Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Blackbeard Connection is on

Today an interactive game starts in the Netherlands, which makes use of multi channels, of Internet, mobile, print and television. It is not just another game, but the winner will win 50.000 euro.

The game is called Blackbeard Connection. The site is in the Dutch language, but a lot of the background documentation is in English. It is a hunt for the treasures of the pirate Blackbeard, who lived in 17th century. Players have 30 days to find the treasures in a location in the Netherlands.

The pirate was probably born in England around 1680. Over 300 years he has become one of the most infamous pirates with a mythical reputation. Blackbeard was active during the Golden Age of Piracy and made quite an impression with his big, rough figure. Information about him is hard to find. Even about his real name there is no information: Edward Teach or corruptions like Thatch, Thatche, Thack or Theach. But there are also documents with the name of Edwards Drummond. In his hay days, Blackbeard had several ships at his disposal, among which the flag ship Queen Anne’s Revenge; he commanded some 300 to 400 pirates. He gathered a fortune with his piracy near the coast of North America. On November 22, 1718 he lost his life in a battle against lieutenant Maynard near Ocracoke Island. Maynard acted on behalf of Governor Spotswood of South Carolina. He put the head of Blackbeard on the bowsprit of his ship and returned to Bath in triumph.

Participants can apply through the site, where they will find background material, stories, maps, diaries, photographs and movies. They will receive hints on their mobile, websites, personal website, advertisements in broadsheets and short movies on the TV channel TMF. The players will receive SMS messages every day.

The producer of the game Zgrounds aims at an audience of 18 to 34 years olds, mainly well educated men. Comparisons are drawn with the Da Vinci Code and of course the producer looks for the same success. The producer needs 25.000 paying players to break even. The game is sponsored by more than one company, of which two public transport companies, the railway company and a coach company. These sponsors cover 60 per cent of the budget costs of 700.000 euro. A player will maximally pay 49,50 euro for the SMS messages.

Zgrounds has more experience in adventure games. The company produced also a trip to the Amazone and a trip to the Mount Everest and K2.

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