without whom we would be hard-pressed to continue, and this is a great opportunity for us. We are very grateful to Mr. Darley for this gift."
Stacey initially founded Unfiction - based in his home town of Portland, Oregon - as a hobby site in an attempt to explain a new, burgeoning type of entertainment to which he had become hooked during the web game "The Beast", a promotion for the movie "AI". He coined the name 'Alternate Reality Gaming' to describe the genre while serving as a player-moderator for Lockjaw, one of the first successful independent ARGs.
Since then, Unfiction has not only provided a location for players to congregate, play together, and discuss genre meta-concepts, it has facilitated a series of informal celebrations, dubbed ARGFest-o-Con, since 2003.
ARGFest-o-Con has since grown from a simple player gathering to include power-hitting conference speakers and panel sessions. The most recent conference in San Francisco, California, was held in early March of 2007 and included genre trailblazers from 42 Entertainment, ARG Studios, GMD Studios, Stitch Media, Lonelygirl15, SFZero, and Giant Mice.
However, the rapid growth of the ARG genre has put pressure on Unfiction, which was funded solely by Stacey until July of 2004 when the Halo 2 promotion, "I Love Bees," captured an eager - and enormous - audience. The rapid influx of players to the site led Unfiction to ask for donations in order to help defray the increasing costs of providing a service free of advertising or subscriptions.
The community has since supported such efforts as branded T-shirts, sales of a bound copy of the Mu Book - originally written for the web as a history of the independent MetaCortechs game that Stacey helped to produce - and auctions of player- and developer-donated ARG-related memorabilia, as with last year's auction of a complete set of Perplex City Season One cards, contributed jointly by Mind Candy and the Perplex City player community.
During Perplex City's first season some 50,000 players in 92 countries worked to solve a series of complex clues scattered across collectible puzzle cards and websites with an ultimate aim of recovering the "Receda Cube," an "artefact of extreme importance" to the fictional world of Perplex City. For his efforts in digging up the Cube and returning it to the Mind Candy offices in London, Darley received a reward of £100,000 (US $200,000).
Why was Unfiction so important to Darley? "While Unfiction certainly isn't the only place where PXC players gather - indeed, it may no longer even be the main place - it's still the biggest and most important resource for players across the broad spectrum of ARGs," he said.
At ARGFest-o-Con 2007, Stacey stated that it was his goal to provide an example for how these types of games could be played, in the hopes that other locales and groups would eventually also take up the banner and spread the word about community-driven, social, and collaborative problem-solving for fun. "There certainly isn't any one way to play an Alternate Reality Game," he said.
With over 13,000 registered members, the Unfiction Forum - or, "Unforum" - is the largest discussion area on the Internet dedicated to Alternate Reality Gaming, "chaotic fiction," and related puzzle games, trails, and contests. "It's also where I personally spent the whole of [PXC] Season One - which means I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to the community that formed there," said Darley.
About Unfiction: Unfiction is a long-time supporter of the genre of Alternate Reality Gaming. It was founded in Spring 2002 by Sean Stacey and has become a home for the leading community forum dedicated to playing Alternate Reality Games. The site is community-sponsored and makes a strong effort to sustain itself without relying on advertising revenue or subscriptions. Unfiction Inc. is a privately held corporation.
About Andy Darley: Darley is a freelance web designer whose work includes his Cube microsite at http://www.andthenhesaid.com/cube and the e-commerce site http://www.mybathroomfinder.com. A former journalist and politician, he has also contributed to a forthcoming collection of short stories from Sunnyvale, CA, publisher No Record Press (http://www.no-record.com/) entitled The Red Anthology.
About Perplex City: "The alternate reality game Perplex City (PXC) is a real-life treasure hunt, a collaborative competition and an interactive mystery/conspiracy/adventure story, in the vein of "Alice in Wonderland", William Gibson's "Pattern Recognition", "the Da Vinci Code", 'The Game' starring Michael Douglas, and Kit Williams's "Masquerade," says the Perplex City Wiki. Perplex City is a production and trademark of Mind Candy Design, based in the United Kingdom.
About Alternate Reality Gaming: According to Wikipedia: "An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform, often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell a story that may be affected by participants' ideas or actions...ARGs are growing in popularity, with new games appearing regularly and an increasing amount of experimentation with new models and subgenres."
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