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XBox (Games)

Halo 2 Website Puzzle Confounds 362

Posted by michael
from the buzz-buzz dept.
redune45 writes "The Halo 2 Theatrical trailer ends with the normal Xbox logo, but it also briefly replaces xbox.com with ilovebees.com. Going to ilovebees.com it appears that the site has been 'hacked', adding to the mystery. The 'owner' of the site set up a separate blog with a post talking about the error. There is a huge thread on the Bungie.net forums on the same issue. The WHOIS information for this site shows that it was first registered on June 14, 2004. But no obvious clues other than that are available. What is going on here?" There's at least one Wiki set up to gather clues. We also mentioned this in an earlier Halo story.
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Halo 2 Website Puzzle Confounds

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  • by stonebeat.org (562495) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @05:22PM (#9790717) Homepage
    does anyone remember the simpsons episode, where Lisa finds a skeleton of an angel with wings? It turns out that was just a marketing gimick to attract people to the grand opening. This ilovebees.com is just that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2004 @05:27PM (#9790748)
    According to Necraft's uptime survery, they switched from "pache/1.3.19 (Unix) (Red-Hat/Linux) mod_ssl/2.8.1 OpenSSL/0.9.6 DAV/1.0.2 PHP/4.0.4pl1 mod_perl/1.24_01" to "Microsoft-IIS/6.0" briefly, but without an uptime reset. I think someone may be sending out fake headers.
  • by Phoenixhunter (588958) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @05:34PM (#9790793)
    The Cortana letters. [bungie.org].

    The Cortana letters preceeded Halo by several years, originating on Newsgroups and touching on some of the game lore of Marathon.

  • by Schemat1c (464768) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @05:45PM (#9790851) Homepage
    This reminds of a pretty cool advertising campaign that was done for the mini series 'V' back in the 80's.

    I used to take BART to school in San Francisco and one day in the stations there appeared these generic looking posters of happy family scenes and such with the words 'The Visitors are our friends' written on them. No other information was anywhere on the posters. Nobody knew what they were about but it got everyone talking. Then about a week later there was suddenly big red spray painted V's on all the posters. It was pretty strange at the time and I didn't know what it was about until the series came out about 6 months later. It got me to watch it.
  • by manifest37 (632701) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @05:48PM (#9790865)
    META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="honey, bees, Margaret, small busines, beekeeping, hives, retail, market, Operator, bug, buggy, virus, infestation, WTF is going on with this damn thing, parasite, strong intrusive inclination, medium, messages, shipwreck, network throttling, SOS, hoax, game, bee hoax, bee game, survivor, survive, evade, resist, escape, a little help would be appreciated, thanks and tip your waitress, sleep, is, good, install, reinstall, re-reinstall, re-re-reinstall, I, love, bees"
    i did the bolding... it's got hoax written all over it, not to mention throttling as in the main page's black overlay.
  • AI Movie... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2004 @05:49PM (#9790875)
    Was anyone here involved with The Game setup for the release of A.I.? Microsoft had a hand in that as well. It was a huge multisite puzzle/story that was written as the players progressed, giving it a very organic adaptable nature. It was wicked hard and the most fun I've ever had. -Mowztrout
  • I called... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gt25500 (622543) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @05:59PM (#9790917)
    I called the number in the WHOIS information. Get voicemail. It is full. I guess I am not the only one who thought about calling.

    415-248-2617 - Sounds like a hot chick. =D
  • Re:Obviously a stunt (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2004 @06:12PM (#9790976)
    It's hosted at Rackspace. You don't need too much money to keep a site up against a /.ing there.
  • by Dark Lord Seth (584963) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @06:13PM (#9790982) Journal

    Some more info here [wikipedia.org] regarding this whole stunt. I wonder about blogspot's policies regarding the use of their services as part of a hoax/advertisement campaign...

  • Suckers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alexburke (119254) * <slashdotmail@alexbur k e .ca> on Saturday July 24, 2004 @06:31PM (#9791059)
    According to this page [netninja.com] (quoted below in italics), "Dana" is trying to remove the defacement.

    If you use WHOIS to look up the domain registration for ilovebees.com it has the following information:

    Margaret Effendi (ladybee777@hotmail.com) 2370 Market Street #510 San Francisco CA 94114-1575 Phone: (415) 248-2617

    Calling the phone gets you a voicemail "Hi, this is Dana, please leave a message." but the mailbox is full. From this I would assume the address also belongs to Dana.

    --- The domain name ilovebees.com was registered on June 14, 2004, the same day as the first post in Dana's blog. The domain is registered until June 14, 2009.


    However, the tags tell another story.

    Before the closing /HTML tag, there is a FONT tag with the attribute "CLASS=dana_white", which applies to what is supposedly the "regular" site text.

    However, in the piece of HTML inserted after the final /HTML tag which produces the black square overlay, there is a FONT tag with the attribute "CLASS=dana_big".

    Would a real defacement have taken the time to begin their class names with "dana_" as in the rest of the document?

    Probably not.

    This, combined with the domain registration taking place the same day as the first post in Dana's blog, leads me to the conclusion that the whole thing is a set-up.

    However, the authors of this elaborate set-up (as in the movie The Game) have left those of us that are smart enough to figure out that this is bullshit a little easter egg:
    <META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="honey, bees, Margaret, small busines, beekeeping,
    hives, retail, market, Operator, bug, buggy, virus, infestation, WTF is
    going on with this damn thing, parasite, strong intrusive inclination, medium,
    messages, shipwreck, network throttling, SOS, hoax, game, bee hoax, bee game,
    survivor, survive, evade, resist, escape, a little help would be appreciated,
    thanks and tip your waitress, sleep, is, good, install, reinstall,
    re-reinstall, re-re-reinstall, I, love, bees">
  • Halo lore and myth (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Foo2rama (755806) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @06:34PM (#9791075) Homepage Journal
    Looks like someone (ie Bungie) is staging a rampancy. Rampacy is what happened to the AI's in the Marathon game. Ie they broke lose from the safeguards imposed on them and went wild. The new black box looks very very similar to the console info in the original Marathon games when Durandel went wild. Bungie has a highly evolved back story for their universe very similar to Larry Nivens known space universe. Niven also wrote the book Ringworld, in which more then a little bit of Halo cribs from. Halo = ringworld. If I remember correctly back from the original marathon back story we are right about the time the first AI went rampant, on earth. I think it was an accidentle ai not created by man but from the interconnectedness of computers. AI's have always featured prominantly in Bungie games as plot conveyers, and info distributers. Here is partial list of Marathon backstory, that also ties into Bungies first fps title "Pathways into Darkness"
    AI history [geeklair.net]
    It is imcomplete but does give some more info. Bungie has admitted that Halo fits in the Marathon/Pathways universe but until now has not tied it together. Many insignias and parts of the game are stolen from Marathon. A good discussion on Marathon/Halo connections [bungie.org]
    I have always been a Marathon fan as I have mention in previouse posts, as many game play feature predated many pc fps titles for a few years. Unreal Tourny did not invent king of the hill, tag, or kill the man with the ball. These had been around on Marathon for a few years. Bungie also allowed people to mod the games and gave tools out to make maps change graphics, and physics way before people started modding games on pc's. It is unfortunate that one of the most ground breaking FPS titles was on the MAC and gets so little recognition. I still lode up marathon games sometimes and reveal in the map design and story. I feel as well as most people that have played the marathon series that Half-life's story line and maps pale in comparison to what Bunigie did on 1995-1999.

    Just my rant...
  • perhaps, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nobodyman (90587) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @06:50PM (#9791138) Homepage
    That doesn't mean that it isn't fun to play along. It's strongly suspected that the designers of this latest "game" are the same folks who created "The Beast [seanstewart.org]", which coincided with the release of A.I. [imdb.com]. So, did it serve as a marketing tool for the movie? Probably. But for many people it was engaging and thought provoking in its own right.

    And no, "The Beast" didn't culminate in a mass-email that said "Thanks for playing, now go see A.I!!". In fact, I don't think there were any direct references to the movie throught the course of the game (but the game arguably did take place in the A.I universe). I'm imagining the ilovebees thing will play out in the same way.

    I know it's microsoft and as such we are required to hate it, but please try to keep an open mind.
  • Solved! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by teknokracy (660401) <[ten.sulet] [ta] [ycarkonket]> on Saturday July 24, 2004 @07:01PM (#9791180)
    Any medium sized site will be completely torn to pieces when it gets slashdotted (well not really torn, but at least taken offline), and even popular news sites get taken offline by the slashdot effect. However, major sites, such as BUNGIE's! ahem, would not go offline, since they are backed by quite powerful servers. This site seems to be surviving the slashdot effect a little TOO well if you ask me, so I will come to the conclusion that it is owned by bungie and has been used as a marketing tool for halo. let's check back in the "3" and then "17" days the popup indicates...

    By the way, the META tags indicate a little more than a hoaxy thing

    "honey, bees, Margaret, small busines, beekeeping,
    hives, retail, market, Operator, bug, buggy, virus, infestation, WTF is
    going on with this damn thing, parasite, strong intrusive inclination, medium,
    messages, shipwreck, network throttling, SOS, hoax, game, bee hoax, bee game,
    survivor, survive, evade, resist, escape, a little help would be appreciated,
    thanks and tip your waitress, sleep, is, good, install, reinstall,
    re-reinstall, re-re-reinstall, I, love, bees"
  • by SilentChris (452960) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @07:55PM (#9791427) Homepage
    "This ilovebees.com is just that."

    (sarcasm) No kidding? Really! And I was gullible enough to think that some dedicated Bungie fan lunatic busted into some random woman's bee site (running IIS of all things) hacked it, told MS about it, and they decided to put it in their commercial! Who would've thought this was a carefully-planned marketing ploy! (/sarcasm)

    OF COURSE WE KNOW THAT. We're enjoying a good old-fashioned mystery, likely by the same guys who did the AI thing. As I said, if you want standard billboards plastered all over the place, be sure to let the advertising industry know. I must prefer this version (which requires thought and at least you can turn it off).
  • by HedonismBot (742920) <guiller@gm a i l .com> on Saturday July 24, 2004 @08:53PM (#9791691)
    I just wanted to chip in about a similar "mystery". Starting October 1st, metacortechs.com (Metacortex was the company Neo worked for in the first movie) unveiled a series of ever-increasing fan-made (this was confirmed at a later point) plots which other fans discovered by using the clues scattered around the sites or even making use of good, old-fashioned brute force hacking.

    Check out this guide [uiowa.edu]; there's a pretty massive amount of information regarding this and it was great fun to see its development.
  • Source (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jozer99 (693146) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @09:59PM (#9791986)
    Has anyone looked at the source of the page in question? I did, and look what the keywords are:

    honey, bees, Margaret, small busines, beekeeping, hives, retail, market, Operator, bug, buggy, virus, infestation, WTF is going on with this damn thing, parasite, strong intrusive inclination, medium, messages, shipwreck, network throttling, SOS, hoax, game, bee hoax, bee game, survivor, survive, evade, resist, escape, a little help would be appreciated, thanks and tip your waitress, sleep, is, good, install, reinstall, re-reinstall, re-re-reinstall, I, love, bees

    For anyone with dislexia or ADHD severe enough for them not to read it, one of the keywords is hoax.
  • Re:Suckers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TechnoGrl (322690) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @10:23PM (#9792074)
    If you use WHOIS to look up the domain registration for ilovebees.com it has the following information: Margaret Effendi (ladybee777@hotmail.com) 2370 Market Street #510 San Francisco CA 94114-1575 Phone: (415) 248-2617 I live in San Francisco and used to live at that address. It is the Fox Plaze apartments. a 28 story building" and the 8th floors and below are devoted to commercial offices. The lease rates are quite high and most of the offices are filled by affluent companies. I'm tempted to go over to #510 and see what ofice is there. I'd bet my DVD drive that it's a marketing company {g}
  • Re:ATTENTION (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Andy_R (114137) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:23PM (#9792306) Homepage Journal
    ok, if the ilovebees one is easy, try a hard one:

    What the hell is X$X

    It's got a wildcard in it so it's very hard to google for.

    www.xdollarx.co.uk changes regularly (novels that don't exist one week, records that don;t exist the next, 1000 page websites that come and go)

    www.xdollarx.com has gone.

    Discussion on the xdollarx yahoo group became very odd very quickly, and then all messages were deleted.

    The earliest sightings of X$X seem to date from about 1987. All I know for sure is that other parts of the X$X meme are
    1) the fake name Michael K and
    2) the fake Magazine "Kathedral"
    3) "The Building" (a website? a book? a record?)
    4) "Smash" (a book? a record? a slogan?) ...but wtf is it trying to sell... if anything?
  • Re:Suckers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 25, 2004 @12:00AM (#9792446)
    There's even more...

    I noticed that some of the images are beginning to get garbled. I took a look through them in notepad and began noticeing random text inside the images. Also the .html files are beginning to get filled with weird text.

    Some examples:
    "Continuing on her quest, she spied another"
    "The Queen was gone,"
    "lay many broken blocks from the ruined"
    "her bony fingers, the Widow next"
    "She cut her a new mouth and fed her"

    This would require a whole lot of work on the site to make the server first parse .html rewrite alot of gif files into scripted code and inject some random text. To think that it was a defacer who would go into such details seems a little odd to me....
  • Re:Viral marketing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mixmasterjake (745969) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:11AM (#9792720)
    I actually "played" the AI viral marketing game when I first discovered it. I found it totally fascinating. There was a huge amount of sites that had already made their way to all of the major search engines and had all appearances of being real - tons of strange sub-plots, etc. There were even certain phases of the game where other game players were receiving faxes and such (when they had previously given their fax number to a fictitious company in the game). If you called certain numbers, sometimes there would be live actors answering the phone. It must have taken many months of full-time work to pull that off.

    The coolest thing about it was that they never even really mentioned the movie AI. It was just generally about artificial intelligence. It was it's own separate thing, and I have to say that it was pretty cool.

    I decided to get into this HALO one just for a bit to see where it would go. I saw an IM address on one of the supposed owner of ilovebees.com blog site. (it's mentioned in one of the user comments to the latest entry). What the hell, I sent an IM. Sure enough, I got a bizarre reply back. From a real person, or perhaps a bot? I don't know - seemed like a real person. They said they'd get back to me later.

    About an hour later, they IM'd me back. We chatted a bit and then I was invited to a chat room. There were four people there chatting. (Same kind of sureal text that is found on the website). In the chat room, the game HALO 2 came up several times in the conversation.

    I think it's still kinda cool that they go to all these lengths to put together an interactive campaign for a game. This one is just a little thin, though. Mentioning the game so early in the "quest" or whatever. Its not quite the same as the AI campaign. But, it would be hard to top that.
  • Re:Viral marketing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alien54 (180860) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:34AM (#9793081) Journal
    got to love those metatag keywords:

    "honey, bees, Margaret, small busines, beekeeping, hives, retail, market, Operator, bug, buggy, virus, infestation, WTF is going on with this damn thing, parasite, strong intrusive inclination, medium,messages, shipwreck, network throttling, SOS, hoax, game, bee hoax, bee game, survivor, survive, evade, resist, escape, a little help would be appreciated, thanks and tip your waitress, sleep, is, good, install, reinstall, re-reinstall, re-re-reinstall, I, love, bees"

    I mean really

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:07PM (#9795360)
    Seek the truth

    Behold the truth

    Reveal the truth

    That is the law and the whole of the law
  • by eliasen (566529) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @05:25PM (#9796325) Homepage
    I did a statistical analysis of ratings of movies, as part of a collaborative filtering movie recommendation program I'm building in Frink [homeip.net] using the million-recommendation database put out by the GroupLens [grouplens.org] project.

    As part of this, I found the movies with the greatest variance in ratings, and did some weighting to balance out movies that hadn't been rated much. Movies with the highest variance indicated the most disagreement as to whether people loved or hated the movie.

    The movie with the biggest variance? (Assuming certain weighting, of course...) The Blair Witch Project. People either loved it or hated it. (I liked it, by the way.)

    The top movies that divide us:

    1. Blair Witch Project, The (1999)
    2. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1958)
    3. Rocky Horror Picture Show, The (1975)
    4. Natural Born Killers (1994)
    5. Dumb & Dumber (1994)
    6. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
    7. Starship Troopers (1997)
    8. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)
    9. Mars Attacks! (1996)
    10. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999)
    11. Armageddon (1998)

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

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