Chain Factor: Addictive Puzzle Game, Numb3rs ARG

Casual gamers with some time to kill (actually, casual gamers are, by definition, people with time to kill) would be wise to check out the latest distraction taking the nation by storm - Chain Factor. This simple, Connect Four lookalike is enough to captivate numerophiles and puzzle enthusiasts for hours on end. But behind the pastel discs and perky staccato chimes, there's free advertising for CBS a pseudo-alternate reality game just waiting to be discovered.

The game was the focus of last week's episode of Numb3rs on CBS. The episode featured it's own fictional ARG, where one pesky competitor was murdering other contestants to win a million dollars. The killer, named Spectre, wanted the money to create his own game, Chain Factor. Shortly after the episode, many Numb3rs fans and forum-goers started receiving emails from Spectre, telling them to play his game. We suggest that everyone set up a spam filter for incoming messages from serial killers - a lesson we learned during that whole Phoenix incident.

As a puzzle game, it's pretty charming, and extremely addictive. However, you might find the ARG elements a bit more engrossing. Players have been finding codes which will unlock in-game bonuses and further mysteries about the game's programmer all over the place: On billboards, TV ads, in error codes that appear under certain conditions in the game, even hidden in the episode of Numb3rs which introduced the game.

If ARG's aren't your thing, the standalone puzzle game is still pretty captivating. We'd definitely recommend it over, you know, getting murdered.

[Via ARGNet]