Blog May 2004 - AndyPryke.com
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29th May 2004

Uncle Roy is All Around You

West Bromich.

Uncle Roy is All Around You is a game which involves real players running around the streets, real players online moving through a model of a virtual city and virtual players.

Warning - this contains "spoilers" for people intending to play the game. If you get the chance to play, do, it's fantastic. But don't try to find out too much in advance!

I played as both a street player and an online player. As a street player, you're given a hand held computer, hand over all your possessions and off you go. Following messages from "Uncle Roy" and using the on screen map to check your progress you wander the streets.

At first I was sent to a car park, told to sit on a step, then to walk round the pedestrianised shopping center. After having my handheld fixed by an Uncle Roy operative, I started to receive messages from the online players. In order to "talk " to me, they had to run across the virtual city and stand near my real position. On their screens, they could see postcards which they had to persuade me to collect. With help from a number of online players, I found my postcard. Reading the back, it told me to phone a particular number from the nearest phone box and tell them about someone who never leaves me.

The voice on the end of the phone told me to go straight to a nearby hotel and find Uncle Roy's hotel room. In a convoluted way, I made my way to the room, which had a stunning view over the city and looked occupied. Music and a video played, books were strewn on a table, clothes and toiletries in the bathroom. More messages on my pocket pc told me about a person (Uncle Roy I guess) who comes here now and again, to remember a love which he never had and survey the city below.

A phone rang and a voice told us to leave the room, get the lift to the ground floor and walk out through 2 pairs of double doors (one set were emergency exit doors). Outside, a limousine waited. I got in, put on my seatbelt and waited. A representative of Uncle Roy came in and sat down. He asked me number of questions - "Would I help a stranger?" "Would I make a commitment?" I was told that an email address I provided would be swapped with someone else who took part in the game. We would have a commitment for 12 months. If they needed something I would be there for them, and v.v. The limo dropped us at the start point, we were de-briefed, had our possessions returned and the game was over.

19th May 2004

Nice page on Unsolved Ciphers ( http://elonka.com/UnsolvedCodes.html ) including the BealeCiphers and the VoynichManuscript manuscript.

Also listened to a couple of good programs on the BBC website

11th May 2004

Supergrass on Radio4 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/rams/tue1102.ram , http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-perl/whatson/prog_parse.cgi?FILENAME=20040511/20040511_1100_49700_42459_30 ) was all about the forensic applications of botanical science, including a great section on "Otzi the Iceman". Examination of pollen grains and other plant materials found on and in his body have really helped fill in how he lived and when he died. Much of this is covered in this article: http://www.athensacademy.org/instruct/upper/humanities/adelamater/Articles/iceman.htm

3rd May 2004

Came across Turns of Phrase ( http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/ ) a very nice website on the English language, whilst looking for the word "Freegan" ( http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-fre2.htm ). The "Suprise Me" random entry link took me to Leucipottomy ( http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-fre2.htm ) and "A few words from Welsh" ( http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/welsh.htm ) which details the (few) words which have moved from Cymraeg into English.

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