Today I'd like to talk about two very different games currently running over at unFiction - The Wratch and Missing Wallace. The games differ in their approach to characters, puzzles and how they interact with their players. Each game is relatively popular in their own right.
The Wrach is a game which cropped up a couple of weeks ago under the name "Viral Agency" (the thread can be found here) after Crescent "came across" a mysterious video on YouTube which contained an apparent morse code puzzle to solve. Originally, I had made a decision not to get involved - distracted as I was with far more important things like scratching myself and throwing paper balls into bins, but when a friend prompted me to take a look I decided to delve in.
The PM communicates through mysterious YouTube videos and through The Wrach website. The messages we receive are incredibly cryptic, if not encoded in morse - as a result over the past few weeks we've been able to ascertain very little as to the actual intention of the uploader of the videos, who or what "The Wrach" is or where the game is heading. The puzzles we have come across are interesting in themselves, and there was a "live feed" a couple of nights ago which I must admit - I missed - but I'm hoping that over the next couple of weeks we are able to unravel some of the threads we have been shown and finally work this game out.
Missing Wallace is a totally different beast all together. Wallace is a private investigator - used to being employed to find lost dogs and cats, who has been brought in by a distressed woman who is looking for her lost husband - eminent scientist Edward Maad. From the outset there has been an open and mutual sharing of information between Wallace and the players, Wallace has come over as flawed, a little neurotic at times but most of all likable.
As the game has gone on we have been introduced to a wide variety of interesting characters; Louise - Wallaces' rather surly ex-girlfriend, Lewis Styles - a slick corporate energy consultant, Bob - a hacker who has infiltrated Wallaces' website and then the mysterious stalker who seems to be following Wallace. Most of the puzzles have centred around the files found on Wallaces' home site: MissingWallace.net, and their presentation has been nicely varied - from substitution, and deduction to deciphering Welsh and barcode reading.
We are beginning to delve deeper into the twisted story that missingwallace is proposing, as we discover more about Edward Maad's scientific discoveries, about wireless energy, something to do with leys (yes, leys - not ley lines, watch QI - foo'!) and now with the discovery of a new character "Samael" who seems to be concerned with "God's Folly". Interesting stuff.
These two games are interesting but I find myself far more compelled by Missing Wallace than by The Wrach. I think this is primarily down to the fact that MW has a place to "touch base" as it were - a concrete contact with whom we can share ingame information and help progress the story. The Wrach is primarily conducted at arms length and the debate exists in a very much out of game (OOG) context, it feels less tangible and so we wait for new information from the PM rather than interacting with the characters involved. Nonetheless, I shall follow both with interest.
ps. I've been working my way through The Looking Glass Club, but I find myself getting so into the story that I forget about the puzzles - I wonder if I'll even get #1 submitted before the end of Jan time limit is up - soz Gruff! Curse my bibliophilic nature!!