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 Forum index » Archive » Archive: General » Low-Volume Games
[HAAS][SPEC] Mindstorm is a Front?
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Whitenoise
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Joined: 24 Jul 2007
Posts: 93

[HAAS][SPEC] Mindstorm is a Front?
Trademark Information

hello,
First time poster, Im really interested in the Ethan Haas game.

As soon as I saw the website for Mindstorm Labs I thought something was fishy, short beta testing period, claiming to be at a convetion that there is no record of them being at. Once I saw the contact/whois info and called the number I was even more suppicious, for my job I call companies big and small, and Ive never reach one with such a short, vague welcome message. The speculation that Mindstorm, a generally unknown company was working with a company such as Red Interactive(did things for BIG budget films,etc.) was also supsicious to me.

Now to the point
Looking up trademark info for Mindstorm Labs the only record I could find was for a now defunct Technology company:
(moderator narrows the wide link to About.com)
EDIT:Whoops forgot this part: click where to I start, scroll down the searching trademarks, click TESS then do New User Form Search.
(moderator bypasses About and give you this link directly to "where do I start")

Using a recently abandoned Company seems like the perfect front as it could trick people into thinking they've heard of it before while avoiding copyright infringment.

I wonder where the mindstorm website will lead us?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:31 am
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pondrthis
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If it is recently abandoned, then the fact that they openly state on their website that Alpha-Omega is their first product is even more solidified. It is common for start-up companies to take a company name that has been used (and advertised) in the past so that they can seem well-known. This psychological phenomenon you mentioned is TRUE, but parsimony begs that I say the company wanted that deja vu feeling, not the PM's.

This is of course my opinion, but I think your statement actually helps the company seem more legit. A recent flop company is the perfect name to grab for a start-up. People have stated that the company is venture-capital backed and support THAT as its way to fund RED, which I still have questions about, that perhaps will someday be answered.

(PS I'd MUCH rather be playing the ARG for a tabletop RPG than for a movie!)
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:41 am
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Whitenoise
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heh I guess we will have to wait until august 1st for some solid info.
I know very little about Venture Investment companies, so correct me if I am wrong, but wouldnt it seem unnesscarily risky to put your money in a generally unknown company(without a proper phone extension directory mind you.) that works in a market that makes up a small portion of the overall non video game market?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:50 am
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pondrthis
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Yes, but they could also be owned by someone from another company. Who knows, maybe Wizards owners are starting this company, investing in it with Wizards money, and then selling Wizards for billions. Maybe a major corporation wants in on the RPG and other non-video game industries.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 10:08 am
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Whitenoise
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good point-like the others you made on this thread- but why wouldnt they just make a connection to wizards, seems like it would be easier to generate hype and get a larger following from people who are familiar with wizards other games. I still dont take this Mindstorm labs to be a legitamate company.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 10:15 am
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pondrthis
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Well, my opinion is my opinion and there is evidence for both sides. I was stating that there is an offchance that an owner of a major company is looking to sell, but wants a new company unrelated to the first in order to provide income after the sale. This is unlikely, but possible (friend of mine is doing this with his company), and just wanted to point it out.

Really, it could go either way, and that's why there's so much spec about this topic. A lot of people think MSL is ingame, and just as many (though some of the more active people, so it looks like more) think MSL are the PM's.

I'm excited to wait and see.

EDIT: BTW, for a first time poster you were much less troutly than average. I was a huge trout for my (recent) first post. Welcome to UF (you'll get addicted) and good luck helping us uncover the truth about EHWR!
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 10:27 am
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theonetruebix
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If it's a front (and I've argued this before), it's an extraordinarily well-developed one, seeing as how they first make an appearance all the way back in January, posting to an artists' forum seeking artists for the RPG.

ETA:

As for venture capital, remember that the people of MSL claim to have 20+ experience in RPGs. If so, this wouldn't be a venture capitalist taking as large a gamble as might otherwise be the case, if these were newbie entrepreneurs.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 1:33 pm
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Whitenoise
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Because I still think theres something fishy (I'll stop short of saying a 1-18-08 connection theres nothing there but speculation to link the two.) about Mindstorm heres a nicely done post by Hegemon on a Ethan Haas forum:

Quote:
I believe AlphaOmega to be a fake game used as a cover for later transmission of message from Van etc...

I will provide a summary of my case, and would like the rest of you to post evidence both for and against. Please cite sources. If we can conclusively rule on Mindstorm Labs I believe we can make progress in a new direction.

Background:

This is circumstantial, but the lack of history for the company is troubling. No one I can find seems to know anything about Mindstorm labs, know anyone who works or worked there etc.

The Market & Advertising:

I am not an expert but it doesn't seem to me that an independent tabletop rpg producer would do very well in today's gaming market. It is my understanding that most table tops are produced by the major houses of the industry.

Further more, I don't believe that a fledgling company would be able to pull off such a large scale viral campaign for their first release.

Additionally, the sheer lack of press for AlphaOmega (their big upcoming release) is staggering. I've only found one or two site carrying their "press release". AlphaOmega has no official game website. Again no one seems to know anything about the game. None of the suppose beta testers can be found, nor have any come forward to reveal themselves.

The Site:

The site uses the www.w3.org format common to all the site so far, as well as using urchin tracker.

The site http://www.mindstormlabs.com/ is built in a very similar way to http://www.tritonenterprises.net, most indicatively the large main background image that is easily accessible.

The site contain relatively little news about the game, and dates go less than a year back for any event.

The newsletter has a sign-up section but only one previous release, and nothing after sign up.

The site has released 2 contact #s the first can be seen in the original whois for Tomm Mcglaughlin (I don't have a copy of the original who is) as well as the off site press release http://www.rpg.net/press/display-press?newsid=208

The new contact # appears on the main site.


The numbers:

The old contact number goes to voicemail leaving standard # is not available message. The new # however yields the message "Mindstorm Labs" then a beep. This is exactly the same as Triton Enterprises setup for voice mail.

Both Triton and Mindstorm host their voice mails on net zero private phone accounts http://www.privatephone.com/ The user name is pp then the respective number, the pin is unknown.

Neither message befits a real company. This is fitting for triton which we know to be a fake, but mirrored exactly in Mindstorm. There is no formal greeting, no request to leave a message, no in house directory or office hours. Nothing you would expect from an operational company.


PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:45 am
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theonetruebix
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Ok, here I go. Heh.

Quote:
This is circumstantial, but the lack of history for the company is troubling. No one I can find seems to know anything about Mindstorm labs, know anyone who works or worked there etc.


One of the first Google searches I did in early June netted a Florida gaming forum, where the head of another gaming company talked about having met Tom and talked about the game. I've since spoken to this person via email.

Quote:
I am not an expert but it doesn't seem to me that an independent tabletop rpg producer would do very well in today's gaming market. It is my understanding that most table tops are produced by the major houses of the industry.


That might be evidence of eventual failure, but it's not evidence that someone wouldn't TRY.

Quote:
Further more, I don't believe that a fledgling company would be able to pull off such a large scale viral campaign for their first release.


Well, they do claim to have a venture capital partner.

Quote:
Additionally, the sheer lack of press for AlphaOmega (their big upcoming release) is staggering. I've only found one or two site carrying their "press release". AlphaOmega has no official game website.


One or two? Have you actually Googled for that press release? I get PAGES, not one or two sites.

And it has a site

http://www.alphaomegathegame.com/

it just doesn't launch until (wait for it, 8/1/07 fans) sometime in early August.

Quote:
The site uses the www.w3.org format common to all the site so far, as well as using urchin tracker.

The site http://www.mindstormlabs.com/ is built in a very similar way to http://www.tritonenterprises.net, most indicatively the large main background image that is easily accessible.


Erm, this isn't evidence that MSL is a fake. It's just means they probably had the same designer who did the MSL site do the Triton site.

ALthough not necessarily even that. Do you know how many sites have Google tracking stuff on it? Do you know that every single site I design for myself has a doctype declaration at the very top?

Heh.

Quote:
The site contain relatively little news about the game, and dates go less than a year back for any event.


Just as easily explained by being new as it would be by their being fake.

Quote:
The newsletter has a sign-up section but only one previous release, and nothing after sign up.


Except this ARG. ;)

Let me explain what to me is the simplest explanation for MSL being real, not fake: We weren't supposed to make a connection between them and EHWR.

The only reason we found MSL is because someone (I gather Tom) messed up and put in the original EHWR domain record an address that could be traced back to him via a blog he probably forgot about.

Were it not for that slip-up, we still, right now, would not have ever come across Mind Storm Labs. And yet despite not having come across them, they'd have been around, in one form or another, since January of this year, people would have met Tom and talked about Alpha Omega, and they would have had a website up and running.

We just would never have known any of that, because the miscue of using that street address never would have happened.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:46 am
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takaris7
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Whitenoise wrote:
Because I still think theres something fishy (I'll stop short of saying a 1-18-08 connection theres nothing there but speculation to link the two.) about Mindstorm heres a nicely done post by Hegemon on a Ethan Haas forum:

Quote:
I believe AlphaOmega to be a fake game used as a cover for later transmission of message from Van etc...

I will provide a summary of my case, and would like the rest of you to post evidence both for and against. Please cite sources. If we can conclusively rule on Mindstorm Labs I believe we can make progress in a new direction.

Background:

This is circumstantial, but the lack of history for the company is troubling. No one I can find seems to know anything about Mindstorm labs, know anyone who works or worked there etc.

The Market & Advertising:

I am not an expert but it doesn't seem to me that an independent tabletop rpg producer would do very well in today's gaming market. It is my understanding that most table tops are produced by the major houses of the industry.

Further more, I don't believe that a fledgling company would be able to pull off such a large scale viral campaign for their first release.

Additionally, the sheer lack of press for AlphaOmega (their big upcoming release) is staggering. I've only found one or two site carrying their "press release". AlphaOmega has no official game website. Again no one seems to know anything about the game. None of the suppose beta testers can be found, nor have any come forward to reveal themselves.

The Site:

The site uses the www.w3.org format common to all the site so far, as well as using urchin tracker.

The site http://www.mindstormlabs.com/ is built in a very similar way to http://www.tritonenterprises.net, most indicatively the large main background image that is easily accessible.

The site contain relatively little news about the game, and dates go less than a year back for any event.

The newsletter has a sign-up section but only one previous release, and nothing after sign up.

The site has released 2 contact #s the first can be seen in the original whois for Tomm Mcglaughlin (I don't have a copy of the original who is) as well as the off site press release http://www.rpg.net/press/display-press?newsid=208

The new contact # appears on the main site.


The numbers:

The old contact number goes to voicemail leaving standard # is not available message. The new # however yields the message "Mindstorm Labs" then a beep. This is exactly the same as Triton Enterprises setup for voice mail.

Both Triton and Mindstorm host their voice mails on net zero private phone accounts http://www.privatephone.com/ The user name is pp then the respective number, the pin is unknown.

Neither message befits a real company. This is fitting for triton which we know to be a fake, but mirrored exactly in Mindstorm. There is no formal greeting, no request to leave a message, no in house directory or office hours. Nothing you would expect from an operational company.


I know everyone believes that this is a real company...and they are probably right but I have had my doubts since day 1. I usually keep the doubts to myself though.

I contacted two wholesalers that deal with RPG's and their companies (Diamond being one of them) and they have no information on a Mind Storm Labs or any preview information on their product. I also contacted my local gaming store...dreamwizards...and they have not heard of that game (Alpha/omega) or the company. It dosnt mean anything but i got me thinking.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:51 pm
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LazyRegistered
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If I had any money to bet, I'd lay it all on the fact that Paramount is the venture capitol investor and that the game isn't a standard pen and paper RPG in any way, shape, or form. But, hey, that's just a feeling. I have nothing to back it up except an internal bs meter that goes off the scale when looking at MSL. Can't wait to find out one way or the other though.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:39 am
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Whitenoise
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I still find it so wierd that they dont list the name of their venture capital partener. Most times that I see a press release on some company they are always quick to name their investor.(probably obligated by contract =P)

Also I find it hard to believe that any one in their right mind would invest in a company that keeps such a low profile, being secretive and so under the radar isnt the best way to push product. On the contrary, maybe this whole ARG is the new type of RPG they are talking about and they are being coy with us.

I wouldnt be suprised if it turned out that Triton Enterprises was their venture capital partner Razz .

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:37 am
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Nighthawk
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Whitenoise wrote:
I still find it so wierd that they dont list the name of their venture capital partener. Most times that I see a press release on some company they are always quick to name their investor.(probably obligated by contract =P)

Also I find it hard to believe that any one in their right mind would invest in a company that keeps such a low profile, being secretive and so under the radar isnt the best way to push product. On the contrary, maybe this whole ARG is the new type of RPG they are talking about and they are being coy with us.

I wouldnt be suprised if it turned out that Triton Enterprises was their venture capital partner Razz .


That's exactly what I thought. I've dealt with companies looking for venture capital, and have spoken to potential investors myself.

The only way a VC would accept the manner in which this company is publicized is if the VC himself thought of the idea. After all, he's the one with the money; he can do whatever he wants in the end.

This whole thing has brought a lot of eyes and a lot of analysis upon Mind Storm Labs, but they're not targeting people that might actually BUY their product. I've spoken with numerous RPG players and writers, some of which have even published modules and D20 campaigns, and not only have none of them ever heard of MSL but they consider the description of Alpha Omega extremely unorthodox ("no set abilities", no classes, etc...).

Look at everything we have:

- They've done Alpha and Beta testing but there's no testers that we know of.

- They sent out a request for employees but no record of anyone actually being hired.

- Other than the three people that created the company (in Florida, mind you), there is no record of any other employee of the company. And, of those three people, one of them is a real estate guy in Florida and the two others basically don't exist or have no precedent.

- They don't have a receptionist answeing their phone; it's the same recorded message as Triton currently has.

- They don't answer any email, and there's only one corporate email address we know of for them.

- There is no verified record of the companies' existance in Ontario, Canada (it costs money for us to actually verify that)

- "Alpha Omega" is not a registered trademark for them, at least not in the US.

The only way we'll truly know is at GenCon Indy...

http://www.mindstormlabs.com/media.html

Quote:
Alpha Omega will be introduced at GenCon Indy’s 40th Anniversary from August 16th–19th, 2007, with the Mind Storm Labs team in attendance for the presentation.


PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:13 am
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Whitenoise
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I did email pandemic convention last week and they emailed me back saying that Mindstorm labs did have a small booth at their convention. They didn't elaborate on it just a simple on sentence response.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:26 am
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takaris7
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Whitenoise wrote:
I did email pandemic convention last week and they emailed me back saying that Mindstorm labs did have a small booth at their convention. They didn't elaborate on it just a simple on sentence response.


I was going to do that myself...
Well that might prove it right there...perhaps they are a real company with a small release and a big budget ... I don't know.

Will this interactivity continue after the RPG's release?

Why not come out with a statement...any statement?

No pre-release information? Not even a suggested date for release in any of the popular wholesale documentation?

No adverts in Dragon Magazine or popular on-line RPG stores? Just 1...1...press release and that is it?

No big announcement for Gen-Con? I would at do that...at least.

No pre-release information for Hobby stores? (Not at any store in my area.)

No sneak peak at the gaming system? I am sure critics and reviewers on the net would love to spread the word about a "New" and "revolutionary" gaming system.

All this hype for an independent release...I guess these guys are DAMN lucky they got attached to the "cloverfield" situation. Lucky.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:43 am
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