July 2022 | ARGNet: alternate reality gaming network

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Two months ago, magician and puzzle enthusiast Chris Ramsay received a chained and padlocked binder in the mail, along with a letter from Batman’s most infamous villain, the Joker. After solve his way through the puzzle box, Ramsay discovered a coaster featuring the InfiniteRabbitHoles.com website. At the time, the site had a countdown timer and a registration formteasing visitors with the allure of a project that would show “Gotham City like you’ve never seen it before.”

This project ultimately turned out to be BATMAN: The Arkham Asylum Filesa series of three narrative puzzle boxes designed to bring Gotham City to life, created by many of the 42 Entertainment team members who worked on Why so seriousthe multi-year alternate reality game leading to the release of The black Knight. Their goal: to capture the wonder and surprise of Why so serious‘ and create a self-contained game that could be experienced more intimately at home, with family and friends. The crowdfunding campaign runs until July 22, with the first box promised to be delivered as early as Christmas this year.

Chris Ramsay, before opening the Joker box he received

The rabbit hole before Infinite Rabbit Holes: A box-shaped puzzle in homage to Why so serious
by Chris Ramsay video solving the joker puzzle box was a very tactile experience: after unlocking the five locks holding down the chained binder, Ramsay was able to get his hands on an extra layer of puzzles preventing him from unlocking one last box hiding his prize: a Joker’s birthday cake, resting on a coaster with the URL “Infinite Rabbit Holes”.

Ramsay’s unboxing video is a compelling video in its own right, but doubled as a heartfelt tribute to Why so serious for viewers familiar with the alternate reality game, with several puzzles referencing key moments from the previous game. A few of the more obvious puzzle-like cries include:

Left: Why so serious‘Halloween Challenge 2007. Image: Infinite Rabbit Holes‘ ransom letter puzzle
  • The Joker’s Ransom NoteInfinite Rabbit HolesThe unboxing of the binder began when Ramsay read a ransom note assembled from magazine clippings: the shapes of some of these clippings were key to solving the box puzzle. Why so seriousThe 2007 Halloween Challenge asked players to piece together their own ransom note, taking photos of 49 locations across the United States and sending them to the Joker. With each upload, an aerial photograph of the letter-shaped buildings was added to the WhySoSerious website.
Left: SDCC 2007 attendees don clown face paint for the conclusion of the event. Right: Chris Ramsay masks for other reasons.
  • batman mask – After opening the binder, Ramsay reveals a Batman mask with red-tinted lenses as a reward for completing the first phase of the puzzle, as well as a key tool for solving a later puzzle. For Why so serious‘San Diego Comic-Con Scavenger Huntplayers were tasked with a series of missions (including making themselves up as a clown) and were rewarded for their efforts with their own clown mask.
Left: Why so serious‘ ringing cake. Right: Infinite Rabbit Holes‘ equally sound cake.
  • The return of the cake – One of Why so serious‘ the most memorable moments involved the holiday cake deliveries: in December 2007, the players were sent to 22 bakeries across the United States, with instructions to request pick-up for “Robin Banks”. The first player at each location received a cake, iced with instructions to call a specific number. Once dialed, the cake started ringing and the lucky recipients had to dig inside the cake to retrieve their new phone burner. Ramsay’s cake-themed finale might have a different icy message on top, but the experience itself is the clearest tribute of the bunch, and the full video is worth watching for that alone. moment.

At the time this video was uploaded these connections appeared to be the creators of the puzzle box were just ardent fans of Why so seriouswho wanted to pay tribute to an immersive luminaire Batman the story. However, there was an additional hint that more was going on. A few weeks before Ramsay’s unboxing video, Dave Cobb tweeted a link to a curious advertisement for Infinite Rabbit Holes, printed in programs for Thea Awards (a themed entertainment industry awards show). The ad stated that Animal repair shop was involved with Infinite Rabbit Holes: A company run by several household names from 42 Entertainment.

And with that, the tribute turned into a promise: the personalities behind the Why so serious alternate reality game would return to the Batman franchise to some extent, more than 15 years later.

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