Tracey Thompson

Product Design Leader, SF Bay Area

Terminator: Dark Discovery

How can we deliver information and clues for an alternate reality game?

San Francisco

Tachyon San Francisco

To promote Fox’s “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”, online and social media advertising company Millions of Us developed a live-action alternate reality game consisting of video, puzzles, and user contributed content.

The game begins with Enitech Research Labs, a modest tech-based start up based on San Francisco. As an open-source technology company, Enitech releases some of its research findings hoping for feedback. Early video blog posts reveal that Enitech has developed a Tachyon camera that can photograph the future. As the weekly videos unfold, the camera begins to reveal grim predictions of what’s to come.

Game participants visited to receive video updates, find clues to the next piece of the puzzle, and discuss the progression of the game’s storyline. Over two million people followed the Terminator: Dark Discovery storyline. Wired, Ain’t it Cool News, BoingBoingTV, Gawker Media featured content from the ARG or provided discussion about the project. “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” scored the highest series premiere ratings of any new TV show in three years. Terminator: Dark Discovery was acknowledged as a Webby Honoree.

For this project, I designed and built the Enitech web site. Using css style sheets, html and some php, I created a simple web structure intended to communicate the idea of a small, modestly funded tech start up. A “slick” site may have tipped game players on to the viral marketing component of the game before they were engaged in the story.

Photography Note: I supplied the image of downtown San Francisco that the artists at Industrial Light and Magic converted to the future image of San Francisco in ruin.