spoiler (H3)

First off, a quick apology for the lack of updates around here. Mrs. Narcogen and I have been moving all our worldly possessions crosstown in cardboard boxes, suitcases and backpacks over the past two weeks, and the job now is nearly done. For me, that makes... eleven apartments in thirteen years. The new place once again has a separate room for all the gadgetry, so that's where the New Rampancy Towers is located.

Iris Reaches Out And Touches... The Wrong Person

The Hushed Casket has quickly become, along with the CompundIntelligence group at Bungie.net and the ARG forum at Bungie.org, one of the best places to keep up with the alternate reality game promoting Halo 3, which is apparently called "Iris". There's still no hint of whether or not Forty Two is involved in this game, although it does seem that Bungie is a bit more involved this time around, and things are more clearly focused on the game. The Halo 3 comic, for instance, is a far more straightforward bit of storytelling with a direct connection to the game, as compared to the I Love Bees audio drama. This has led to a predictable criticism-- that if the game only attracts fans of Halo, as opposed to fans of ARGS, what's the point, since Halo fans are going to buy Halo anyway? I've wondered that myself more than once. Clearly the sales benefits of ARGs are indirect at best.

Those benefits are likely no comfort at all to college student Michael VanderZand, whose mobile phone number was concluded to be related to the game because of its resemblance to a number in an Xbox Live profile. For the full story, read rapture's piece at THX.

As for the game itself, the friendly (if a bit terse) AI called "Adjutant Reflex", mistaken by many as a monitor despite his lack of a numerical designation, has apparently been taken over by a more powerful and less friendly entity-- perhaps that is a monitor?

We're In For Some Chop

Yesterday I read at HBO that Louis Wu was linking to a purported list of Halo 3 achievements, but was a bit suspicious at first. Then, the authenticity of the list was seemingly confirmed when it was also located at a very official source-- xbox.com itself.

Imagine my disappointment, since I had just finished writing a long piece on how the achievements couldn't possibly be the real thing, but were just a hoax perpetrated by a fan with too much time on his hands. I posted the thing and deleted it within five minutes.

Even now, looking at the list, I hold on to a desperate hope that it's a red herring or perhaps a placeholder of some sort. If it's real, it's a spoiler, so click "read more" below for my look at the list.

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The below appears as "The Story So Far" on Halo3.com as of this writing, May 2, 2007. My notes interspersed below in italics.

It is the year 2552.

Humanity has long been at war with the terrifying alien civilization that collectively calls itself the Covenant. This monstrous conglomerate of warlike species sees Humanity as a form of heresy against their religion - a faith based in the single-minded belief that a Great Journey awaits the faithful.

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Wired blogger Chris "GeekDad" Anderson recounts what little of his recent Bungie Studios visit that his NDA will allow. What he can say is that he recorded about thirty lines of Marine dialogue for a character that apparently becomes Flood infected. The process apparently involves "screaming like a girl".

He's put up all the lines he was asked to read in his blog, so head over and check them out.

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