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I Love Bees Coming to an End 247

With the gold status of Halo 2, the ILoveBees performance will soon come to an end. Wired has an article discussing the meme in depth, and going into details about what exactly it is. If you haven't had a chance to experience the phenomenon yet, the article does a good job of laying it out. (Though the performance finale doesn't come until Halo 2's launch day.)
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I Love Bees Coming to an End

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  • by to be a troll (807210) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:20PM (#10568863)
    damn...and all this time i thought the bees were REALLY taking over...i guess another four more years of Bush is all we have to look forward to:(
  • Damn (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:21PM (#10568872)
    So far I didn't have a chance to experience this great advertisement and now I hear it's going away. Life sucks.
  • 'Meme' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:23PM (#10568897)
    Dude, I hate to tell you this - but 'meme' doesn't mean what you think it means.

    People just like to say "meme" I think. Sounds deep.
    • Re:'Meme' (Score:5, Funny)

      by Takeel (155086) <v32gd4r02 AT sneakemail DOT com> on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:46PM (#10569127) Homepage Journal
      People just like to say "meme" I think. Sounds deep.

      If by "people" you mean "lots of blogging weenies", then yes.
    • Re:'Meme' (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vaevictis666 (680137) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @04:41PM (#10569673)
      The proper mocking quote is:

      You keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means.
      - Inigo Montoya

    • Yeah, and I will also add my two cents to your +5 Insightful:

      SF is preferred over scifi, if you care about such things, but I am not sure it counts for games...

      • Well, that depends on who you talk to...I have a feeling you're talking about Asimov's famous dislike of the term scifi, though he personally preferred "s.f." rather than SF.
        • I dunno, the meme is just sorta burned into the ol' grey matter. I'll have to research it, now that you bring it up. ;-)
        • My recollection is that starting in about the mid-80s, sf became the preferred term for *literary* science fiction. (This was about the time that "speculative fiction" was gaining traction as a term, and sf worked for both of them.) Sci-fi remained the preferred term for TV & movie science fiction.

          But all of that was only within the writing community & fandom. The world at large never noticed that little terminology difference, and kept referring to everything as "sci-fi" (which term I remember bei

          • all I remember is reading a couple of letters in which Asimov was practically RABID about sci-fi! He hated it!

            It originated, iirc as a pun on "hi-fi" and that really irked Asimov :-p

            Then again, he also as you say preferred s.f. as it seemed more respectable for the literary genre--important to Asimov as it wasn't a particularly respectable genre during much of his life.
    • meme. Hey, you're right, I sound deep!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The word 'meme' comes from some outdated bogus theory that the same ideas that drive genetic traits also drive ideas. While people would agree that there is superficial similarities, the ideas of memetics have largely been discredited for decades... only to have the word 'meme' resurrected by a bunch of "postmodern" pretentious weenies that seem to think that the word meme is hip.
    • by northstarlarry (587987) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:45PM (#10569124)
      Actually, the word "meme" was coined in 1988 by Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene. The study of memetics has only been around for about a decade and a half. A lot of smart people doubt the usefullness and the plausibility of the study, but since it is so new, it is vey hard to tell.

      It's certainly true that the proponents of memetics have a hard time really sitting down and coming up with hard evidence of what they are talking about, but it's also true that doing that is extremely difficult, given the material (which is insubstantial and only really detectable second-hand) and the nature of the idea, which is probably close to sociology, but also straddles psychology and biology.

      You have to admit, however, that, on its own, the idea of a "meme" -- an idea as a self-contained unit that makes its way around the culture -- is both fascinating and useful for description of some cultural phenomena.

      • Dawkins himself pointed out some large problems with the concept 'meme'. First among those, he cited how the frequency of errors for verbal or graphic memes was very high per copying, compared to the error rate for DNA based genetics, or even that of DNA's suspected immediate precursor, RNA. He then went on to say perhaps some way around this difficulty could be found. He didn't actually offer one though, and without it, 'meme' theory is a theory that has no solid underpinnings and appears to make one big p
    • by erikharrison (633719) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:49PM (#10569156)
      I would say that memetics really is more like the Saphir-Worf hypothesis. In many ways discredited, but resurfacing in modified forms.

      The way memetics claims ideas propagate bears at least a superficial similarity to the way ideas propagate on the internet - the bloggers and the webzines and even slashdot all parrot each other intentionally and unintentionally. Now, even in this context you can probably gripe about the use of the workd meme here. But stuff like "Perl is line noise" is very much a meme in that sense. It get's aped and parroted, and said by anonymous cowards trying to look like they know what they are talking about - a meme. "I don't know where this line noise meme started" is a reasonable statement.

      Besides, meme is a good word. I'm happy to have it back, even with a slightly altered meaning.
    • because saying meme over and over again is a trendy meme..

      or something.

    • by uberdave (526529) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:54PM (#10569218) Homepage
      The Coward's just trying to start a "meme's don't exist" meme. Don't fall for it.
    • Memetics was never a theory that the same ideas that drive genetic traits also drive ideas. The guy who coined the term, Richard Dawkins, has always maintained that a Meme is [i]analogous[/i] to a gene. Memetics is more of theory that evolutionary principles also drive culture like it does genetics. Memetics is merely a way to talk about cutural evolution in an analogy to biological evolution. It's neither bogus nor outdated.

      More information here:
    • by Grendel Drago (41496) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @04:36PM (#10569624) Homepage
      That's not the worst of it. Over at Livejournal [], the word "meme" has taken on the definition of "annoyingly colorful randomly-generated crap that you copy and paste into your journal". Every time I see someone calling some memegen crap [] a "meme", I die a little inside.

      (For the lucky uninitiated, these things work by taking some random input, hashing it and picking random elements from sets of answers.)

      --grendel drago
    • Dude. Wake up. Put down the primer and get with the 21st century, gramps.

      Kids these days use the term 'meme' to mean a unit of information which is transferred from mind to mind.

      Oh yeah, and the "pretentious weenies that seem to think that the word meme is hip" line. A first-year psych student will tell you, that is classic projection. YOU are the weenie, and YOU think the word is hip.

  • by Timesprout (579035) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:27PM (#10568931)
    I will wait for Dennis Ritchie to develop I love Cees
  • by CoffeeJedi (90936) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:28PM (#10568939)
    Looks like I'm the only BeeKeeper to reply so far.
    I just have to say that here's been no better thing with which to waste my time at work... sure its a marketing ploy i guess... but big deal. this ARG actually had characters that we cared about, and a very engaging branching/overlapping storyline, the threads of which are just coming together this week. It's also brought alot of people together as friends who probably never would interact in real life. Now if you'll excuse me... I have a payphone to answer.......
  • WOW (Score:4, Insightful)

    by seven5 (596044) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:33PM (#10568987)
    Now i know the ignorance level is at an all time high here at slashdot these days, but every single comment i just read full of it.

    "i went to that dumb website when it started, and its dumb. Its still dumb now. This advertisement is Dumb. Sorry i missed out on all the DUMB"

    While yes, it does amount to marketing, its way more than an advertisement. The sheer level of involvement in the people who produce an alternate reality game is enough to peak your interest. Try going to or and learning about what I Love Bees actually is and then bewilder us with your obsessive commentary.
    • Re:WOW (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:37PM (#10569047)
      Now i know the ignorance level is at an all time high here at slashdot these days, but every single comment i just read full of it.

      "i went to that dumb website when it started, and its dumb. Its still dumb now. This advertisement is Dumb. Sorry i missed out on all the DUMB"

      Now while I see what you are saying and I agree with you at least as far as everyone hating everything... I have to say that marketing schemes have been popping up everywhere trying to get people involved and it seriously reminds me that you need to watch A Christmas Story more than once during its Thanksgiving -> Christmas Eve runs...


      Remember that in this day and age we have pay-for radio play so that songs get boosted on the charts, we have Jeep getting involved with Geocaching to spread little yellow pieces of marketing trash around, and payphones ringing across the country just so people get excited about a product.

      How about you not get suckered in and you buy the product because it's superior not because the marketing gods have your brain by the balls.
      • But in this case the marketing campaign has become part of the product. And appearantly, quite a few folks feeling that it's enhancing the quality of the game for them. It's all a little weird for me (What's with the name, anyway?) but I'm not sure I'd lump this into the same category as pay for play and secret decoder rings.

        • Re:WOW (Score:4, Interesting)

          by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @04:02PM (#10569297)
          I'm not sure I'd lump this into the same category as pay for play and secret decoder rings.

          From what I remember of the Ovaltine thing was that they listened to a story for weeks, waited for their decoder ring, all for the final wrap up so that they could decode the all important message.

          All it turned out to be was a lame marketing gimick for Ovaltine...

          While the final storyline message might be different the principle remains the same. You listen and listen and listen, hooked on every word, and find out that in the end you have been just been duped into buying your Ovaltine just because you're a fan of something they pay for.
          • by Mant (578427)

            People taking part in ILB already know it is for Halo 2, so how is anyone being duped? You seem to have a serious hate on for any marketing, even though in this case people know exactlty what it is, what it is for, and are enjoying it.

            Nobody is being duped or suckered here, and some people are having a lot of fun. So what is so bad? Just because it is marketing it must be evil?

      • I try not to let my paranoia get in the way of a good time.
      • Ilovebees = fun. I enjoy playing it and I couldn't give a damn about Halo 2. So should a "marketing gimmick" be ignored even if it is entertaining on its own? Do you refuse to be entertained by an inventive television commercial because even though it's funny, it's there to sell you something? For that matter, the purpose of television is to keep you watching so you see the commercials and they make money. So I guess since the entertainment inustry isn't out intentionally keeping us amused for free, we
      • by nmk (781777)
        How about you not having a chip on your shoulder and learning to relax a little bit.
      • by Jtheletter (686279) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @04:19PM (#10569460)
        "How about you not get suckered in and you buy the product because it's superior not because the marketing gods have your brain by the balls. "

        How about you look into your subject a little before you bash people for being suckered by advertising when that's not the case?

        The ARG is based on the story of the Halo universe, and yes, come November 9th it will end (According to the Wired article) with ppl being directed to video game stores to buy the game. But although it is technically just one giant commercial, there is not a constant product barrage. People answering the payphones aren't getting spammed with "Buy Bungie games!" or "XBox Rulez!" because that breaks the suspension of disbelief the game (I Love Bees) has created. It is in fact a standalone free alternate reality game. You don't have to like Halo, you don't have to have even ever played Halo. While it may be true that there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is nothing about ILB that forces its product upon you, and I have a feeling that come Nov 9th a lot of people are going to be very sad their fun is over, but go on with their lives w/o giving a rat's ass whether they play Halo2 or not.

        As for me, I don't have time to crack cyphers and answer random payphones, but I'll be buying Halo 2 because Halo was the most fun multiplayer FPS I've ever played IMO. Some people may decide to buy Halo 2 because of ILB, and if not then at least they had fun playing the game, incidentally one which gets people outside and interacting rather than just staring monotonously at the television for hours. And unlike the decoder ring revealing an anticlimactic paid advertisement, the "secret" unlocked by ILB will possibly be one of the best video games ever produced - hardly a letdown.

        • How about you look into your subject a little before you bash people for being suckered by advertising when that's not the case?

          How about you read into some of the examples I mentioned before you start into some uneducated barage of bullshit?

          But although it is technically just one giant commercial, there is not a constant product barrage. People answering the payphones aren't getting spammed with "Buy Bungie games!" or "XBox Rulez!" because that breaks the suspension of disbelief the game (I Love Bees)
          • The point of all of this is that even though YOU might not care it's still blatant marketing and you are falling for it hook, line, and sinker.

            But... But... we need this kind of bullshit more than ever! You see, with fewer and fewer people required to work at useful jobs, because of accelerating productivity, we instead need to rely on this bullshit economy. We have to happily consume BS and produce more BS, otherwise we'll have to reevaluate the welfare system. :)


          • The music cartels love to give you what you want...

            And then...

            The point of all of this is that even though YOU might not care it's still blatant marketing and you are falling for it hook, line, and sinker.

            If you really believe that first line, then all their hook, line and sinker are belong to you.

            Hint: the music cartel (note the singular) gives you what they want to give you, and tells you it's what you want. Apparently, many people believe them.

      • I have seen TV ads which I enjoyed more than the show they interrupted (not to mention popular shows with almost nothing but advertising). I don't rush out and buy the product just because the ad was superior, however. You could think of Michelangelo's David or Pietà as merely advertising for the Christian religion, but that would be rather missing the point. Just because creative art is inspired by (or even funded by) a group with an interest in winning you over to their way of thinking does not inva
      • Funny......I Geocache and have never found a cache that had any kind of reference to Jeep. In fact I had to go to the site to see if what you said is true. I guess their advertising is not so good.
    • yeah, but it's DUMB.

  • I don't see why everyone is so up-in-arms about this thing. It was an alternative-reality advertising campaign for Halo 2. If you didn't get anything out of it, it probably wasn't for you. If you're a rampant conspiracy theorist like me, then you probably found it interesting. If you got into the story, answered some payphones, etc, then it was definitely meant for you.

    If you followed it every instant of every day, forfeiting sleep, food, and work time for the purpose of tracking it, then it probably means
    • If you followed it every instant of every day, forfeiting sleep, food, and work time for the purpose of tracking it, then it probably means you need to get a significant other. ;)

      as soon as I can save the $5000 []

  • ...did anybody ever find out who DID kill Raymond Chan?
  • Useful Links (Score:5, Informative)

    by (SM) Spacemonkey (812689) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:37PM (#10569046)
    It would appear, to my much surprise, that none of you have read the wired article. Basically I Love Bee is a game. But a game played out in real life. They provide clues, and you run around working the clues out for more clues. This happens in the real world, using phones and websites. This game was used by Bungie to promote their own game, which happens on your XBOX. Very simple concept, terribly obscured.
    Anyway these links provide more information, and a community you play the game. [] []
    They probably aren't ready for a slashdoting.
  • Very interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Omniscientist (806841) <matt.badecho@com> on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:39PM (#10569063) Homepage
    It may be advertising but its using a creative medium...the internet and pay phones, whose GPS coords are provided. At a first glance tho, the is a little archaic, couldn't find any GPS coords or anything, didn't really try tho.

    Its very hard to make the connection between and Halo 2 at first glance, and I never heard about it until this article. But of course then I saw the word "grenade" on the webpage...I mean c'mon whats more Halo than random grenades.

    One thing tho is that I can't really see this being an effective advertising method...basically because your average joe will only labor through this webpage and decipher the secrets if they already are into Halo 2, so its more like they just wanted to provide some fun entertainment and background to the story.
  • Ah ha! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Your_Mom (94238) < minus herbivore> on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:41PM (#10569075) Homepage
    I finally understand why so many people have been visiting my friend's website [] from ilovebees related sites. (It's a website about locations of payphones).

    We were scratching our heads on this one.
  • Um, where in this article did it explain what is going on? Sure everyone knows it's a marketing tool. What's the story line so far? Sure I've seen the site, I don't have the time to play, doesn't anyone have a synopsis? Go ahead and give spoilers, it's almost over anyway.
  • Wiki explanation (Score:5, Informative)

    by Xeo 024 (755161) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:43PM (#10569099) [click here []]

    The "Haunted Apiary" ARG

    The website ( is currently being used as a publicity site for Halo 2, with the site being pointed to by adverts for the game during movie trailers. Ostensibly a site about bees, the server appears to have been taken over by some mysterious force, which is "counting down to something".

    The frontpage has a counter counting down to July 27 (when it says "network throttling will erode"), August 10 (when "this medium will metastasize"), and August 24 (at 8:06 am, when it will be "wide awake and physical") - many think something big will happen related to Halo 2 on these dates. Other messages relating to the Halo story are hidden throughout the site. Now that the countdown has ended, a new era in the ILB saga has begun and November 9th is gonna be big.

    This style of publicity is similar to that which surrounded the movie A.I. which featured a grand Alternate Reality Game. The Halo ARG has been dubbed The Haunted Apiary. [click here []]
  • by dirk (87083) <> on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @03:52PM (#10569189) Homepage
    As a Cloudmaker (the group that participated in the AI game now known as The Beast) I was disappointed by the I Love Bees "game". While the story was certainly interesting, and that is what kept me in it for as long as I was, the game aspect seemed to be sorely lacking. Almost everything was taking bits of text or audio that was given to people then figuring out how to assemble them so that they make sense. It was less of a game, and more of a story that the reader had to assemble from parts. Sure, those parts were scattered around through different readers, but there really wasn't much of a challenge. A large part of the draw of The Beast for me was the actual puzzle aspect. Figuring out what answers Eliza wanted. Having to take chess moves, enter them into a chess program to find the best counter-move, and then have that be the password. Puzzles that forced huge amounts of people to brainstorm together to come up with the answers.

    I Love Bees may be a good marketing tool. And it may be a good story. But it failed as a game for me.
    • There were lots of hidden puzzles contained in the pictures on the site. Every week there has been at least one set of wav files that are not on the main site and for which there are no coordinates. By solving the puzzles, the beekeepers could determine the names of the hidden files for all to hear. Some of the puzzles were real stumpers. For instance there was a huge list of prepositions and no one could figure out what it meant. It turned out the answer was the one preposition that was missing: upon. The
    • Dude, where have you been? There have been dozens of puzzles. There's been a set of puzzles released on a weekly basis. What do you think is corrupting all those jpeg's, anyhow?
  • Homer: Or what? You'll release the dogs, or the bees, or the dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you? sounds/Homer/bees.wav [] []
  • by payndz (589033) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @04:50PM (#10569791)
    ...when the 'I Hate Bees' game starts. Little pollen-spreading black-and-yellow bastards.

    Not as bad as wasps, though. If there's ever an 'I Hate Wasps' game, count me in! Those fuckers have a nest somewhere in my apartment building, and when I turn my heating on for the winter I keep finding wasp corpses in my living room!

  • FireFlies Guide (Score:3, Interesting)

    by clamatius (78862) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @04:51PM (#10569804) Homepage
    I've done a bunch of research on this game since I happened to notice it early. A group of us [] weren't happy with the quality of reference material available and decided to start an editorial-team based Wiki.

    If you're interested in the "I Love Bees" ARG (Alternate Reality Game) [] and want a more in-depth view, you might want to take a look at the FireFlies Guide []. For the whole picture, we have a bunch of analysis and reference info available on the rest of our Wiki [].
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @05:17PM (#10570052)
    People seem to dismiss ILoveBees as "YetMoreMarketing".

    But the reality is closer to Halo 2 being an ad for ILoveBees! Think about, never once on any ILoveBees area is Halo 2 mentioned. Nor will it be - the whole point of an ARG is the alternate reality! ILoveBees is devoted to slowly playing out this alternate reality, feeding you glimpses of it to get you hooked on the story. It's bulding up this alternate reality where teh Covenent are slowly snuffing out worlds, and getting closer to the Earth.

    So in a way it's a sort of inverse marketing, that tells you nothing at all about the product it's meant to get you interested in, but instead meant to get you interested enough in what is going through qualities of its own to maek you want to seek out the product yourself. Of course it helps that you have a back-link in that many people found out about it from the Halo 2 trailer, but that's not made explicit anywhere on ILoveBees.

    They make a good point in the Wired article that ILoveBees can stand on its own. I don't even plan to get Halo2 (not having an XBox) until it comes out on the mac (several years hence no doubt). But I still really enjoy listening to teh combined story, even if I don't have time to play the game itself.

    For those of a similar mind, they happily have all the audio collected in nice easy to digest chronological bits here [].

    So, even though it's marketing it's the very best kind which is really not meant to sell the product - it's meant to sell the story - through only text and audio! And isn't that pretty cool all by itself?
  • And I thought those russian BOXs with French HALO 2 were legit.
  • Hey kids:
    • Do you hate "viral" advertising?
    • Do you love beer?
    Then perhaps you should check out ilovebeer []!
  • by euxneks (516538) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @08:47PM (#10571529)
    Some people take reality gaming a bit too far:

    Choice Quote:
    "Dude," said Puppetmaster 2, "it's a hurricane. Put the phone down."
  • Coke vs Pepsi. . . (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @02:47AM (#10573401)

    Okay, this is pretty dumb. This site reminds me of every stupid faked computer interaction ever to make it into a mainstream movie.

    The page loads. Then some JavaScript starts inserting crap and shifting things. Oooooo! WTF? What kind of retarded tech-type could even suspend the tiniest bit of disbelief over this?

    Sorry, but it's ludicrous from the very first page hit. At least the whole A.I. release seemed to be a technologically-grounded puzzle, rather than a silly, contrived, visual presentation.

    Yeah! I have the same problem with books!

    It's like, you're supposed to believe that the words written on a sheaf of dead tree sheets is actually happening when obviously they're just words put there by some printing press! How insulting to a person's intelligence is that?! And you even have to turn the sheets of paper over yourself! The whole thing is a total crock! Totally unbelievable!

    And then there's D&D. . , where people say they're somebody else, when really they're just spinning falsehoods. Don't even get me started on D&D!

    Though, joking aside, I can see totally your point. The fact that you're having the "failure to suspend disbelief reaction", (which to be fair, I entirely shared when looking at the Bees page), means that it could have been done a lot better.

    The way I would have done it, off the top of my head, is to have made a web page or series of web pages which look like they'd actually been altered in a conventional way, but by a source with a fantastic origin. In a fictional story where it is possible to send matter and energy back through time, how hard is it to accept that electrons and magnetic charges stored on a web server can be manipulated from the future? Remember the phone message system to the future used in, "12 Monkeys"? --That kind of logic was clean and plausible, some variation of which could easily be used to introduce fictional elements into the real world in this case. Anything is possible with fiction. That's the point. There is no good excuse for clumsy "style over substance" mistakes. --A desperate commando from the future seeking help in the past I doubt is going to waste his time making clever looking javascript graphics. (Unless of course, you're trying to show that he's a fucking idiot. He was on the losing side, was he? Hmm.)

    But then, the nature of this game was dreamed up by a team which included, most likely, a lot of marketing people and not enough solid creative types who had command veto. Marketing people have the curious problem of being very smart and very stupid at the same time. It's really hard, apparently, to wash the 'slick' off a marketing drone. Most things dreamed up by marketing drones tend to have that subtle odor of, "Coke vs Pepsi". It makes me very badly not want to buy stuff. Ever.

    But, clearly, we're in the minority.


In every non-trivial program there is at least one bug.