"“There is no once upon a time at the beginning of a game,” says Bill Hutchison.
The fairy tale reference flows easily from his lips, and it should: he has spent the last month acting as the Grand Ort in an elaborate alternate reality game, “The Project.” His tone and attire are now free of his retired character’s sputtering absurdity, a pointed cap and a coat decorated with beanie babies traded for a buttondown shirt. And the bespectacled graduate student is right. The Project didn’t have a single beginning, much less a once upon a time. For the player, the story began the first days of spring quarter; clues and teasers cropped up across campus, ranging from human marionettes to notes scrawled in bathroom stalls. For The Project’s creators, it began fall quarter in Transmedia Games: Theory and Design, a class taught by Assistant Professor of English Patrick Jagoda and Sha Xin Wei, Director of Montreal’s Topological Media Lab. For the fictional characters at the heart of the game’s narrative, the story tore open two years ago with the discovery of a portal to another world, The Sandbox, a realm where very little was impossible." - Hannah Nyhart