Operation: Sleeper Cell

October 22nd, 2008

About a year ago there was a contest called ‘Let’s Change The Game‘, where teams had to submit their ideas on how to design an Alternate Reality Game to help cancer research. The team that won would get money and help from the best ARG designers in the world to implement their design. Operation: Sleeper Cell is the game the winners came up with.

In Operation: Sleeper Cell you are an Agent for The Agency, a secret organisation dedicated to making the world a better place. After registering you can try to solve missions that others have already unlocked. Some of these missions can be online puzzles, for which you have to find the answer. Here’s one example:

Tuesday, 7:45pm. Through delicate contacts (the frail man in the fish section of the local supermarket) I’d managed to arrange a secret meeting with a contact who claimed to have inside information on E.V.I.L’s current status. And here we are, me and my contact “Rachelle” sitting opposite me in this quiet multicultural restaurant just down the road from my flat. Problem is, I noticed on my way in that one of the chefs has changed just for tonight, and so has the usual menu. I can’t help thinking that one of the items is out of place, but my six European languages are not what they used to be.

The menu reads:

1. Smazené Zampióny
2. Caracoles con Queso

3. Filet de Poisson du Jour
4. Fettucine alla Boscaiola
5. Homard Froid Ostendaise

6. Schokolade-Gift-Torte

7. Lepeshka s Medom 

Before I order for us both, is there anything I should avoid? Enter the full name of the dish.

Other missions can be “real life” assignments like going to a Cancer UK 10K run dressed as a spy or recreating a James Bond scene with friends, stuffed animals, lego or anything else you can come up with. Besides these already unlocked missions, every week some locked missions are released. These can only be unlocked if you donate or raise money to “buy” these missions. The person or team (after registering you can join a team and play with your friends) that bought the mission has a 12 hour head start to solving that mission.

I’ve been playing now for more than three weeks and it’s been great fun. It’s surprising how the missions can be simple and difficult for different people. There were some puzzles I was stuck at for ages, that others got in one go, and yet other puzzles that I found easy that others couldn’t figure out. 

If you want to play too, just go to the Operation: Sleeper Cell website and register as an Agent. There will still be six more weeks of missions and it won’t be too much trouble to catch up with all the already unlocked missions. I’m playing under MissGeeky for Team Marsh-Ayre Mob (the We Tell Stories survivors). Even if you don’t want to play, how about sponsoring me and donate some money to cancer research? Just go to this link and follow the instructions.

Tags: Games