A Valve-launched alternate reality game kicked off at the beginning of the month with the release of The Potato Sack bundle on Steam. Since then, various clues have been pieced together, with the latest development coming from a series of emails sent out to various media members with portions of an image that come together to show what appears to be a diving bell.
The image above is the assembled version of the nine pieces that were emailed out by Valve boss Gabe Newell. The titles of the individual pieces are anagrams for each other; the phrase “reboot process” seems to be the most logical version when scrambling the letters, and it’s been suggested that this is connected to GLaDOS and Portal 2. (Just today, the first part of the Portal webcomic, filling in the story gap between Portal and Portal 2, happened to be posted online.)
A deciphered version of the numbers seen in the emailed images translate into talking about GLaDOS-style statements: “[T]he system is in lockdown. I still have access to thirteen off-site chambers and am installing a test in each one. I am going to need a lot more test subjects to move forward.” Players assume the role of an Aperture Science test subject named Chell in Portal, so the pieces do seem to fit that this is somehow Portal-related.
It’s exciting to think it might be connected to the ever-elusive Half-Life 2: Episode 3, but with Portal 2’s release less than two weeks away, Portal makes a lot more sense. We know the ship Borealis plays into both the Portal and Half-Life stories in some way, and the photo above is of a diving bell — maybe there is a connection?
A wiki dedicated to the so-called Potato Fools Day ARG is located here. It features a timeline of everything that has happened thus far and is staying updated with the latest developments.
Whatever this turns out to be, hopefully it’s something a bit more substantial than an Ovaltine commercial. (Though what a great joke it would be if that turns out to be what it is.)
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