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Well, here it is. Ever since I started transcribing text from the first corrupted page on ilovebees.com, I felt the need to compile everything in one location. Having never been a part of an Alternate Reality Game before, I had no idea what to expect. But as the ARG wore on, and more and more was revealed, I was slowly inspired. In an event like this, numerous people tend to step up and help make things easier for everyone else to participate. And I was only one of many. Out there, the "Beekeepers" rallied together, joining forces, and unlike anything I'd ever seen before, came together in one unit, cooperating as a team, in an anonymous online medium. Anonymous in the sense that really, we had no idea if the person we were talking to over the 'net really was who they said they were.
Yet, even through that hurdle, the community formed, and friendships were made - and who knows, maybe even a relationship was sparked! Heheh... well, at least for me ilovebees was a very very enjoyable summer. If the goal was first and foremost to advertise the upcoming Halo 2 video game, I stand and applaud. If the goal was to give fans something to do for the months leading up to the game's release, I stand and applaud. But more than any of that, I can't express enough, the admiration and respect I have for those who created this ARG. The sheer amount of coordination, creativity, planning, and logistics involved in pulling off something so complex and in-depth is staggering. Then again, with a beast such as Microsoft hiding 'behind the curtain', theoretically anything could be possible.
Throughout it all, there were ups and downs - the Puppetmasters (PMs) had us running around, planning, writing, recording, thinking, joking, and most of all - debating, discussing, learning... all as pieces of information were absorbed into the hive mind, people were free to speculate, guess, and offer opinions. Players were free to disagree, criticize, and mold and shape all the collective thoughts into one. There were very difficult times - some people would take comments or disagreements personally, some had blurred the lines between the game and real life, and some simply ruined the game for many people by treating it as a big joke. But through it all, the massive amounts of respect and friendship gained through this experience is something most beekeepers will never forget.
In the world of ARGs, ilovebees has definitely set a precedent. The only other mainstream ARG of this caliber to have occurred before this was one lovingly called "The Beast". This was an ARG I missed out on, and I didn't even hear about it until ilovebees showed up. But The Beast was an ARG planned as an promotional ARG that would eventually lead up to the release of the movie A.I. - Artificial Intelligence.
Just as The Beast was not a mass media release (only a small fraction of the population had even heard about it), ilovebees also was never intended to become an advertising campaign on the scale of, say, a Superbowl halftime commercial. But it was with the enormous prior popularity of Bungie's video game Halo, and a very quick flash of www.ilovebees.com on a video game trailer shown in select theatres, that the initial niche crowd was hooked in.
The ARG enthusiasts were drawn in by a genuine mystery - a package of honey with the letters spelling ILOVEBEES mixed within - leading to the website.
Halo fans were drawn in by the mysterious website that flashed at the end of the game trailer. In the end, together they joined so there was a workable mix of puzzle solvers and knowledgable Halo fans to fill in some story gaps. A very well executed 'rabbit-hole', so to speak. And thus started the ilovebees phenomenon.
Within the story I've been compiling on this website, there's only a smattering of my own additional writing. I've included any text and other media that was compiled and recorded from the game, in order to provide a fictional representation of the story, a story which ultimately leads directly into the Halo 2 plotline. Having reviewed documentation about The Beast, and seeing how complex and convoluted the reviews and compilations were for it, as well as ilovebees, I simply felt that people wanting to know the story of ilovebees - a story that adds much depth and quality (if more can indeed be added!) to the 'Haloverse' - should be able to come to one place, and just like reading a novel, be able to read through ilovebees and be more greatly drawn into the Halo 2 game, and whatever future stories may arise from the depths of Bungie mythology...
Be sure to take a gander over the Credits page, and truly see how wide an effect this ARG had on the online community. See how many people were involved, how many people offered expertise, programs, discussion forums, and much more. Without the help of so many people out in the online community, this game could not have existed in the form that it did (and this fictional writing you're about to read wouldn't have come to fruition). The writers of ILB deserve all the credit for the witty and enjoyable writing they've provided, the depth of plot, the ingenuity and creativity found within the ilovebees events. If you enjoy this story, I emplore you to first thank the Puppetmasters for their genius writing.
Once again, all I'm doing here is compiling it and filling in any gaps - which means that anything written here in addition is not official, it is simply a fan-made fiction. The original writing within these chapters is NOT to be taken as official Haloverse content, if any is written that way.
Here is a quick guide to reading this story...
Any text within a white box
Such as thisIs strictly taken from in-game material, and is not original writing of my own. You'll find that the majority of this story is in-game material.
Any text not within a white box, such as this preface, is my own writing. It is an original work except where referencing in-game material, such as characters, times and places. Any trademarks that exist remain property of the trademark owners (in this case, Bungie and Microsoft).
At a point in the story, an audio drama begins as another aspect of the story, with amazing voice actors and technical content. The creators of this audio-story and actors deserve strong recognition for the work they've done. In the portions of the story that are transcriptions of said audio drama, the non-audio content is labelled as original, so as again not to confuse official in-game material with my own original writing. The script is entirely in-game, but any literary narration used is original text - not official, and not in-game.
If at some point, Bungie decides to release the events of ilovebees in an official form, such as an audio CD, or a DVD, or even as a novel, this story MUST then be considered nothing but a fan fiction. Until that time, however, my hope is that this archive will help people experience the story and events that lead up to the release of the Halo 2 video game.
Ilovebees is much more than just a science fiction drama. Ilovebees is an exploration of our humanity, of the consequences of actions, choices of morality and ethics, loyalty, love. Taken to the brink of destruction, of death, what choices would you make? What sacrifices would you consider worth making when faced with dire circumstances? The lesser of two evils? Is the 'greater good' indeed more important than one's life, than one's very soul? What is it that truly makes us human? You may think I'm exaggerating with these questions, but during the ilovebees campaign, the discussions and topical explorations that occurred within the community attempted to tackle these questions, and its story truly makes you think about things you may never have considered before.
From a fellow beekeeper...
And now, you may...
Begin the story -- Chapter 1 >>