Giant Bomb News


Giant Bomb Mailbag: Numbers Station Edition

Instead of weird food or drinks, we receive... a mystery!

A nondescript manilla envelope showed up at the Giant Bomb offices this morning, and since its recipient wasn't here to open it, I took it upon myself (sorry Brad!) to rip into it, only to discover a mystery within! A mystery that neither Vinny or I were able to make any immediate sense of, which is why we now bring it to you, the infinitely smarter Giant Bomb audience.

Inside the envelope, which featured no return address, was an unmarked 1GB USB drive, which itself contained just two files: a 4KB README.txt file, along with a 1.5MB station.mp3 file. I've quoted the contents of the README file below, and you can listen to the MP3--which seems pretty clearly patterned after numbers stations--here.







Additionally, we found the following text code embedded in the MP3 file.

00000000 00000210 00000825 000000000037474B 00000000 0016FDA0 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000    

Through a little audio editing snoopery, Vinny figured out that the backwards voice near the end of the MP3 file is saying "Don't believe everything you see." Aside from this clue, and the fact that the words in the README file make the obvious acronym CIPHER, I can't make much sense of this. It seems pretty clear to me that this is the first step in some kind of game-promoting ARG, but the question remains, what game could it be for? The fact that the voice reads the letters "NOD" might suggest some sort of Command & Conquer connection, though with C&C4 already out, it seems like an unlikely candidate. The only other game that jumps out at me as a possible connection is Fallout: New Vegas, mostly because of the nature of the vocabulary featured in the README file.
I imagine this same package is showing up at other game publications today as well, so let's see if we can't be the first ones to crack it wide open! Get to it in the comments below! 
UPDATE: It would seem that with some simple character shifting, folks were able to figure out that the letters and numbers being read decoded into a website address, This is just the second step in the puzzle, though, as there's more numbers station fun to be had there. Keep it going, folks! 
UPDATE #2: The goodly folks at Joystiq have taken this the rest of the way, and though there's still no official confirmation, the signs seem to point very directly towards Fallout: New Vegas. Thanks for playing!
Posted by Skrattybones

We solved the first letter. We're on isotope now.
Posted by Masonvd

What's the woman saying at the beginning of the site? I can't make it out.

Posted by buzz_killington

The site shows nuclear reaction and stuff, so yeah, it's Fallout.

Posted by dhuff

The quote in the beginning is from Francis Bacon. Something interesting from wikipedia 

"  His dedication brought him into a rare historical group of scientists who were killed by their own experiments." 

This is definitely science based. Fallout or Portal most likely. Maybe Deus Ex.
Posted by EasyPeasey
@Darktoad450: hell is purple?

Well, this is all bloody exciting I think! I really don't know what it could be though. I don't think Fallout: New Vegas is such a bad idea thou, considering the "voice-acting" in the mp3 file somewhat reminded me of Fallout 3. Then again, Valve is know for their mysteries approaches towards advertising and marketing of their games, so Portal news perhaps? Or like I dearly hope for, Half-life......... But I doubt it.

Posted by Skrattybones

So, the video that plays definitely shows a Mason symbol. I think it might be A Secret World.
Posted by JokerSmilez
@Anthal said:
" Best I can tell it's:  mod / movas / ixnov / asixn / ovasi / xnova / sixno / vasix / novas / ixnov / asixn / ovasi / xnova   Some of those n's may be m's, some of the v's may be d/b's  Using the same 3 letter crypto is garbage, I think the initial mod is part of the key.  Before it loops, a voice says "hell is purple"  "
It's "Nova Six" over and over again.
Posted by guts450

the tv style in the picture doesn't strike me as the "50's" fallout style, unless they planned it that way to not make it obvious

Posted by Ronin147

Checked out the setup for New Vegas
It mentions two factions the New California Republic (NCR) and the Caesar's Legion, a slaver group   
So the Caesars's part kind of fits in I dont know about the New California Republic
Posted by ZeroCast

New Lost game?

Posted by Masonvd
@guts450: Uranium 235 and 238 are the isoptopes of enriched an depleted Uranium which, according to wiki were used in an atomic bomb. 
New vegas is looking very likely here.
Posted by heavymetalman
Posted by Downandout

a baseball? maybe that means something.

Posted by Sweep

if you translate the code into Base64, it reads:


Another clue, perhaps?
Posted by Flaime

The monitor on features a lot of nuclear/atom/fission stuff 
I captured some of them:

The second one spells Uranium, a bit hard to see though.
Posted by sandwich_adjustment

those richard wright stamps are dope!

Posted by aurahack

Now that I think about, Fallout + Numbers Stations would make sense. Isn't radio transmissions essentially how side-missions/DLC within Fallout 3 were communicated?

Posted by Seraphim2150
@dhuff: That quote sounds very Portal-esque, with GLADOS killing all the scientists working on her upon activation.
Posted by EasyPeasey

OK so it's about Fallout New Vegas but what does it mean? whats the point of it?

Posted by Rirobuge

They say hell is purple at the end of the clip, there is a website which looks to be an online riddle solving tool website.

Posted by sorryawkward

FYI you can turn the knob on the tv to get a clear picture. you get kennedy, baseball, uranium, rockets 
This is definitely New Vegas-y

Posted by Vinny
@Flaime said:
" The monitor on features a lot of nuclear/atom/fission stuff 
I captured some of them:

The second one spells Uranium, a bit hard to see though. "
I think you can turn the dial to clear it up a bit
Posted by divisionbyzorro

You can turn the TV knob to clear up the picture :)

Posted by taemun

If you drag the dial on the right hand side of the tv down, the picture changes. A lot. Go to town, folks.

Posted by Skrattybones

You can turn the knob on the television to clear it up. 
Is this not a Mason thing? 
Posted by EasyPeasey
@Flaime: turn the knob on the side of the TV to get clearer images
Posted by Crimsai

There is the other quote after "Hell is purple" but can't figure out what it is/ what its from. Something about making a world of their own conception?

Posted by guts450
@Seraphim2150:  could also mean scientists making the atom bomb that ended civilization in the fallout series
Posted by sorryawkward
@Skrattybones: That is a baseball field... So Yes. Baseball is very Mason-y.
Posted by MAST

The website shows (I think) atoms splitting, explosive graphics, talks about a "new world order" and generally just has a post-holocaust vibe to it. It also shows John F. Kennedy, whatever significant that holds I have no idea.
That also fits with the mention of Francis Bacon that someone else found. "Bacon's vision for a Utopian New World in North America was laid out in his novel New Atlantis." Looks like that guy had "New World" utopia ideas as well.
Not sure if any of that has any significance. Just throwing it out there.

Posted by iToastage_FM

purple hell is a site about cryptography: 

Posted by divisionbyzorro

Remember how Vinny reversed part of the WAV file? What happens if you reverse the "Hell Is Purple" phrase?

Posted by aurahack
Posted by Masonvd
Posted by Flaime
@Vinny: oh darn
Posted by BODDAH
Posted by guts450
@Skrattybones:  baseball stadium
Posted by Nictel

Nova Zembla or Novaya Zemlya has been a site for nuclear warhead testing, just wanted to throw that out here.

Edited by Majkiboy

if no one noticed 

Do something crazy with it!

Posted by guts450

right before the Kennedy pic is a thing that says PLAN, kinda looks like a circuit board.  Also being as it has to do with the bomb and now Kennedy maybe it has something to do with the Cuban missile crisis? just spit balling

Posted by Tiwi

I'm going to go out on a limb and say The secret world. that game has had some ARG game going since 2006, no surprise it's still going.

Posted by wings

this is fucking cool

Posted by Milkman

My first guess would be Fallout: New Vegas, also. Though I'll leave the decrypting to the internet.

Posted by BODDAH
Posted by the_dudefather

Source for some of the cartoon bits

Posted by Skrattybones

Yeah, I guess I got ahead of myself there with the Mason stuff. 
But check out THIS logic: 
We had to use cryptography to solve the first bunch of stuff, which led us to the website with the video with the uranium isotope themes. So we've solved C, and we're working out I now. Maybe we're going about it incorrectly?
Posted by EasyPeasey

what about   00000000 00000210 00000825 000000000037474B 00000000 0016FDA0 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000? what is that?

Posted by Masonvd

So the video clearly shows: 
Basball stadium 
Uranium, depeleted and enriched, 
A nuke of some sort 
When the people are standing behind the TV does it look like Nixon on the TV?

Posted by Skrattybones
That was what led us to the website with the video.