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Promotions: The bees are all right

The late 1990s and early 2000s, some of the earliest alternate reality games, or ARGs, would seep their way into small segments of public awareness. Sort of a blend of geocaching, viral marketing, social networking, and interactive stories, ARGs began as a social experiment of sorts before their marketing potential was fully realized. Promotion behind the film The Blair Witch Project, which attempted to push the movie as legitimate non-fiction and its events as actual occurances, up to and including a faux documentary aired on SciFi about the town of Blair and its witch, is seen by some as a prototype of alternate reality gaming that was yet to come. Microsoft and Steven Spielberg teamed up to market another film, A.I., with an ARG called The Beast, which was basically a massively multiplayer murder mystery. However, it wasn't until 2004 that ARGs would come into a more widespread limelight, thanks to some strange goings-on at the website of a Napa Valley apiary.

Microsoft would try to recapture the buzz generated by I Love Bees in 2007, with the Iris alternate reality game designed to promote Halo 3, but its limitation mostly to bungie-related forums, as well as commencing after trailers and a public beta for Halo 3 had already occurred, kept Iris from blowing up nearly as much as I Love Bees had. This time around, however, direct links to the Halo canon were intended from the start, with the story in this game explaining a great deal in regards to what started all the Halo trouble in the first place.

This ability to intertwine sales and story is one of many reasons I keep coming back to Halo as a franchise, and I imagine I'm not the only one. The fact that almost nothing is frivolous or irrelevant in Halo-related material, be it in or out of the games themselves, is a testament to how much love for and oversight of the series Bungie maintained, both during its stint under Microsoft's wing and after it left the nest. Managing to juggle so many aspects of a franchise, or at least to be the central juggler in the group throwing all this stuff around, with little to nothing falling in the process, is a work of art an and of itself. Fans can only hope 343 Industries can maintain the same firm, loving, and steady-but-audacious grip on all things Halo once the last vestiges still under Bungie are turned over at the end of March, 2012.

If you'd like to learn more about the campaign itself, Halopedia's writeup is a fairly solid summary, and Halo Nation's article on the subject, while shorter, has links to some of the audio files from the game. As linked above, the original site and blog are still viewable, the former having been "abandoned to the rampant AI" that took over it, and there's a wiki on the whole game itself that runs down pretty much everything involved, story-wise. The logo image at the beginning of this article is taken from the menu of a DVD players recieved as a reward for completing the I Love Bees ARG, at multiplayer betas for Halo 2 to which said completion earned them invites. You could try finding one on eBay, but in all honesty, I'd expect any Halo fan rabid enough to finish I Love Bees is fairly unlikely to part with such a memento.
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About nekobunone of us since 5:17 PM on 06.29.2007

Hi, I'm Chris, though I've been going by nekobun and variants thereof for so long, I kind of answer to both anymore.

While I've kind of got my own thing going in the realm of indie coverage, at least in the form of playing through (and streaming) (and writing about) the huge backlog I'm developing of games gleaned from various indie bundles, I try to keep my more mainstream, game-related features here, as well as opinion pieces on the industry at large, out of mad love for the 'toid. When I'm not rambling here or trying to be clever in comments threads, you can catch me rambling on Facebook and my Twitter, and trying to be clever in the Dtoid.tv chat.

Now Playing:
360: Halo 4
PC: F.E.A.R.
SNES: Secret Of Mana

I suck at games: PEW PEW LASERS
Improving game communities: Collective consciousness
Nothing is sacred: These walls have torn my world apart
The wrong thing: Only cream and bastards catch them all.
Love/Hate: I love to hate -you-
Love/Hate: B(u)y the book
The Future: Is still what it used to be
My Expertise: Playing the race kart
Something about sex: Sex sells, but who's buying?
E3 Approaches: It's oh so quiet
Freedom: Together, we'll break the chains of HUDs
East vs West: We've got the empire
Handhelds: Graduating as 2000's Catchemaledictorian
Relaxation: Cheesy double Chief burrito
Online Passes: A spoonful of sugar
Peripherals: Many tentacles pimpin' on the keys
This is what MAGfest is all about
Beginnings: Put it on the pizza
Disappointment: Bad(vent) timing

Recap Topsauce:
It's Thinking: Could you quit playing with that radio, love?
Do the wrong thing: And do it right, for once.
Afraid to shoot strangers.
Not if you were the last junkie on Pandora
Is Jim Sterling servicing the video games industry?
Something About Sex: Unsafe at any speed.
Doing DLC right
Congress passes sweeping Elfcare reform bill
Bottom five healthcare systems in videogames.
Pushing my love over the quarter line.
When my life would depend on an eight point none.
Remember the heroes.
Every Journey begins with a single step.
It's all over now, bomber blue.
Being Social: We'll always have Rainbow Road
Labor Day: Of course you realize, this means wark.
Please, aim it higher.
There Would've Been Brawl: Show me 'round your eggplantcage.
Integration: A place for everything
Zelda Week: I guess this is growing up.
MAGfest: the (don't be an) idiot's guide
Promotions: The bees are alright
Now is the winter of on-disc content
This was supposed to be a dozen items about nekobun.
Without Slenderness, there's something missing.
Cheap tricks (and treats) don't come cheaper than free.
The legacy of the (unlikely) wizard.
Cheap Tricks II: Sugar rush boogaloo
Thank you, for bringing me here, for showing me Home.
Burnt flowers fallen: the tragic bitchotry of Lilly Caul
Red and blue, resolving into purple.
Xbox LIVE:nekobun
PSN ID:strictmachine
Steam ID:nekobun
Mii code:2610 8366 7890 1412


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