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328 Comments

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.

Cryptography


Isotope


Philanthropy


Hydrogen


Ember


Rebirth      

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, www.gknova6.com. 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!
328 Comments
Posted by Masonvd
@EasyPeasey: Omg that's totally it. You win
Posted by Skrattybones

Can somebody trace that website back to who registered it?
Posted by ZagZagovich
@Skrattybones: 
I tried but whois and alexa have nothing on it.
Here's some info 
http://whois.domaintools.com/gknova6.com
Edited by Flaime

It wouldn't make any sense if it was The Outsider, they are clearly setting it up to be some sort of post-apocalyptic/nuclear/atom game (from what I've read and seen, The Outsider is none of that). 
Part of me really want to believe it's Duke Nukem Forever or HL2:E3, but these doesn't quite fit the description either.

Edited by Scottstimo

EDIT: Adjusting the nob on right, you can make the picture less static-y. If you wait long enough, there's a picture of a missile, with a Pip-boy like Person in the tail of the missile. DAT FALLOUT REFFERENCE.
 
My day just got a lot more interesting.

Posted by Yoda

more about gknova6 website..::
 
 

   Domain Name: GKNOVA6.COM
Registrar: MARKMONITOR INC.
Whois Server: whois.markmonitor.com
Referral URL: http://www.markmonitor.com
Name Server: NS1.HOSTMONSTER.COM
Name Server: NS2.HOSTMONSTER.COM
Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Updated Date: 26-mar-2010
Creation Date: 23-mar-2010
Expiration Date: 23-mar-2012
Edited by Red_Dragon

Was just listening to the audio on that site that was linked in the update. Right at the end it says "hell is purple". Googled it and came to this site:  http://www.purplehell.com/ Turns out to be "  Purple Hell, your one stop shop for riddle tools and resources. 
 
Don't know if thats any help. Its interesting though. 
 
edit: One more thing. The first letter of these words:   Cryptography 
Isotope
Philanthropy
Hydrogen
Ember
Rebirth 
 
Spells Cipher. Thats as far as I got...      

Posted by CornBREDX
@Skrattybones: 
Registrar: MARKMONITOR INC. 
 
Dont know if that helps at all, the registrar info I have found is vague but suggests its registered through an anti fraud company (?) 
Idk, its kinda weird cus it also mentions DNStination INC.  
I dont suggest following these leads though, it doesnt look like its internally hosted by any game company that I can tell but whatever company it is could be related, I really dont know. But ya... can do whois searches for domain names through google if your realy interested; not gonna copy all the info here from it, tho, doesnt seem like something I should do.
Posted by Nictel

If you go through whois.domaintools you get: 
 Registrant:
        DNS tination Inc
        DNStination Inc.
        303 Second Street Suite 800N
         San Francisco CA 94107
        US
         +1.4155319335 Fax:
 
Google maps with  San Francisco CA 94107 gives us a nice picture of:

Posted by SPACETURTLE
@Flaime said:

" It wouldn't make any sense if it was The Outsider, they are clearly setting it up to be some sort of post-apocalyptic/nuclear/atom game (from what I've read and seen, The Outsider is none of that). 
Part of me really want to believe it's Duke Nukem Forever or HL2:E3, but these doesn't quite fit the description either. "

I totally agree. And if what the http://gknova6.com/ website shows us isnt completely bullshit and misleading, we are definitely looking at something linked to nuclear war or some setting where atomic bombs are key. And most likely in a POST-apocalyptic setting.
Posted by Creamypies
@Nictel: I swear that picture showed up in that weird video.
Posted by Yoda

i just found out you can turn the nob thing on gnova website lol..

Posted by RE_Player1

take the first letter of each of those words CIPHER

Posted by Skrattybones

Huh. There was a statium in that video too. What's the name of that stadium?
Posted by EasyPeasey
@Nictel: just like the baseball stadium form the website. the website where they discussed nukes. and bombs. and heavily crowded baseball stadiums.
Posted by Yoda

this is DEFINITELY ... Fallout: New Vegas.
 
gnova6 website , you can turn the knob to adjust the picture on the screen. Near the end it shows the element of uranium, and a picture of a group of people that could be something like the manhatten project but i could be wrong about that part.

Posted by Atomasist

Wow, good work everyone.

Posted by EasyPeasey
@RE_Player92: your a little bit late buddy. also you didn't read the story all the way. page through the comments to catch up
Posted by Scottstimo

Deffinitely Bethesda, as this explains it:
 
 http://www.joystiq.com/2010/04/05/arg-we-cant-believe-we-wasted-time-on-that/

Posted by Nictel

So the stadium is called the AT&T park. AT&T making a post-apocalyptic game seems unlikely...

Edited by Downandout
@Skrattybones: The stadium in the video wasn't that one, it was yankee stadium, and it was depicting how much TNT would be required (enough to fill the stadium) to get the same blast as a single baseball sized amount of Uranium-235. 
  
  

@the_dudefather

 said: 
 

" Source for some of the cartoon bits  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50lxlqzRaVE&feature=related "

 
  
It was on this video that was linked to earlier.  
 
EDIT: Skip to 3:15
Posted by Yoda

Someone explain to me what is this:
 
 http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/6626/mysterypics.jpg

Edited by SPACETURTLE

@Scottstimo:  
Its kinda weird though, that they got a return adress to check out and GiantBomb did not. Also, leaving a return adress is way too revealing. Its not that simple, at least I wont believe that.
 

@Yoda

said:

" Someone explain to me what is this:   http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/6626/mysterypics.jpg "

Yeah, I'm also curious about what that is
Posted by supersonic4336

Has anyone considered the blinking light on the tv to see if that has significance. perhaps morse code. Though it could be random blinking. Also considering the 5 lights, and that people don't like to do work on weekends I agree with the theory that the site will change each day this week and the April week two is referring to this week.

Posted by Impossibilium

Isn't this obvious?
 
The retro style, the historical elements, the science gone mad ...
 
all points to Lincoln Force!

Posted by Nictel
@Yoda said:
" Someone explain to me what is this:   http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/6626/mysterypics.jpg "
It's JF Kennedy during the Cuban missle crisis:

Posted by Yoda
@Nictel: 
 
thanks.
 
has this been discovered yet ?
Posted by Skrattybones

so MarkMonitor, the company that registered that website is out of Bethesda, Maryland.
Posted by Downandout
@supersonic4336: This is what I said aswell earlier, it will probably unlock more as the week progresses, but i dont have the patience to wait if this is true ¬¬
Posted by EasyPeasey
@Nictel: so its a game about an alternate reality where US got nuked during the cuban missle crisis? and then we have to be saved by a time traveling Abe Lincoln? AWESOME
Posted by supersonic4336

I just thought of something. If it is fallout related that might explain why it was sent to brad. He did just start fallout 3 and if the Bethesda guys listen to the bombcast they may figure he'd be best to send it to. Either that or everyone loves brad.

Posted by lockwoodx
@supersonic4336 said:
" I just thought of something. If it is fallout related that might explain why it was sent to brad. He did just start fallout 3 and if the Bethesda guys listen to the bombcast they may figure he'd be best to send it to. Either that or everyone loves brad. "
You are a genius 
Posted by VIGGO123

I think the most logical answer here is Fallout: New Vegas, but why go through all this fuzz for a game that has already been announced. The marketing style on the other hand fits Valve, with the Portal audio clips surfacing not long ago, but then again the contend doesn't fit any of their games. Unless it's a completely new one, though I really doubt that.
By the way, got to say I'm really impressed by the community's riddle-solving skills.

Posted by SodiumFree
Posted by Skrattybones
@SodiumFree: 
 
Yeah, we got all that first. At this point we're trying to circumnavigate the WEEK TWO stuff and trace it back to whomever is doing it.
Posted by Dylabaloo

DAMN Giantbomb community YOU SMART!!!!  But now what gets wetter......as it DRYS!?

Posted by MattyFTM

Giant Bomb community - you never cease to amaze me. Some A grade detective work there in solving it.

Moderator
Posted by RE_Player1
@EasyPeasey: I know just trying to figure it out on my own lol
Posted by Bayne

Defintly fallout. The websit gave it away. You can fiddle with the tv so you can get a clear image. Uranium. Yer defintly Fallout. But maybe not vegas.

Posted by Skrattybones

I'm saying at the very end of CIPHER the Rebirth announces a remake of Fallout 1.

Edited by sodiumCyclops

Elderscrolls V Please

Posted by KingOfIceland

But is Bethesda still in bethesda? because the towns wiki page says this 
   
 Software company Bethesda Softworks was originally located in Bethesda, but moved toRockville, Maryland in 1990    
  
bethsoft's wiki page states the same

Posted by slyspider

did some research on other sites that got it. Joystick got "APRIL WEEK TWO" i listened to the tv thing and copyed down some numbers i heard "NOVSAIX"probable anagram. best thing i could get is nova six

Posted by DystopiaX
@VIGGO123 said:
" I think the most logical answer here is Fallout: New Vegas, but why go through all this fuzz for a game that has already been announced. The marketing style on the other hand fits Valve, with the Portal audio clips surfacing not long ago, but then again the contend doesn't fit any of their games. Unless it's a completely new one, though I really doubt that. By the way, got to say I'm really impressed by the community's riddle-solving skills. "
yeah,,my guess is either fallout cause of the clues, or the CliffyB game that he's announcing, since epic still has that one studio making the unannounced game... maybe they're giving us time to figure it out, then reveal the whole thing on thursday?
Posted by NekuCTR

Hint: Uranium   U:235
 
That's all you need to know.

Posted by KingOfIceland

Here's my totally crazy, probably wrong guess: could this be for the CoD game Treyarch is probably making, which is probably going to take place in the Cold War?

Edited by Izaak
Posted by Downandout
@KingOfIceland: Good idea, but the source video for the website seems to much like the mid 50's style fallout has, like with people hypothesising all the amazing uses of nuclear energy and that, and every knows Treyarchs thing is going to be Vietnam, its the only really major conflict between the modern and world war 2 arenas of war.
Posted by Seraphim84
@KingOfIceland: Yep, they're technically in Rockville now.  Keep forgetting that the good men and women at Bethesda live not 10 minutes away from me.
Posted by Korne

I really want it to be a Stafox game (Nova Bomb... sixth Starfox game)... it could also be something Fallout related (Fallout MMO). 
 
Those are my guesses.