<< The Sting that Started All the Buzz >>
Three years after The Beast, ilovebees showed all the potential to be even stronger, to assimilate the world with an even more aggressive scope.
Ilovebees started when the post office delivered jars of honey to high profile members of the ARG community. Aside from honey, the jars were filled with nine random alphabet letters that they later anagrammed into the phrase "ilovebees."
A week later the rest of the world was subliminally clued into the secret. In the popular trailer for the upcoming computer game Halo 2, some noticed that the logo quickly flashed to display "www.ilovebees.com."
The URL lead to a hacked version of Aunt Martha's beekeeping website, along with a menacing timer that counted down to a "medium" that will "metastasize" in a matter of days. Dana--Aunt Martha's niece and now our pretty heroine who knows computers--created a blog inviting you to help her solve the mysterious and creepy events unfolding.
Day in and out, the gamers were strung along hunting for any updates bringing them closer to the game's Answer. Strung out, they spent hours extrapolating real world websites for clues, stitching together lunatic versions of reality.
This disturbed me. With the Halo 2 plug, ilovebees was therefore run by Queen Microsoft: a huge profitable corporation with monopolistic practices, now utilizing guerrilla advertising to conjure up a frenzy of excitement in order to sell more games.
The game penetrated the real world to claim it as part of the game. It colonized existing neighborhoods and families and turned them into virtual communities.
Didn't the gamers mind that their time was sucked into a giant advertising stunt? As they loved Dana like a sister and attacked those who were not "really" a part of their virtual situation, didn't they realize that their emotions were grounded in Microsoft propaganda to increase the bottom line?
Certainly there was a way, I hoped, to enhance the gaming experience. A way to redirect the creative energy of the game, and subvert.
But I didn't have too... for that's when the Slashdot post first appeared. That's when CAPitALLism.org was hacked by the Window Washers. When the focus of the game's energies started scouring CAPitALLism for clues... and found plenty.