Difference between revisions of "ARG"

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(Second ARG)
(Adult Swim TF2 Promotion: this had nothing to do with the arg)
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Replacing the long words with dashes and the short words with dots results in the {{W|Morse code}} <tt>–– ––– –• –•• •– –•––</tt>, which translates to 'Monday'.
Replacing the long words with dashes and the short words with dots results in the {{W|Morse code}} <tt>–– ––– –• –•• •– –•––</tt>, which translates to 'Monday'.
==== Adult Swim TF2 Promotion ====
Earlier in the same day, {{W|Adult Swim}} posted [http://www.adultswim.com/promos/valve/ an announcement on their web site] of a promotion with Valve over the course of the next week. The page contains a button to sign up for Adult Swim's email newsletter, which sends a user to a signup page featuring an image of the Pyro.
=== Day 5 ===
=== Day 5 ===

Revision as of 21:24, 12 August 2012

On June 19, 2012 TF2 was updated with no patch notes. This led to the start of an Alternate Reality Game (ARG).


Day 1

In the June 19, 2012 Patch the following craft items were added to the drop system: Goldfish, Pocket Lint, Cheese Wheel, Banana Peel, Barn Door Plank, Secret Diary, and Damaged Capacitor. They dropped alongside every item drop except for crates.

Day 2

The following day, the June 20, 2012 Patch was released. With this update, any player who equipped the Eliminating The Impossible set would now see new descriptions for the previously added items. The new descriptions would have several random characters replaced by periods, resulting in slightly different strings for each player.

Item New description
'Think of the'
Pocket Lint
Pocket Lint
'...the... which...'
Cheese Wheel
Cheese Wheel
'may go on... the hidden wickedness...'
Banana Peel
Banana Peel
'...may go on...'
Barn Door Plank
Barn Door Plank
'...year in, year out...'
Secret Diary
Secret Diary
'the deeds of hellish cruelty and none the wiser'
Damaged Capacitor
Damaged Capacitor
' in such places, and ...'

Stitching these phrases together produces the following quote:

Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser.
— “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”, a Sherlock Holmes story

Day 3

The error message received when crafting two Banana Peels together.

An item schema update added new records to the Eliminating The Impossible set attribute, consisting of 8 MD5 hash strings:

Record Value
md5_388_1 9e86c9d1ba461d7c3b84ea4bac11b921
md5_388_2 f2629207217ce651f1a76ce33346d4c8
md5_388_3 5d1a66650820b260b043443137c23dc5
md5_388_4 0361ca75733f3c21f4ba4ae216e92155
md5_388_5 a0370078eaafd706e75e6a2a45b5678f
md5_388_6 0a009353adac7c721d8b4a188a9f8517
md5_388_7 6f1d22a53f398fd4404b7fc9d7b1f356
md5_388_8 eae894257e8b1502807a3a94fd2fcc1c

The June 21, 2012 Patch added the ability to craft two or more Banana Peels together. This resulted in an error message; its header detailing a "Banana Error # (1-8)". The body of the message is in Spanish followed by Finnish roughly translated as "Banana Overflow Error; Detailed Report:". A numbered code follows comprised of a string of hexadecimal sequences. The sequences vary from player to player even among messages with the same Banana Error number. The dismiss button is replaced with its equivalent in Welsh. Crafting the items does not result in the loss of them, and any further attempts to craft them will result in the same error message.

The final stitched image from the images linked to by the QR codes

Several communities, such as this one, began collecting the unique error codes and sites and piecing the data together. It was discovered that the 8 error codes correspond to 8 different PNG images, with the hexadecimal codes corresponding to data chunks of the resulting image. The MD5 hash strings served to act as checksums for verifying the images are assembled correctly. The resulting images produce QR codes that linked to images on the TF2 Official Website; there are only seven such images as the codes produced by PNG images 7 and 8 are the same and link to the same page. The images contain sections of a transcript, divided vertically. When they are all combined, the transcript is apparently an excerpt of a U.S. Senate hearing featuring Saxton Hale over the death of Poopy Joe and Saxton Hale's involvement with it as well as the disappearance of the entire United States supply of Australium.

QR codes

Error code QR code image Output
1 ARG QR Code 1.png Link
2 ARG QR Code 2.png Link
3 ARG QR Code 3.png Link
4 ARG QR Code 4.png Link
5 ARG QR Code 5.png Link
6 ARG QR Code 6.png Link
7 ARG QR Code 7.png Link
8 ARG QR Code 8.png Link

Day 4

On 22 June 2012, 15:00 PDT, a mysterious blog post[1] was written by the Pyro. This corresponds to the text on the Damaged Capacitor which reads '6.22V1500', giving a time and date of 6/22/12 15:00 PDT (the time zone in which Valve reside). The post reads:

"Mmmmph mmmmph, mmmmm mmmmmp mmmmmph. Mmmmmph mpm! 
 Mmmmmph mph mm! Hm mmmmmph, hmmmmph mm mmmmmph mmmmmph!"

Replacing the long words with dashes and the short words with dots results in the Morse code –– ––– –• –•• •– –•––, which translates to 'Monday'.

Day 5

The next Monday, the Pyromania Update was announced [2].

An extended version of the Saxton Hale Hearing Transcript, including new illustrations and an interview with The Administrator was found by clicking on a banana peel at the bottom of the page [3]. On the Special Delivery game mode page, clicking on the monkey reveals the Poopy Joe Wallpaper [4] and clicking on the logo of MANN CO Monkeynautics reveals another one [5].

Hidden text "DO<...> Until you watch <...>" appeared on the background image of the Pyromania update page, but was later removed [6]. This was later revealed to be part of a tag seen attached to the final day of Pyromania (the completed tag reads, "DO NOT CLICK until you watch the movie.").

The Pyromania logo has an "alt" tag of "Happy 25th birthday animated gif!", referring to the introduction of the .GIF file format in June 1987.

Day 6

Illustrations of "Soldier Needs a Home" can be found by clicking on the can at the bottom of the page [7].

Day 2 of The Pyromania Update saw the addition of new class sets for the Scout, the Sniper, and the Soldier, as well as the Scorch Shot for the Pyro. It is to note that the Scorch Shot was the featured weapon in the blog post, "How a Gun Gets Made"[8]; this was one day prior to the mysterious blog post written by the Pyro on 22 June, 2012. The Scorch Shot appeared in Meet the Pyro.

Day 7

Meet the Pyro video was released on the official Team Fortress YouTube channel. Adult Swim also announced that a user would get a Robot Chicken Hat for TF2 if they were to sign up to their newsletter by 7/4/12. Players who signed up before midnight on 6/27/12 would receive their hat code the next day. However, if they were to sign up afterward, they would still get their code on July 5, the deadline.

All but two of the Mysterious treasures found in the previous week were burned to assorted ashes following the Pyromania Update's release, the Secret Diary and the Damaged Capacitor. Crafting any four ashes together produced a Pile of Ash that was used to reveal a Scorched Crate or one of the weapons or cosmetic items from the update. The ashes continued to drop randomly until July 11, after which all ashes, Piles of Ash, and Scorched Crates disappeared.

Second ARG

Day 1

Birth certificate

On August 10, 2012, a bloodstain appeared on the site logo on the TF2 blog, which led to a hidden page containing the birth certificate of the previously unknown third Mann brother, Gray Mann. It is stated that he absconded with the unknown entity 'EAGLE'.

The August 10, 2012 Patch added Carrier tanks to 2Fort, Badwater Basin, Doublecross, and Granary. They can be seen in the distance standing motionless.

Day 2

Last will

A second bloodstain appeared on the site logo, this time leading to a hidden page containing the now fully revealed last will of Zepheniah Mann. It is revealed he was being blackmailed by his son Gray and, in response, Zepheniah left Elizabeth his hidden cache of 'miracle' gravel.

In the August 11, 2012 Patch the Barely-Melted Capacitor was updated to be equippable and several class-specific hashes were added to the Item schema.

Record Value
scout_md5_314 40119059ad74854a84f78a102fb6048d
soldier_md5_516 5f99cc6e57a84e6c52f6df772196a7ef
pyro_md5_323 a8a7188d6911026801eb1a6279d7f0b9
demo_md5_372 1c2594a0d12aba24d304487742205f04
heavy_md5_308 2eb157506d8ca40c919541741b04d432
medic_md5_328 6c5d3d7ea48af4c8ceb8eb801c65de84
engineer_md5_500 928b4eba739114893aff40614aa74b17
sniper_md5_276 6aa6787bc62adcd3d646164c9b68f026
spy_md5_65 5696492788ca11dd2f1eaa9f5294e3d2

When high-fiving a player who has equipped the Barely-Melted Capacitor, text will be printed to the chat box. Each player can see three unique messages, depending on the class of the other person. The text takes the form of this sample output:

Medic says: Did you hear the story from 1252 where Destruction PDA, Buzz Killer, Something Special for Someone Special, Ubersaw, Cowardly Mound, Crate, Buzz Killer, Frying Pan, and the Administrator walked into a bar?

The class listed in the text represents a sequence of data that corresponds with one of the MD5 checksums, and the items and characters listed in the text represent a subsequence of that sequence. The number corresponds to the position of the subsequence.

After several communities collected the outputs from high-fiving with a capacitor, the item names were mapped to hex codes. It was found that each class's outputs formed various file formats; The Scout, Pyro, Heavy, and Medic corresponded to a png file, the Soldier to a bmp file, the Demoman to a zip file, the Engineer to a text file containing C++ code, the Sniper to a MIDI file, and the Spy to a link that led to a zip file containing a KeePass key file. The image files were QR codes, the zip file contained ASCII art, the MIDI contained morse code, and the C++ code outputted text. It was found that these words corresponded to hex using the PGP word list.

Class Outputs

Class Output
Scout scout.png
Soldier soldier.bmp
Pyro pyro.png
Demoman Demoman.zip
Heavy heavy.png
Engineer C++ code
Medic medic.png
Sniper Sniper.mid
Spy Spy.kdbx

PGP word list mapping

Class Format PGP Word Even/Odd Hex
Scout PNG Adult Even 05
Soldier BMP Councilman Odd 3B
Pyro PNG Baboon Even 14
Demoman ZIP Apollo Odd 0A
Heavy PNG Goldfish Even 05
Engineer C++ Code Resistor Odd C5
Medic PNG Goggles Even 6D
Sniper MIDI Unicorn Odd EC
Spy Keypass Database N/A N/A N/A

The password to the Spy's keypass database was the previous class's numeric byte values strung together in order, 053B140A6EC56DEC. The file contained an image of a QR code, which when XOR-ed with the other QR code images led to this link. This link contained an image describing a recipe of 8 items, which when crafted together caused a system-wide alert in-game, notifying players that a new comic, Blood Brothers, was available. Also, in aforementioned image of recipe list, there are five letters stained by blood: T, O, B, O and R, which formed the word "TOBOR".



  1. June 22, 2012 - Mmm Mmmph!
  2. June 25, 2012 - Pyromania Update announcement
  3. June 25, 2012 - Poopy Joe Files
  4. June 25, 2012 - Poopy Joe wallpaper
  5. June 25, 2012 - MANN CO Monkeynautics wallpaper
  6. June 25, 2012 - Hidden text
  7. June 26, 2012 - Soldier Needs a Home
  8. June 21, 2012 - How a Gun Gets Made