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    Giant Bomb Mailbag: Numbers Station Edition

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    Ryan

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    Edited By Ryan  Staff

    No Caption Provided
    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!
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    Ryan

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    #1  Edited By Ryan  Staff

    No Caption Provided
    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!
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    Skytylz

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    #2  Edited By Skytylz

    Investigation team go!

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    Tirrandir

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    #3  Edited By Tirrandir

    I'm no help, but I do have to say that that's really effin' creepy. Do not approve of strange audio files on mysterious and shady pen drives.
     
    Adachi's comin' to get you, bitches!

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    DanielJW

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    #4  Edited By DanielJW

    Hydrogen is an element! I've made my contribution.

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    metal_mills

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    #5  Edited By metal_mills

     This can only be one thing...Valve!

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    dhuff

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    #6  Edited By dhuff

    Maybe it's just the 2010 Census. I think the voice sounds a bit Ed Begley Jr-ish.

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    Zalanth

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    #7  Edited By Zalanth

    Well this is kinda cool. I'm stumped yet interested.
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    Joeyoe31

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    #8  Edited By Joeyoe31

    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABE !

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    Gamonman

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    #9  Edited By Gamonman

    This is either a clever new way of adveritising games, or 4chan.

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    Animasta

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    #10  Edited By Animasta

    I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't some portal 2 thing.

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    readymix

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    #11  Edited By readymix

    the way the stamp is stylized made me think of GTA4. 

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    BarrenMind

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    #12  Edited By BarrenMind

    Metal Gear something something

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    dhuff

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    #13  Edited By dhuff

    The fist bit of voice is a quote from Julius Caesar. Not sure what that means...

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    sakarot

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    #14  Edited By sakarot

    Creepy and kinda awesome.

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    Skrattybones

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    #15  Edited By Skrattybones

    I'm just gonna dump everything I come up with here, too. Then you all can see how crazy I am. Yaaaay!
     
     
    -- 
     
    I'm pretty sure the letters are "M.O.D" not "N.O.D" 
     
    It reads like this: 
     
    M O D / Z Z Z /  J M Q R Y D 3 /F R P 
     
    There's an effect between each set of characters. 
     
    -- 
     
    That hex code turns into: 
     
    Decimal: 62 
    Binary: 00111110     
     
    The binary turns into "> ", which is HTML code which is the HTML code for "greater than". What's neat is that the decimal code for Greater Than is ">". 
     
    So.. does "greater than" mean anything?     

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    Dtat

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    #16  Edited By Dtat

    Hmmm...a mystery for sure! I would say it might have to do with Fallout: New Vegas, but I agree with Metal_Mills that this reeks of Valve craziness! Maybe a new Half Life? 
     
    Edit: I'm pretty sure they're saying M.O.D. not N.O.D.
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    matthew

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    #17  Edited By matthew

    Dude . . . no idea . . . MOD*dingdingding*ZZZJNQRYD3FRE

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    MeatSim

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    #18  Edited By MeatSim

    Mystery and intrigue!

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    WilliamHenry

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    #19  Edited By WilliamHenry

    Obviously its announcing the long awaited release date for Duke Nukem Forever.

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    hd24

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    #20  Edited By hd24

    Hydrogen isotope?!?
    What game has Hydrogen bombs?

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    fireb0x

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    #21  Edited By fireb0x

    The audio file puts these letters out: 
     
    M (or N) - O - D - Z - Z - Z - J - M (or N) - Q - R - Y - D (or B) - 3 - F - R - P (or E) 
     
    I tried matching up those letters with the numbers you gave that were embedded in the mp3: 
     
     00000000 00000210 00000825 000000000037474B 00000000 0016FDA0 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000  
     
    If you count "0", and skip the letters that appear in both the embedded text and the audio, you get a matching number of letters and numbers (9). 
     
    I tried matching them up in order of appearance and then putting them in numerical order, but got nothing. I also tried just putting letters into the numbers based on when the letters came out. For instance "o" would go in place of anywhere the number 2 came up because it was the second letter to be said.
     
    Maybe this will tip something else off though...

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    Crimsai

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    #22  Edited By Crimsai

    Yeah, I thought it was M.O.D (Ministry of Defence?) too. I thought Portal 2 too but I'm not sure why.

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    deactivated-5c7ea8553cb72

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    That is a little creepy...but awesome in a strange way.

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    Osiris

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    #24  Edited By Osiris

      Interesting, i'm sure there will be some people speculating interesting stuff soon enough :P     

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    MisterD

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    #25  Edited By MisterD

    Those numbers are hexadecimal, no?  No idea what they mean.
     

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

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    #26  Edited By LeadNinja
    @hd24 said:
    " Hydrogen isotope?!? What game has Hydrogen bombs? "
    Fallout also has burning embers and then rebirth when survivors start to rebuild the world.
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    iToastage_FM

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    #27  Edited By iToastage_FM

    Richard Wright, the dude on the stamp, is a 20th century author, tackling issues of race in the USA. 
     
    If anybody knows anything more on him, pray tell,  but if i had to guess its most likely to do with fallout:new vegas 

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    pbhawks45

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    #28  Edited By pbhawks45

    This is a stretch here, but the stamp on that envelope is of Richard Wright, a famous author who lived in Chicago. I Am Alive is supposed to take place in Chicago, yes?

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    FLStyle

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    #29  Edited By FLStyle

    It has to be something close to Brad's heart? What has he played for GB? Banjo and Kazooie? No idea.

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    Skrattybones

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    #30  Edited By Skrattybones

    I listened to the .mp3 backwards. Nothing illuminating. Trying to glean anything else from it. Morse code or something.
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    Keegs

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    #31  Edited By Keegs

    Isn't that Funcom MMO The Secret World coming out sorta soonish? This sounds like conspiracy stuff to me and that game is supposed to be all about that.  
     
    Also, could be something for Deus Ex 3?  
     
    No idea!
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    louiedog

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    #32  Edited By louiedog

    I hope it decodes into what ends up being the cumulative times for both endurance runs. Spooky.

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    taemun

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    #33  Edited By taemun

    Any chance of a full dump of the 1GB usb stick (zip/7z/rar it - its probably mostly 0's so the output should be tiny). Unless you guys have already been through it looking for stuff. 
     
    Also were there unprintable characters in the 4KB text file? A full dump of that is required.

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    EasyPeasey

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    #34  Edited By EasyPeasey

    yeah the full contents of the stick would be nice.

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    the_dudefather

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    #35  Edited By the_dudefather

    Thought the letters might have been a substitution cipher, but the 3 z's wouldn't make have sense (unless it was a anocrym, or it could simply mean 'sleep' :) ), other than that, the 3 stands out, one thought is that it could be the title of a game, with 3 at the end, possible candidates for this could be Half life 2: episode 3, DeusEx3 (which has the right number of letters, but doesn't fit with a substitution cipher). Bet it's something a bit more complicated though
     
    I'm betting on something to do with Deus Ex 3 or Portal/Half life

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    buzz_killington

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    #36  Edited By buzz_killington

    What if Zach's is just fucking with you guys?
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    Keegs

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    #37  Edited By Keegs

    They are watching us. Right now.

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    Zoidoid

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    #38  Edited By Zoidoid

    4KB seems way too large for just those words. Can you post the txt file itself?

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    timeshero

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    #39  Edited By timeshero
    http://home2.paulschou.net/tools/xlate/  
     
    Tried translating the hidden code here.  Not sure if I did it right.  Thought it might be hexadecimal.  Didn't come up with something understandable. 
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    pbhawks45

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    #40  Edited By pbhawks45

    Someone who has an account approved over there post this on NeoGAF. Those fuckers can help.

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    Skrattybones

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    #41  Edited By Skrattybones

    That hex code turns into: 
     
    Decimal: 62 
    Binary: 00111110     
     
    The binary turns into "> ", which is HTML code which is the HTML code for "greater than". What's neat is that the decimal code for Greater Than is ">". 
     
    So.. does "greater than" mean anything?
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    iToastage_FM

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    #42  Edited By iToastage_FM

    ok, put hex into hex decoder: 
     in order of how they appear in the test: 
    DECIMAL: 0, 528, 2085, 3622731, 0, 1506720, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0. 
    BINARY: 0000, 001000010000, 100000100101, 11101001011, 000, 00101101111110110100000, 0000, 0000, 0000, 0000, 0000, 0000 
     
    there you go, internet

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    EasyPeasey

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    #43  Edited By EasyPeasey

    That quote is form caeser! someone try a caesarian shift cipher

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    vinny

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    #44  Edited By vinny
    @fireb0x said:
    " The audio file puts these letters out:  M (or N) - O - D - Z - Z - Z - J - M (or N) - Q - R - Y - D (or B) - 3 - F - R - P (or E)  I tried matching up those letters with the numbers you gave that were embedded in the mp3:   00000000 00000210 00000825 000000000037474B 00000000 0016FDA0 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000   If you count "0", and skip the letters that appear in both the embedded text and the audio, you get a matching number of letters and numbers (9).  I tried matching them up in order of appearance and then putting them in numerical order, but got nothing. I also tried just putting letters into the numbers based on when the letters came out. For instance "o" would go in place of anywhere the number 2 came up because it was the second letter to be said. Maybe this will tip something else off though... "
    My guess is the ZZZ is actually www? and the "3" is "." followed by "FRP" which is maybe "com"? so maybe a website buried in there. ZZZ can't be anything else, can it?
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    pbhawks45

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    #45  Edited By pbhawks45
    @Vinny: It could be that ZZ Top game I've been maki...
     
    I mean, what?
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    the_dudefather

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    #46  Edited By the_dudefather

    good spot Vinny, so we get  WWW.***O**3.COM from that using substitution

    http://www.simonsingh.net/The_Black_Chamber/frequencypuzzle.htm
     
    (assuming the last 3 letter are com, could be org, or something else)

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    vinny

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    #47  Edited By vinny

    obviously: 
    http://www.gknova.com/

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    Skrattybones

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    #48  Edited By Skrattybones

    I dunno if I used that caesarian shift right, but is we're going with "zzz" being "www" and it turning into a URL,  J L A  W W W   G J N O V A 3 C O M is what I got. Hell if I know, but there is a www and a 'com' in there.
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    alternate

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    #49  Edited By alternate

    The race is on as other people seem to have got the promo mailing.
     
     http://www.gamezone.com/news/04_05_10_01_59PM.htm

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    ladnar

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    #50  Edited By ladnar

    Splinter Cell Conviction just a guess, my brain hurts

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