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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Find Me: Billion To One Man

Think there's anything more to this photograph?

Well, this seemingly unexceptionally photograph of one man, a so called "Satoshi" has such a captivating story ... or rather, lack of story, that he is now in the center of a global man hunt.

No, he's not a criminal, but through the efforts of hundreds of participants the discovery of his identity has become synonymous with a massive reward. One gaming company,
Mind Candy, based in England, but now sporting a worldwide following, has created a global search for the so-called Receda Cube - a prize attainable only by solving sets of puzzle cards in the hottest new alternate reality game - Perplex City. As more cards are released, 256 in total, players strive to answer questions of varying difficulty in the hope of uncovering more information behind the nature of Perplex City, it's characters, and most importantly - the location of the Cube. With his photograph featured prominently on one of the most challenging cards in the series, Satoshi challenges Perplex City participants to go all lengths to fulfill the card's message : 私を見つけなさい = watashi o mitsukenasai = find me. And the response has been startling.

By consolidating their efforts, participants have created a grassroots search that invokes the power of the six degrees of separation principle to flood the internet with e-mails and weblinks to this man's image in the hope of finding someone who recognizes him. Websites like haveyouseenhim.info and billion2one.org have sprung up in the hopes of expediting this search. And progress is being made, with a lively forum discussion and a positive match on the location where the photo was taken (Katyserberg, Alsace, France) - following the progression of the hunt definitely makes for some pretty bizarre yet fascinating entertainment.

The most interesting thing to come out of this project, however, is the wealth of advertising being done on behalf of Mind Candy and their new brand of gaming. This business approach, which spreads word of the game through the wide reaching impact of it's challenges, not only captivates and individual's imagination, but lets them follow along with the story and become potential participants themselves by buying cards and amassing points through the main website. With the success of the Perplex City project, I look forward to future Mind Candy ventures - and, for the sake of the challenge, here's my contribution to their campain.

Still Perplexed? Here's More:

Unfiction Card Discussion Thread - Follow the Search
Official Perplex City Website - Join the Game

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