McDonalds' Game "The Lost Ring"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The International Herald Tribune reports:

"The Lost Ring" is part of a gaming genre called alternate-reality games that blend online and offline clues and rely on players collaborating to solve puzzles.

While corporate sponsorship of these games is common - one popular game called "The Beast" was created by Microsoft for the Warner Brothers film "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" - this is McDonald's first foray into the genre.

The game kicked off with 50 bloggers receiving packages with an Olympic-themed poster and a clue pointing them to The site presented a dramatic trailer, replete with sci-fi lighting and a narrator with a British-accented baritone speaking over footage of a woman waking up in a field with "Trovu la ringon perditan"- an Esperanto phrase - tattooed on her arm.

Ten characters deliver clues via YouTube videos, blogs, photographs on the Web site Flickr and updates from Twitter, a social network.

Online clues are supplemented by offline ones: Last week, players found documents in a mailbox in Tokyo and the fireplace in a bookstore in suburban Johannesburg.

[Full article]

I'll have to check out the game a little more before writing too much on the symbolism, but it's certainly an interesting tie-in to the 2008 Olympics.

The name and implied object of the game is a lost ring, so a good place to start might be with the meaning of the Olympic rings themselves.

According to the Olympic Charter, the five-ringed symbol "represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games." Baron Pierre de Coubertin conceived of both the symbol and the flag. Not coincidentally, Coubertin is the founder of the modern Olympic Movement. The Olympic Committee adopted the flag in 1914, and it was first flown at the 1920 Antwerp Games. [source]
So, it seems that the rings primarily signify the unification of the world, an effort echoed by other global organizations such as the United Nations.

The ring is already considered a unifying symbol as it is used in the union of marriage- I suppose it follows that the interlocking rings representing the 5 continents are about unification on a global scale.

And, the Olympics truly are a global event. In this context, the use of Esperanto in the game makes sense: it is ostensibly the most popular global language, after all.

More info at

Posted by Jonah Dempcy at 2:55 PM  


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