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Techno DJ Makes History

A techno DJ has made history by producing an album as an integral part of a computer game. The record contains hidden messages and clues to online game Perplex City.

Ever since Pacman's yellow smiley head starting eating spiders, electronic music and computer games have gone hand-in-hand.

But for the first time in history an album has been created as an integral part of a computer game.

'The Silver City' by Viard contains hidden messages and clues to online alternate reality game (ARG) Perplex City, which is billed as the world's largest treasure hunt.

Alternate Reality Game

The winner of alternate reality game Perplex City will gain £100,000
ARGs are cross-media games that deliberately blur the lines between gaming and real life, and Viard's secret messages may help players locate a treasure prize – the mysterious Receda Cube – worth £100,000.

Viard's album, which is a wonderfully produced slice of electronica, is only available to gameplayers who purchase a Perplex City starter pack.

There are two clues hidden somewhere amongst the album's ten tracks – a spoken word section at the end of one tune, and a Morse code part on another.

Unsuspecting DJs could already be playing Viard's coded music, as the game makers have distributed 250 white labels.

They've even set up a record label called Hesh Records to distribute music integral to the treasure hunt, and to future Perplex City episodes.

Blur The Lines

Ethereal Electronica: Viard
Creator of Perplex City Michael Smith said: "The whole concept of the game is to blur the lines between real life and the gaming experience.

"We've created a record label, released an album, and sent out white labels to DJs.

"Hesh Records has a website which game players and the ordinary public can view - you can even email Hesh's owner.

"The idea is to make Perplex City seem as real as possible."

The identity of the man behind Viard's ethereal electronica is being kept secret, but it is known that he's an accomplished techno producer – something that can be heard from the quality of his production.

It's been an odd project from the off


Viard, Perplex City

Michael Smith reveals that Viard has previously had five albums out, and DJs all over the world.

Viard

"It's been an odd project from the off," Viard told DJmag.

"I've had to do an immense amount of thinking and understanding of what I'm involved in," admitted the producer.

"The character Viard is one of many fully developed characters within the world of Perplex City – what is incredible is the sheer depth of the characterisation.

"I've been involved with Perplex City since the very beginning and as such really didn't need too much of a brief to create the music, I had pretty much free reign to work on the tracks."

Whoever Viard is, he's made history.

The producer admitted that at first he was a little daunted by the project.

Perplex World

"Each release has to be meticulously planned so as to integrate properly with the Perplex City world and story – you also never know if even the slightest vocal, sound or beat will be misinterpreted as code or how players will take to the music."

Tens of thousands of people are already playing the British part-puzzle, part-story, part-game in a bid to discover the location of the 'Receda Cube' hidden somewhere on Earth.

The first person to solve the web of intrigue will win a £100,000 reward.

"Perplex City is the sort of puzzle where sheer brain power isn't as valuable as creative and lateral thinking," said Michael Smith.

"In other words, a quick-witted child is as likely to piece the story together as a retired Maths professor."

Check out the game at www.perplexcity.com

Perplex city's Hesh Records can be found at www.heshrecords.com