The Flynn Lives! campaign (tie-in with TRON Legacy produced by 42 Entertainment) ran a series of retrieval missions today. One was in Portland.

Speculation among the Unfictionauts in Portland was that our much loved retro-arcade Ground Kontrol would be the site. And when Portland's location and shibboleth were revealed we found ... that information for Minneapolis(?!?) A couple minutes later game control corrected their mistake and we found that the Portland site was indeed Ground Kontrol.

Unfictionaut SpaceBass arrived there first. I was next, and said "hi" to the girl wearing a Flynn Lives t-shirt, then had a look at the pre-pay cellphone that he received from her. It had a single number in its directory, with the name Call Me.

We were expecting a couple of other people, including misuba and vectorb, so we delayed calling the phonenumber. If Ground Kontrol's bar had been open at that hour, we would've gotten a beer. As we waited a few people unknown to us came into the arcade, walked around looking at people, chatted to the girl in the Flynn Lives shirt, and started for the door. We waved them over. It sucks to be a late second to this kind of one-off event, and we were waiting around anyway.

At some point, game control got impatient waiting for our call. They just called the cellphone themselves. SpaceBass answered and led us on a walk around the block. I noticed that we were trailed by a different woman affecting the trenchcoat-and-sunglasses style. Behind a gas register a block away was a blue wallet. In the wallet were two game tokens from Flynn's Arcade (home of Space Paranoids), three vintage TRON movie trading cards, a newspaper article, and further instructions. A code printed on a sticker stuck on the card sleeves in the wallet was entered into the online system. A representation of the card appeared there, and each card revealed a section of an overall picture. We passed around the wallet and its contents as the smartphone-enabled dialed-in the codes.

As I type this, I pause every couple sentences and flip the golden token from my thumb and catch it. There is very little like holding an artifact from another world. It matters little whether or not that world exists. It matters little whether the piece appears mass-produced. What matters is the heft of the thing in the hands. And the sound that rings out as it is launched into a tumble in the air.

coverage in Wired,
photos on Miss Selector,