The last code before finding the Bill Cipher Statue – Polybius – #CipherHunt – Part 2

Catchup: | Prologue | Part 1 – Gravity Falls Cipher Hunt | Part 2 – Gravity Falls Cipher Hunt |

For a week, fans were stuck on the last clue of the Gravity Falls Cipher Hunt.

Until Alex Hirsch, tweeted out a clue –

Fans realized the urban legend arcade game referred to Polybius, a game from the 1980s. The arcade game was described as affecting people – causing them to forget things and have nightmares. According to legend, soon after the game’s release it disappeared. Others say the arcade game never existed and the Wikipedia page is … an interesting read.

The clue pointed fans in the direction of the Polybius square which fans had discussed in the Discord chat room before.

A Polybius square takes two numbers at a time and upon a 5×5 square grid, points to a specific letter. The 5×5 grid is filled with letters from the alphabet (A-Z) and an optional keyword.

reddit_runningisfunny

Redditor RunningIsFunny assumed the last two letters of the location would be OR, representing the state of Oregon in the US and was able to use reverse decryption to find an answer – REEZABORD, OR. The only location in OR that sounded similar was a place called Reedsport.

Fans utilized Google Maps and discovered a section of Reedsport that lined up perfectly with an earlier map from the Cipher Hunt. Straight away fans headed to the location and discovered what they had been looking for during the past month – the Bill Cipher statue!

Near the Bill Cipher statue, fans discovered a buried treasure chest in the ground and some brave people even shook his hand. The chest contained numerous prizes including a copy of the Gravity Falls Journal 3, a black light, a Mayor of Gravity Falls sash along with fake and real currency. There was also a USB.

Inside the USB there were three items:
– A text file – labeled “Hi” with a link to a twitter account belonging to a person called Bradley. It was later realized this person had stumbled across the Bill Cipher statue before the Cipher Hunt had started then marked some currency left in the treasure chest and added this text file on the USB.
– An audio file from Grunkle Stan encouraging people to shake Bill’s hand and congratulates fans for finding the statue
– Another text file – labeled “MyExWifeStillMissesMe.ButHerAimIsGettinBetter” and inside was this text, RETURNBACKWARDSTOTHEPASTAGAINTHREE

The second text file contained the username and password to access the pilot episode of Gravity Falls.

Username: RETURNBACKWARDS
Password: TOTHEPASTAGAINTHREE
Pilot of Gravity Falls episode here – http://themysteryofgravityfalls.com/pilot/

The statue of Bill Cipher was found but that wasn’t the end of the adventure.

One day after the statue was found, there was a property dispute about the statue’s location. The Bill Cipher statue was then picked up by Reedsport police and put outside their station. It was then hidden in Bicentennial Park, a mile from the original Reedsport location. Along the way the statue’s hat was lost.

Alex Hirsch tweeted out a message then asking for help to drive the Bill Cipher statue to a new location, five hours away.

As of yesterday, the Bill Cipher statue currently resides at Confusion Hill, a tourist trap located in California. There’s a $5 USD entrance fee and the statue will also get a new hat next week.

As fans of Gravity Falls like to say, see you all next summer! (At Confusion Hill).

– Essa🙂

 

What happened this summer when the Gravity Falls fandom found out about #CipherHunt – Part One

Catchup: | Prologue | Part 1 – Gravity Falls Cipher Hunt | Part 2 – Gravity Falls Cipher Hunt |

After the finale of Gravity Falls back in February, fans were left with a mystery on their minds – was there indeed a real stone statue of Bill Cipher hiding in a forest?

After months of silence, a single tweet from the creator of Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch sparked a massive alternate reality game. From his tweet, fans discovered “#FLSKHUKXQW” shifted back three letters revealed the word #CIPHERHUNT.

alex_hirsch

From the image attached to the same tweet, fans decoded:
“The urban legend has come true / Cipher’s statue’s calling you / The secret map is in your hand / To trace the clues across the land”, along with “Don’t forget it’s all for pleasure / The hunt itself’s the real treasure / But a prize awaits the first one there / Be safe, be smart, and of course beware” – GF Wikia

Proving that what fans speculated months ago was real – there was a Bill Cipher statue out there waiting to be found.

Also from the image, fans discovered when the red letters were shifted backwards it spelt out the first location – Russia. The location was confirmed as Kazan Cathedral located in St. Petersburg, Russia as the floor plan can be seen.
russia

The clue picked up in Russia referred to the yen, which turned the focus to Japan and the next clue was located in Kanda Myojin Shrine, Tokyo.

The clue from Tokyo referred to the hunter of the fountain of youth – Ponce De Leon and a street name containing his name was found in Atlanta, Georgia in the US.

A fan discovered a damaged poster for a missing pig, Waddles – the cartoon pig which appears on Gravity Falls. On the poster was a puzzle and a phone number, when the number was reversed a voice recording could be heard.

Fans listened to Grunkle Stan, who advised them to check a university location at Rhode Island. Behind the picture of Sister Mary Hilda Miley the next clue was suppose to be located but the game ran into problems when the clue was discovered to be missing.

Alex Hirsch stepped in and tweeted to fans to re-call the last phone number, where another recording of Grunkle Stan played. “A man who’s first name is his last, a statue honouring his past …” hinted to fans they should head to Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

When the Griffith Park clue was picked up it mentioned, “50 + 50 that’s the city .. you’ll find a bow tie and one eye ..” which led to Century Park, Los Angeles. When the park is viewed from above, there’s a pyramid shape and two buildings beneath that look like a bow tie – similar to what the character Bill Cipher looks like.

A USB was found inside the park with a voice recording pointing to the next clue – hidden inside the California State Summer School of the Arts, where only students could enter the building’s sublevel to retrieve the next clue.

Scribbled on the wall were two hex codes that were decoded to lead on to the co-ordinates of Piedmont, California. Fans discovered a key tied to a tree stump and a locked container, revealing a PO box (27128) at 1825 N. Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles.

Out of the PO box emerged a monster jigsaw puzzle made of 2,000 pieces. Fans on the ground worked on the physical puzzle and upon completion, the Gravity Falls pilot episode would be made available* (*more on this later). There was also a virtual puzzle that online users could contribute to. And this was only day four!

When enough of the puzzle was put together the code on it was translated to the address: Corner of Rodney & Tillamook, Portland in Oregon. At the spot, fans discovered a lawn gnome that led to the tourist trap, Confusion Hill in California.

Inside the Confusion Hill shop, an eyeball jar found on a shelf held the next clue – which showed the next location as Stanley St, Amity in Oregon where a geocache was discovered.

The geocache in turn led to a theme park, Enchanted Forest in Turner, Oregon. A fan discovered a ripped puzzle piece that decoded to: “Return to where it all began / The final clue is in your hand / The parchment can be such a tease / The answer’s written in the trees” – GF Wikia

The finale clue led fans back to the original tweet which started the entire Cipher Hunt. There at the bottom of the image was a drawing of the Bill Cipher statue surrounded by trees.

trees

How to decode the branches and trees? Fans were stumped for days.

Next: Part 2 – Gravity Falls Cipher Hunt

– Essa🙂

Sherlocked’s The Vault: A prologue mobile game to an escape room experience in Amsterdam

sherlocked

“Somewhere in Amsterdam, an object is hidden. An object whose very existence is forcefully denied, guarded by the most complex security system on the planet.’

So if what we’ve heard about you is true, then we have a job for you.

Consider this your interview.” – The Vault

The team behind Sherlocked in Amsterdam built their second escape room, The Vault and then discovered something – guests struggled to unlock old combination locks on safes. This was a problem as the plot of the escape room was to break into a vault that originally belonged to the Amsterdam stock exchange building back in 1903.

To help guests before they arrived, the Sherlocked team decided to create a prologue experience called The Vault, an app that can be downloaded for Android and iPhone/iPad devices.

This afternoon, I downloaded the game to try it out and see if it was as good as what the screenshots showed.

~ Minor spoilers ahead ~

The first room of the game is slightly dark, so best to turn up the screen brightness on your device. The game’s controls were neat, stepping forwards to an object or backwards from it felt natural using just the touch screen.

Looking around the room, the game has a mixture of red herrings and essential clues to work through. Where’s the cable? Look closer.

But the second room is where the game shines as there were several a-ha! moments that made it feel like a real escape room. A section of the room is locked behind gates and a padlock. No use in trying to find a key.

In another section of the room – a wooden panel is revealed by surprise and there’s also a shifting floor puzzle – both of these puzzles were so unexpected and well designed.

And in the final puzzle, The Vault sits in the middle of the third room waiting to be cracked. If you get stuck, here’s a hint.

If you can crack the final puzzle, there’s a discount code which can be used to then book in the real escape room game, also called The Vault: A Break In Experience at Sherlocked’s premises in Amsterdam.

Your job awaits you in Amsterdam (or if you can’t make it there, The Vault mobile game is definitely worth a try).

The Vault – for iPhone/iPad deviceshttp://apple.co/2ayLdpo
The Vault – for Android devices (in Beta)http://bit.ly/sherlocked-android-beta

A/N: Always wondered if the name Sherlocked for this escape room company was inspired by an episode from BBC’s Sherlock. – Essa🙂

Also here’s the introduction trailer for the game, which has a behind-the-scenes look at how the The Vault game was developed.

Welcome to Nerve – a movie about a geo-location game, the Gravity Falls ARG and other escape room news

“Welcome to Nerve – a game like Truth or Dare, minus the Truth. Watchers pay to watch. Players play to win cash and glory. Are you a player or a watcher? Are you a watcher or a player?”

Nerve is a new movie about a fictional mobile game where people who are “watching” the game can issue dares. All the dares have a monetary bounty and a time limit to complete the dare by. Starring Emma Roberts as Vee and Dave Franco as Ian, the characters accept dares and then live stream the results to prove they did them.

The dares start off easy – kiss a stranger for five seconds, try on a dress in a shop – but over time the dares that Vee and Ian are given become more dangerous. Vee tries to call the police as she realises the game has become dangerous and her identity gets stolen by the “watchers”.

“This is a game. The only way out is to win.”

There’s already something similar to Nerve called YouDareTo, where strangers post tasks and put a monetary value on it. After someone accepts the task, they need to record themselves and post a video of it online.

GRAVITY FALLS ARG
The Gravity Falls fandom is in the middle of an alternate reality game (ARG) with clues found in Russia, Japan and across the US. The whole adventure is to find a stone statue of Bill Cipher located somewhere in the US.

There’s been no progress on the final clue, which is the lower half of this image with the trees and the statute. Also Alex Hirsch, the creator of Gravity Falls may release a clue on his Twitter account on Monday. Join the Gravity Falls ARG discussion on Discord here and I’ll be writing a blog post about the entire ARG hunt once the statue is found. #cipherhunt

KOTAKU AUSTRALIA PUZZLE HUNT x ENIGMA ROOM
Lock Me If You Can mentioned on their blog there’s a current Australian puzzle hunt to promote the new Netflix series, Stranger Things which runs until August 4th with prizes involved!

ROOM ESCAPE DIVAS
The Room Escape Diva’s latest podcast takes them to the upcoming Transworld’s Room Escape Conference in Chicago from August 12th-14th and to chat with the organisers behind it.

– Essa🙂

Escape the Night! When a bunch of Youtubers get caught up in a murder mystery game created by Joey Graceffa

escape_the_night

The house doesn’t allow its current owner to sleep. As a result Joey Graceffa invites over his friends for a 1920s dinner party but an evil is brewing within the house. Escape the Night is a new Youtube series created by Graceffa and involves a group of Youtubers being caught up in a murder mystery game over the course of a night.

When the guests start dinner, one of them becomes ill as a result of poisoning and receives a message – “There is an ANTIDOTE hidden on the first floor of the house. If your friends are wise enough they’ll be able to solve the clues and save you. It all begins with the last dish of the night” – Youtube.

The dish reveals a series of clues that lead to a storage box and locked inside are three antidote vials with a message. The guests split into smaller groups to search for three keys hidden within the study, the library and the foyer of the house.

Each location needs to bring back their key to the storage box and unlock a vial, as the poisoned Youtuber needs all three antidote vials to recover. The Youtubers don’t work well together and the unfortunate guest gets “poisoned” in the game.

The guest’s jacket is searched for clues and his notes reveal the house is possessed by an ancient evil trapped in the 1920s. The Society Against Evil has been trying to destroy this evil by finding four hidden artifacts. These artifacts then need to be joined together in a ritual to lock away the evil forever.

For every journey, there’s a cost involved. For the final test of each artifact, the group must get two guests to undertake the challenge and in turn one of them will “die” from the Youtube series.

All the guests have until sunrise to beat the ancient evil otherwise they will be trapped in the 1920s forever. The first episode of Escape the Night is free on Youtube and definitely worth a watch here. There’s six episodes out now with a new episode coming out this Thursday but to watch the whole series you’ll need a Youtube Red subscription.

===

Bonus Part – Since this blog was posted up late, I decided to scribe the library riddle that gave three of the Youtubers a headache and which they couldn’t solve in time. Can you solve it? I’ll post the answer in the comments section below.

Two devils: Wormwood and Asmodeus cross paths in the lower levels of Hell. Asmodeus implores Wormwood as to how many souls he has perverted this week. Wormwood replies, “three young ones”. Asmodeus is furious with the lesser devils failure to bring in more souls and asks their ages. Wormwood realizes this is his chance to confound the King of Devils and avoid his fiery wrath and gives him a riddle instead of a straight answer.

“If you multiple their ages you will get the number 36”

Asmodeus seethes for a moment trying to solve the riddle and then bellows, “It is not enough to determine their ages I need more information.” Wormwood replies without hesitation for the telling of riddles is his best skill.

“If you add all 3 ages together you will get the number of devils on the grand council” A/N: There are 13 devils on the grand council – it was on the book’s cover.

Asmodeus stews on the new information as the fires burn around him but he cannot derive the answer and remarks so Workwood replies, 36 is enough.

{The rest of the riddle is too blurry to read from the video but there should be a mention about an eldest child.}

Determine the ages of the 3 corrupt children.

– Essa🙂

Gotta catch ’em all! Nintendo and Google’s Niantic Labs release Pokemon Go – a new augmented reality game into the wild

pokemon_go

There’s a serious Pokemon invasion and it’s only just started.

Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game was released last Wednesday to select countries. Players in Japan, America, Australia and New Zealand were among the lucky first to catch virtual Pokemon and live out their dream of becoming Pokemon Trainers.

The game has a staggered worldwide release and will next be available in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands as soon as the Pokemon Go team can put up more game servers to cope with the huge user demand for the game.

Pokemon are fictional animals which can be caught by throwing a Pokeball at it and over time, they can gain levels and evolve into new versions. Eventually Pokemon Trainers level up enough Pokemon to battle in the Pokemon League and to prove they are the greatest trainer of them all.

At level 5 in Pokemon Go, players can choose a team to align themselves with: Instinct (Yellow team), Mystic (Blue team) or Valour (Red team).

The world of Pokemon is overlaid onto the real world, so players must walk around to capture Pokemon or visit locations – PokeStops or Gyms, where players can stock up on eggs, Pokeballs or buy PokeCoins to help them get further through the game.

In under a week, the Pokemon Go game currently sits as the most popular game within the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. It’s been mentioned the number of US Android users playing Pokemon Go will soon exceed the number of US Android users accessing Twitter or Tinder on their phones.

And it’s popularity doesn’t stop there, in Australia last weekend there have been Pokemon Go walks in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth with hundreds of people turning up to catch Pokemon. With more people around, the more likely Pokemon will spawn in the game.

It should come as no surprise that the mapping technology used in Pokemon Go has been harnessed from Niantic Lab’s earlier success – Ingress. People who played Ingress submitted location data of their gameplay via GPS and interesting landmarks became portals. From this, the portals of Ingress have become the PokeStops and Gyms within Pokemon Go.

“It turns out, Ingress plays a huge role in figuring that out. Major players of the earlier game contributed location data, or intel, to an online database, populating a worldwide map with various notable locations. That’s why Pokémon Go already knows the coolest places for you to check out in your local area, accompanied with photos.” – Polygon.

If you want to read more about the influence of Ingress on Pokemon Go, this is a good read.

Reports say Ingress has been downloaded 14 million times as of July 2016 and Pokemon Go is already well on its way to challenging this, with Google Play listing the number of downloads between 5 million to 10 million already.

Essa🙂

Official Pokemon Go – Twitter

 

#TheRunner – a new reality competition where anyone in the US can join in with a mobile device

the_runner
A Runner on the Loose. A Nation on the Hunt. A Million Dollars on the Line.

Produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, The Runner is a new type of immersive reality competition. Launching on July 1st, an individual who is called “The Runner” attempts to make it to six checkpoints across the United States in thirty days.

Following the Runner are five teams of “Chasers” and any US citizen who has access to a mobile device or a social media account – Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook – who can join in as “Viewers”.

What’s in it for the Runner and Chasers? If the Runner doesn’t get caught after 30 days they walk away with a sweet $500k USD prize, otherwise they get nothing. If any team of Chasers catches the Runner, they get the current Runner’s bounty – which increases by $15k USD for each day the Runner doesn’t get caught. Viewers can also win daily cash prizes by helping any team of Chasers on social media.

The entire competition is played out in real time, with three episodes of The Runner available each day. Each morning episode covers the previous day’s events and a daily clue is released about the Runner’s location. The Runner heads off to their city/state by whatever means – walk, drive, catch a plane. The Chaser and Viewers then start working on the clue.

During the afternoon, the second episode of the day is a live update of the game across social media as the Chaser teams and Viewers try to close in on the Runner for the day.

By evening, an expert panel breaks down the day’s events and the strategies of the Runner and Chaser teams. At this time, the Runner has entered the safe zone for the day or a Chaser team has caught the current Runner, which will lead to a new Runner being released the following day.

Guess who is sponsoring the show as well? The people at Ford have struck a sponsorship deal with The Runner, ensuring the 2017 Ford Escape will feature as part of the show. (If you missed it, Intervirals wrote a post about Ford’s Escape NYC event last week).

The only downside about The Runner is that episodes are geo-blocked, so only people within the United States can view them – go90.com/therunner.

But if you’re curious enough, there are always ways around this.

And across social media:
– Official Accounts for the series giving an overall view of the action –  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram along with the hashtag #TheRunner

– Follow the Chaser teams across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat

– Or if you’re not keen on supporting one of the Chaser teams, it turns out the current Runner is gaining a loyal following at the moment on Twitter, along with the hashtag #TeamRunner

Plus, if you’re keen to see behind the scenes of The Runner – here are some of the best articles out there currently – a infographic, some of the challenges on day one and images of The Runner’s expert panel setup.

Also the initial trailer for The Runner shows some of the awesome camera work and video recording technology following the Chasers and the Runner over the next month.

Essa🙂

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