We’ve all heard about Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), maybe even be swept into them like the crazy ones that acted as a prelude to Halo games all those years ago, but today a company unveiled a game that may just take “alternate reality” a step further. Called Mark Lane’s Logs: Project H.U.M.A.N., the game is being billed by the first real-world forensic adventure and may give players an answer to the mystery on a news story on CNN or in The New York Times. Something about a real company or real person might help you proceed. The President might be involved. It’s so intertwined with reality you’ll be left wondering if it didn’t really happen.
Mark Lane’s Logs: Project H.U.M.A.N. does not run on software. There’s no traditional App or software you need to download and run to play. An SMS from Mark Lane is all you start with. From there, you’ll have to replicate his mission, find what he found, and live the adventure he lived. You’re on your own. All you have is your own device and your brain. You must set your methods, your pace, your tools.
Because there is no game software to run, there are no system requirements: You can play on any Mac, iPad or iPhone with Internet access. Any version of OS X or iOS is compatible, although OS X is recommended.
Each piece of evidence you find helps you discover a part of the story, solve a problem or riddle, leading to more evidence, and making you progress in the game. You are not trapped in a sandbox provided by some software that tells you what you can and can’t do. Your challenge is to find the truth. And the truth is somewhere out there, on the Internet. The Internet is millions of times bigger than a computer game sandbox. Are you up to the challenge?
Here’s the story: Mark Lane, retired CIA agent, is forced to carry out one last mission: dismantle an elusive terrorist organization, infiltrated in the American military, and the CIA. A swarm-type device is being developed, right under DoD’s nose. An attack on US soil is imminent. Mark carries out a solo worldwide intelligence mission to eliminate this threat. However, he finds more than he expected. He finds a secret society. He finds himself in the middle of a federal conspiracy to steal the Pentagon’s ultimate weapon. He is betrayed by those he trusted and is set to die as a traitor to the USA. He dodges his destiny by escaping, but is fiercely hunted down. He has nowhere to go. You’re Mark’s last hope. He left a trail of evidence that you must uncover. Find out what happened, collect enough evidence, and bring the case to justice.
You join this game as a CIA OIG FIB forensic investigator. CIA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is the entity that oversees CIA’s activities. The OIG has recently created the Forensic Investigation Bureau (FIB). The FIB lets members of the general public, like you, help OIG’s efforts by providing credible evidence to open a formal investigation and bring new cases to the supreme court. You’ll be competing with many other OIG FIB investigators. Only the best will make the Agency’s Top Forensic Investigators Hall of Fame.
What will you find? First, you’ll find Mark Lane’s logs: Timed, situated, concise reports of everything Mark did and his interactions with other people. Then, you’ll find photos. Yes, Mark took many photos during his mission. You’ll be able to see what he saw, what he did, what he found, as if you were there too. You’ll also find documents, old and new, strange objects, bizarre-looking symbols, and many other stuff you must deal with. In the middle, you’ll have to apply your skills to investigate and complete Mark’s own findings, solve his own puzzles and riddles, understand clues, connect the dots. You must organize your findings, take notes, search, connect, locate, solve, think, and ultimately report back to CIA’s OIG FIB. The more evidence you collect, the higher you will score.
Besides being a game, it’s also a fiction novel. The game’s spinal cord are Mark’s logs: He has left a first-person view of the whole story. These logs are chained and laid out in a narrative style. Even if you don’t progress much in the game, you can still enjoy Mark Lane’s Logs : Project H.U.M.A.N. as a traditional fiction novel.
Mark Lane’s Logs: Project H.U.M.A.N. is scheduled for launch on September 27.