Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Internet is Their Playground

Producers of the popular television program Lost have created a fake corporate website for The Hanso Foundation, a company presumably featured in the story (I don't watch the show, so I have no idea). Although the purpose of the web site is ostensibly to inform people about the Foundation and its efforts, in fact it is a "game" referred to as "The Lost Experience," designed to lure in Lost fanatics hoping for some insight into the secrets behind the show's murky history.

It reminds me a lot of the 1985 Activision game Hacker, which purported to offer the user an interface to a secretive company with a malfunctioning security system. Armed with a password, you start worming your way in, gaining access to secret documents and sensitive information. This works the same way but it's on a massive, massive scale. The game is supposed to be based on, but independent of, the show.

ABC has been airing television ads for the Hanson Foundation, even though it's not a real company. The ad includes a phone number. If you call the number you get the initial password to get into the site. A newspaper ad has been printed as a PSA in some parts of the country, responding to a book that puts them in a negative light. The book appears to be real and orderable on Amazon, even though the author himself is as fictional as the story. In addition to the Hanso Foundation's main site, there are sites for ancillary companies such as Oceanic Air that may or may not be officially affiliated with the game. The problem is, anyone on the internet could set up a fake-out web site to mislead people trying to "solve" the game. There's no way to tell if what you're reading is a part of the game or someone's elaborate hoax to throw you off. Another problem is that the writers intend to drag this game out over the summer, so information and clues are trotted out incrementally. In other words, it's not solvable right now. You have to wait for the next clue.

For these reasons, I don't think I'll have the patience to stay with it. But if you're inteterested, here are some related sites (or at least, some that purport to be related!)


At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting all of these links in one place for me. :-)


At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to get out more!

At 9:39 AM, Blogger John said...

I'll take that under advisement.

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That can probably be said for anyone with a blog.


At 2:05 PM, Blogger Jessey said...

I have a whole folder of bookmarks that are just for Lost. It's safe to say I'm addicted and I need to get out more.

Here's my favorite.
The theory board on this site rocks.

At 10:19 AM, Blogger John said...

Thanks for the link!

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