Up the Rabbit Hole: Charlotte and the Heart of Darkness

When an alternate reality game comes to an end it’s always a very intense moment, for the players as well as for the puppetmasters. For a couple of weeks you get involved in a story, you follow the path of its characters and most important you meet people, in forums, chatrooms or in real life who become your friends. It’s like waking up from a dream. You are still overwhelmed by all these rivaling emotions. You know exactly that it’s over and you can’t go back, but it’s hard to let loose. Coming up the rabbit hole leaves a vacuum in your life, no matter if you have experienced the game in front of or behind the curtain.The story I am referring to in this post started six weeks ago on a sunny beach in southern California and ended last Sunday in a dark forrest near Potsdam. The story was about a psychiatrist named Ivan Krotzler, PH.D., who had gone missing under mysterious circumstances after a burglary in his practice. Allthough he had changed his name, it was soon discovered who the psychiatrist really was: Victor Larenz, an anagram of “Ivan Krotzler” and the protagonist of Sebastian Fitzeks,bestselling novel “Therapy”. Haunted by his own terrible past Ivan had gone on a journey into the heart of darkness to meet his fate.

“Charlotte is becoming real” as the players titled the game was designed to support the U.S. release of “Therapy” on March 17th. Our intention was to tell the sequel, based on the source material of the book and thereby expand it’s gothic atmosphere by making popcultural references. “Charlotte” was our first alternate reality game we developed mainly for an audience in the United States and we were a bit skeptic whether this would work. In the end, it seemed like it did. For the showdown two players, Pink Cloud and Rowan, came all the way from America to Germany where they successfully joined forces with Fitzek-Fans and stopped Victor from doing harm and saving his life. And with live events in San Diego, New York City, Berlin and Potsdam, “Charlotte” happened to be the first transcontinental ARG so far.

We would like to thank the players for their will to follow this story. It was a pleasure and an honor for us to share this experience with you. You guys are great! Thanks and excuses to JD for the time we stole you. And thanks to Sebastian. It’s your strong commitment to alternate reality gaming that made this all possible.

Join the puppetmaster-chat on Tuesday, April 29th at 10 p.m. Berlin time, 4 p.m. New York time, 1 p.m. San Diego time



A diary of the events written by Rowan:



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