January 14th – The First Day of A Dreamlike Notion

In 1999 famous artist and games designer Jorald Hendersonne invented the first and most exciting ARG (alternative reality game) of Buentoilliçan society. Known to most simply as ‘The Game’, it’s real name is A Dreamlike Notion. Today the ARG will begin with a selection ceremony and accompanying ARG promotional festival.

The theme of The Game changes every year, and this year’s theme is necessarily unknown, but previous years have involved (amongst other things) secret societies who communicate through odd lines in poems published many years before, cuttlefish-worshipping cults plotting the end of the world, groups of spies looking to take down shadowy political groups, aliens who are interested only in architecture, and conjunctions of monstrous spheres of reality where vampires build statues from coagulated blood that reveal the essential truths of reality.

Something in the region of 15000 people will turn up to the selection ceremony, but only ten people will be selected as participants in the ARG. A far larger group (usually something in the region of three hundred people) will be selected to work as actors in the ARG, or in other similar roles. Those selected to participate as ‘players’ will never receive any official acknowledgement of this fact, but for those lucky few very strange things will start to happen over the coming months. The ceremony itself consists of several protracted interviews with each attendee, covering issues as diverse as geology, world politics and colour preference. This means that the festival can often span a number of days.

The festival will take place this year in the Old Courthouse, with the lobby and lower floors being given over to other ARG games companies, collaborations and cooperatives. An estimated five hundred of these organisations will hope to attract attention from the majority of revellers who will not be selected for A Dreamlike Notion. Food sellers have taken inspiration from previous instances of The Game, selling squid gibbets, blood cakes, ‘nano bot’ burgers, essence of The Hand smoothies and various other concoctions.

The game usually begins with small intrusions into the players’ lives; they might receive strange post containing special computer software loaded onto disks, hear the same innocuous words over and again from strangers’ mouths, or markings in the pavement that have been there for years might begin suddenly to hold additional meaning. In one instance a player’s family, friends and co-workers slowly began to disappear, each speaking nonsensically about a different type of tea before they left.

Since the death of Annis Kaipheri in 2007, A Dreamlike Notion has been overseen by the Council for Civil Protection.

Other festivals happening today:

  • Technology Advocacy Day