perplex.jpg Surprising news from the world of Alternate Reality Games, then, as the official Perplex City site has revealed that the second season of Mind Candy's groundbreaking, puzzle card-monetized ARG is on longer-term, unspecified hiatus - ARGN has more commentary, noting that "...Story Team members Adrian Hon, Andrea Phillips, David Varela and Naomi Alderman, as well as COO Dan Hon, have all left the company within the last 48 hours."

I first read about this on Dan Hon's blog, where he's collected his own and links to other people's comments on this. Adrian Hon also points out in a comment in his blog: "It is Mind Candy’s hope that they will bring back the ARG in the future. However, the facts for now are that all of the story team has left Mind Candy, and Perplex City Season 2 is not coming out any time soon. The cards are going to continue being sold and supported; they’re all designed and we already have some copies of wave 2 in the office."

Just why this happened is a bit vague, of course - but I could venture a couple of guesses. Firstly, if you can buy puzzle cards in packs and and solve them online for points, and that's fairly addictive on its own, why include potentially expensive ARG elements to the game as well? Helicopters don't come cheap.

In addition, Mind Candy received $7 million in funding in late 2006, and it's mentioned that "...the funding comes in advance of a major expansion of new products to be announced in early 2007 including the development of its second major puzzle brand aimed at a younger demographic." Is Perplex City a little bit hardcore and obscure to be mass market, as it stands? Probably so - the Wikipedia page mentions that: "As of September 26, 2006, some 682,425 cards have been marked as solved on the Perplex City leaderboard, with 45,215 players registered." In the grand scheme of things, that's not THAT many.

In any case, there's a fascinating subculture built up around the game - for example, check out this misprints and rarities page for the cards - and some rare Season 1 cards are still going for as high as $400 on eBay. So hopefully the game will continue in some way - and congrats to everyone involved, even those now leaving Mind Candy, on blazing the way.