Of late there has been a lot of interest in virtual web worlds such as Habbo Hotel, WarCraft and Second Life, well now you can add a new name to this list Perplex City which combines the real world with the virtual world to create an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) .
Today Mind Candy, the UK based developers behind the ARG (Alternative Reality Game) Perplex City, announced they had raised $7 million from Accel Partners and existing investor Index Ventures and NewMedia Spark to fund a major expansion of new products to be announced in early 2007 including the development of its second major puzzle brand aimed at a younger demographic.
An ARG is a form of mystery or treasure hunt that blends real world events, websites, text messages, TV, print and a wide range of other media to create an immersive gaming experience. Mind Candy’s signature game, Perplex City, is a combination of a story, a game, and a real-life treasure hunt that revolves around the search for a missing treasure, a valuable artefact, the Receda Cube, which has been stolen from Perplex City and buried somewhere on Earth. The Perplex City Academy has launched a worldwide hunt for the Cube, using puzzle cards to gather interest and spread clues. They’ve also put up a very real reward of £100,000/$200,000.
The game has proved most popular with 16 to 30 year olds and currently has tens of thousands of players from 92 different countries around the world. The investigation into the theft is still unfolding. Clues and information have been hidden in newspapers, websites, magazines, sky-writing, music CDs, phone calls, SMS messages, live events, videos, puzzles and games all over the planet. “Find out who stole the Cube and you’ll be one step closer to locating it and claiming the six-figure prize!” To join the hunt, click here.
The second season of the game will be launching in early 2007 and there are currently a wide-range of new Perplex City products in development including books, video games and mobile content.
Michael Smith, CEO of Mind Candy, said: “Our first game, Perplex City, has generated several million dollars in revenue and tapped into the rapidly growing popularity of both puzzles and Alternate Reality Games. Now we plan to take that to a new level by evolving our products to appeal to a larger, more mainstream audience.”
Bruce Golden, General Partner at Accel Partners said; “We believe that Mind Candy is a pioneer in developing new forms of entertainment that combine some of the best attributes of the internet with the strengths of traditional board games, puzzles, and treasure hunts. Mind Candy’s initial success at establishing a passionate community of participants in Perplex City, combined with their ambitious plans to build a global brand for consumers interested in this new form of entertainment, represents a very exciting investment opportunity for us.“
Mind Candy was founded in 2003 by Michael Smith (CEO) with original backing from Tom Teichman, NewMedia Spark, John Hegarty, Saul Klein and Robin Klein. On a personal note I am very pleased for Michael who I have had the pleasure to meet on several occasions at a variety of London networking events. He previously co-founded the very successful online retailer Firebox.com in 1998 and besides doing all of this still finds time to be one half of the driving force behind the London entrepreneurial networking event – Second Chance Tuesday.