Today I’m going to introduce an alternate reality game (ARG) created by US puzzle designer Zachary Epstein. It was launched only a few days ago.
As some of my readers might already know, I am currently working on my next book: Codebreaking & Cryptograms: A Practical Guide, co-written with Elonka Dunin. You can pre-order it on Amazon, but it won’t be published before fall this year.
One of the persons who has substancially contributed to the book is Zachary Epstein, a friend of Elonka’s.
Zach told me about an alternate reality game (ARG) titled The Analog he created but never launched. It includes numerous cryptologic puzzles. Zach has now activated it especially for the readers of my blog.
You don’t know what an ARG is? Here’s the definition Wikipedia gives: “An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive networked narrative that uses the real world as a platform and employs transmedia storytelling to deliver a story that may be altered by players’ ideas or actions.”
The starting point of The Analog is a web page, where you will find a few cryptograms. Solving them will lead you to the next level of the game. Most of the times you need to guess either a password or the URL of a website. The further you get, the more you will learn about the story and the goal you need to achieve.
The Analog originally came with a box, but it is also completable without it. Because it is an ARG, it is meant to be ‘crowd-sourced’ by many people in order to continue through it (as it is fairly difficult so many minds coming together will make it more attainable and fun).
Here’s a short bio Zach provided me:
My name is Zachary Epstein. I have been working with and creating puzzles, ciphers and codes for a long time now. I did not use computers to create these at first, for one. June 18th is my birthday back in the 70s. I started with pencil and paper when I was younger. Most recently I created an ARG that can be found online. You can enjoy that online cryptography/puzzle/ARG by starting with the website at https://www.m41nfr4m38yp455.com/.
If you’re interested in another puzzle Zach created, try the following one (it’s not related to the ARG, but the biography just might have some relation to it). It consists of a hint cipher and the actual crypto challenge. Good luck!
The Hint Cipher