The recent patch released on 2 March (Singapore time) for Portal has added a mystifying “Changed radio transmission frequency to comply with federal and state spectrum management regulations” update.
An undescribed new Portal achievement, called “Transmission Received”, was also added.
Users have discovered that this Portal update is in fact, an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) designed by Valve. Here is a summary of the ARG so far (taken from this Steam forum post):
-Portal gets surprise update yesterday afternoon
-People see new mystery achievement
-People play and see the radio in the beginning room now has a green light
-Carry it around and notice it makes strange broadcast interference noises in certain places
-Locate and place all 26 of these mystery radios for achievement
-Smart people yank wav files out of game content folders and run them through steganography programs
-Produces 26 weird cryptic image files in a numbered sequence
-Some dude runs the number string through an md5 hash translator and gets a landline number
-Internet traces it to Kirkland, WA (near Valve HQ)
-People find out its not a phone/fax line but a data line hosting a BBS and telnet it
-Use a clue from one of the files to figure out the BBS user/password login info
-End up with a bunch of weird ASCII artwork
-A collection of the ASCII artwork is posted: http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/6278/portalascii.png
-People get to work on the ASCII and an ingame screenshot may very well have been found by turning one of the ASCII artworks: http://cdupload.com/files/123623_btxvo/rotate1.jpg
-Speculation on another ASCII image, showing 2 robot like creatures starts.
Some believe they are connected, whilest other dispute it, claiming it shows the skeleton of a chicken and therefor they are not connected.
Others speculate that this may be Combine Super Soldiers. (http://half-life.wikia.com/wiki/File:Super_soldier.jpg and http://half-life.wikia.com/wiki/File…er_Soldier.jpg)
-Another new collection of ASCII is posted here: http://img63.imageshack.us/img63/930…sciilarge2.png and a blurred version is posted here: http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/9…ortalascii.png
RPS has written their own commentary about what all these ARG revelations actually mean. The most popular theory now, is that it hails the impending arrival of a Portal 2 sequel. Or possibly, Half-life 2: Episode 3.
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