For the release of their latest game Portal 2, Valve went to great lengths marketing wise. They set up an “Alternate reality game” (ARG) with tips and puzzles hidden in 13 independent games (to promote indie games). Some of the games even added extra levels just for the ARG. Solving puzzles, finding passwords, and triggering special events led to the possibility to gain “potatoes” as a sign of progress. If all 36 potatoes were found in the 13 games involved players got a golden potato.
After the ARG was solved by the community, Valve added a countdown a few days before the release of Portal 2, allowing the community to get Portal2 to release early by collecting potatoes and (in the end phase) playing the 13 indie games.
Last Friday Valve announced in the official blog “There’s also still time to collect all 36 potatoes. Anyone accomplishing this feat by the time Portal 2 launches will receive a very special, non-hat-based reward.” An extra incentive for people to play the games involved and collect the potatoes. I spent most of the last days collecting all 36 potatoes, got the last one just hours before the deadline.
Today everyone with a golden potato got the reward, a valve complete pack and a copy of portal2. I’m honestly impressed. I never would have expected them to not only give out all their previous games ($100), but also a free copy of their latest game they just released yesterday ($50).
Impressive move Valve, even if I was irritated at buying the game on steam on pre-order and then seeing Amazon and Best Buy drop the price shortly before release by 10$, the ARG and the potatoes blew everything out of the water. So now I have a few copies of games I already owned to give out 🙂