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The Origen Xbox 360 countdown's over (at last)!

Dan Choi

Origen Xbox 360 tree with European flags hanging on itThe Origen Xbox 360 site has counted down, and it appears to be promoting a contest for European gamers to win a trip to an Xbox 360 launch party in the U.S.

As for the updated site, it went live at approximately 7:00 AM ET. The tree is now covered with flags from all over Europe instead of fruit, as well as a link to in the lower left-hand corner. A Harry Potter movie-soundtrack-like toy piano is also playing a loop of a short musical progression in the background. Rolling over clickable objects on the tree produces a disappearing fairy-dust-like effect which follows the cursor.

The screen you get after the Origen Xbox 360 page finishes loading

Actually clicking on a country?s flag removes the other swaying flags from the tree, then takes you to a loading screen where the black silhouette of a rabbit is running in a hamster wheel-like contraption to push along the leafy progress bar above it. Keep in mind that what country you pick will determine what language you?ll read the rest of the site in (except for Belgium, which gets two languages). If you make a mistake, want to try something else, or even take another stab at reading the bunnies? benevolent banter, simply reload the page. That?ll take you back to the flag-selection screen. [Load times appear to have improved over time.]

Once the loading is done, a different view of the tree emerges with the two rabbits/hares brought to life in front of it and a hole on each side of them. The loading was required to download all the mellow new Charlie Brown-style background music that follows the idyllic new-age intro that starts things off (after a short transition between styles that sounds like switching the channels on an old radio). This progression loops every few minutes. Also produced are lifelike animations for our two talkative white rabbits (who speak to one another only through the text you see below them). The bigger bunny (?Boss?) tells the smaller one (?Didier?) about Origen and the ripe fruit behind them which will be fed to the smaller one?because he has pure thoughts and hasn?t been corrupted like Boss?to produce visions of the paths to Origen (of which there are many).

[It may be helpful to note the two small buttons you can press to turn off (and on?) certain features in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. The one shaped like a speaker, of course, toggles the sound, whether of rabbits speaking or music blaring. The one to its right, that?s shaped like a front-on view of one of these rabbits, resets those wascally wabbits to their default front-facing position, and also puts a stop to their Origen conversations. Restarting their talk doesn?t seem to work by clicking on the mini-bunny again, so try to read along once before silencing them (unless you wanna reload and start all over again).]

As noted by Joystiq?s own Vladimir Cole, here?s what happens next: ?After the rabbits finish talking, you click the orange fruit, didier eats it, has visions, then you are presented with three random questions. If you get all three right (they?re easy stuff about the xbox) then you are invited to enter more info about yourself (dob, country, phone number) and invite three friends to the contest as well. The winner of the contest gets to play the Xbox 360 before launch in some special location.? So it appears that this contest will be available only for European fans to win one-person trips to ?an event celebrating the launch of Xbox 360 in the United States for three nights in November 2005.? [Thanks for the clarification, Jez!]

Rolling over each of the rabbit holes reveals different sections you can click on dedicated to ?What is Origen?? on the left and ?Xbox 360: Gamers speak? on the right. Clicking on ?What is Origen?? leads to an animation showing both rabbits dropping down into the left hole. When they reappear, they?re sitting before a similar (loading?) animation of the two rabbits running on a treadmill in the background. (The same animation can briefly be seen along with the hamster-wheel one before the initial flag-laden tree comes up, if necessary, upon a browser reload.) A ?Way Out? hole now resides on the left (which takes you back to the previous screen), and a ?Win your place at Origen? link is at the right, (which leads to the same entry form that clicking on the first, and currently only, golden/ripened fruit does).

The two continue their banter as Boss tells Didier to clear his mind and imagine what he would like to find at Origen. Three of the flowers in the background ornamentation provide media control for the animation which can be manipulated in the center: Rewind on the left, Pause below, and Play on the right. The video is a festive one accompanied by Latin mambo music and a cavorting person in a white bunny suit, among other enthusiastic subjects and celebratory/tropical scenes depicting forms of escapism, including a certain symbolic opening door.

Following the hole labeled ?Xbox 360: Gamers speak? from the main rabbit screen leads to a scene of ten smaller trees that apparently link to ten different Xbox-themed external sites, ostensibly run by ?some of the world?s top gamers.? Names of the site contacts/maintainers switch to their European countries of origin when rolled over with the mouse. Each site showcased seems to have received an English copy of the same media alert issues by Microsoft on the 26th (though it?s possible that not every one published it in an easy place to find online). Another ?Way Out? is available in the lower right-hand corner of the forest.

More to come!

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