Sat. Jan 28th, 2023
The buried figurine that led to an in-game unlock.

The buried figurine that led to an in-game unlock.

Gamers are used to going to great lengths to unlock new content in their favorite titles, but the real effort some players have put into getting a new character in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth this weekend was a bit more involved than usual.

It all started with a Thursday night update to the Steam icon for the game’s “Generosity” achievement – a switch apparently triggered when enough members of the player community finally unlocked the difficult achievement. Community members converted the lines of pixels on that little icon into ASCII code, which became a text string (“lERBeIL”) pointing them to this image on Imgur.

By Friday, players had pieced together the ghostly images in the background of that image, as well as a few cryptic tweets from Binding of Isaac creator Edmund McMillen, formed a link to the 1987 film The Lost Boys. The setting for that film’s introductory scene suggested followers search the Santa Cruz boardwalk, where they found a “missing” poster for the game’s main character with a truncated phone number.

Entering the phone number with “109” (a number that has taken on mystical significance in the game’s lore) led to a voicemail message with some backward audio. The first letter of each word in that message can be converted into an alphanumeric code for GPS coordinates pointing to a building in Santa Ana, California. When half a dozen Redditors went to that location (with McMillen tweeting to warn them not to do anything stupid or illegal) they found a poster, some loose change, and a buried figurine of the titular Isaac, covered in messages and the ASCII code for the @ -symbol.

That eventually led players to the Twitter page for it @iamisaacsbody, where the community could post guessed passwords. Once players followed the figurine’s instruction to “vote him” by posting to the Twitter account, McMillen took control and tweeted that “unlocked the community … hidden something.” Only then did McMillen release an update to the game on Steam, adding a new unlockable character called The Keeper for everyone.

McMillen has promised a detailed post-mortem of his complicated alternative reality game (ARG) will be forthcoming”in the next week or soIn the meantime, there are a few Reddit and Imgur threads that go into more detail about how the community has collectively solved this intense series of conundrums.

While this weekend’s unlock attempts were pretty elegant, they don’t hold a candle to the riddles buried deep in the 2012 release Tasting: evolution. The results of that ARG are not revealed until 2113, when a key unlocks a box under the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We’ve already assigned a reporter to cover that momentous event, and his cryogenic freeze is going well so far.

By akfire1

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