He let them down. He ran around and hurt them.
June 25, 2008 4:07 PM   Subscribe

A few days ago a post appeared on the Something Awful forums noting a curious website called Notes to Mary. The notes are a series of threatening letters from a high schooler named Robert to his crush, Mary. The goons figured out pretty quickly that they had an ARG on their hands and went to work on solving the puzzle. Several other forums picked up on the game. Robert began interacting with players, sending them strange messages and several series of numbers that appeared to be some sort of code. A Flickr pool was started. Players even created an IRC channel to swap clues and information in real time. The Notes to Mary site offered a link to a login. All effort was made to crack the user/pass combo. Finally, several days after the game began, users were finally able to log in. The game was solved. The players would be rewarded for their hard work. Where did the login lead? Here.

"Robert" had just pulled off the most epic rickroll in intertubes history. The author of the game had never really intended for it to be a game at all. He just thought it would be funny to put up some creepy notes and see what sort of attention they got. When SA goons decided it must be an ARG he decided to play along. The numerical "codes" he sent out? Random numbers and dates plucked out of the air. Three hours before the solution was to be revealed he set up the redirect to the rickroll video.

Some background on how all this came to be is here. You can also view some of the email he received as the "game" progressed. To see the rickroll in action log in to the Notes to Mary site (the question mark in the upper right corner is the login link) with the user name "mary" and the password "dies".
posted by lysistrata (35 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have a co-worker who uses the phrase "They have too much free time" whenever I show her something funny or cool on the internet that might have taken someone a lot of work to do, but this is one of the few instances where I think she might be right...
posted by MegoSteve at 4:17 PM on June 25, 2008


Your video link doesn't work, which is rather anticlimactic. Was it just a standard rickroll?
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:19 PM on June 25, 2008


Holy crap that's awesome.

Although I still think Rickrolling Shea Stadium was pretty industrious.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:24 PM on June 25, 2008


Your video link doesn't work, which is rather anticlimactic. Was it just a standard rickroll?

Hmmm. Strange. It's working for me. Anyway, yes, it was just a standard rickroll which enraged and delighted many. I mean, these people went CIA codebreakers on this thing.
posted by lysistrata at 4:24 PM on June 25, 2008


Stranger, clicking the link and viewing the video directly on Youtube works but the embedded flash here on Mefi doesn't. I don't know why.
posted by lysistrata at 4:27 PM on June 25, 2008


Well it's actually more satisfying than an ad for a ski resort.
posted by dgaicun at 4:33 PM on June 25, 2008 [12 favorites]


lysistrata: In the panel to the right of the video: "Embedding disabled by request". That's probably why.
posted by CKmtl at 4:33 PM on June 25, 2008


This is the best thing.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:22 PM on June 25, 2008


Yes, much better than some lame video game. If I had spent considerable time cracking the code, I would have been delighted.

On the other hand, "mary/dies" doesn't seem like the hardest login/pwd combo to crack. (I didn't read the clues.)
posted by mrgrimm at 5:58 PM on June 25, 2008


A website full of idiots got trolled in passing? This is what passes for epic historicity now?
posted by DU at 6:15 PM on June 25, 2008


I hated this untill I read the title of your post and now I love it. Thanks!
posted by vrakatar at 6:23 PM on June 25, 2008


maybe it's time to say goodbye to that rickroll meme already? 5th grader humour was never funny the first place. Now it's just simply annoying, no matter how much work you put into leading a random person to a certain youtube video.
posted by kolophon at 6:44 PM on June 25, 2008


Actually, the joy of rickrolling isn't getting a new person to go there. Its getting the same person to go there again and again and again.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:47 PM on June 25, 2008 [17 favorites]


the genius here isn't that it ended in a rickroll. it's that there was no ending, no story, no grand thing to figure out and the internet just needed there to be more, so he gave it to them.

i've spent far too much of my day being amused over this. i'm sad he felt the need to rush it. i would have liked more letters.

i do find myself wondering if his wife knows he's sending scans of his handwriting and coming up with internet games with another woman. something about the familiar way he speaks about his conversations with the real mary...
posted by nadawi at 7:23 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


SA got pwned. Nice.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:02 PM on June 25, 2008


Attention SA: You have too much free time.

That is all.
posted by tkchrist at 8:09 PM on June 25, 2008


I've been sending out letters via email for years and no one's ever solved my puzzle
posted by dobbs at 8:10 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have text copied to my clipboard for occasions just like this:

That person's livejournal gives a bad impression of him/her.
posted by sleevener at 9:47 PM on June 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's kinda funny. I'm on mefi, and my wife's an SA goon. This pwning of SA makes me feel really good about myself, and has let me laugh at my wife for a good(-ish) reason.

I don't think I'll be getting any for a while. Thank you, Metafilter, for curbing my lust!
... so lonely.... =(
posted by agress at 10:48 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Internet: it's chantastic.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:31 AM on June 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I dunno. Seems like the greatest rickroll in internet history would be back in 1991, when Tim Berners-Lee added the functionality to the WorldWideWeb/Nexus browser to view the httprr protocol. Everyone was so excited until they found it just led to that fucking youtube video.
posted by rikschell at 4:02 AM on June 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


A website full of idiots got trolled in passing? This is what passes for epic historicity now?

Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had rickrolled the famous site of SA. Many clues did he invent, and many were the goons with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by Astley while trying to waste his own life and punk readers of a forum; but doing what he might he did fool Something Awful, for they clicked through their own sheer folly in trying to solve riddles that did not exist; so the god punished them by never going to give them up. Tell me, too, about all these things, O daughter of Jove, from whatsoever source you may know them.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:11 AM on June 26, 2008 [9 favorites]


Is J.J. Abrams familiar with Something Awful?
posted by Hubajube at 5:41 AM on June 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Your video link doesn't work, which is rather anticlimactic. Was it just a standard rickroll?

It's the "ZuuiU" link, so it cannot be more standard than that (fwiw, I thought everyone had memorized that one by now).
posted by effbot at 6:06 AM on June 26, 2008


Man, I'm so sick of people who say things like, "They have too much free time," or, "You're having too much fun," or, "I want some of what you're smoking," like boredom and banality are things we should all aspire to.

Then again, maybe I just have a case of the 'Mondays'...
posted by Pecinpah at 6:57 AM on June 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Then again, maybe I just have a case of the 'Mondays'...

Considering it's Thursday, I don't think it's that. I think you have a case of the Creatives. Most creative types hate it when the ol "Too much time on your hands" chestnut is broken out (my usual response is "No, I didn't have free time on my hands, cause I was too busy doing this!")

And if you read the responses on the SA thread after the rickrolling was revealed, it seemed pretty clear to me that while a lot of the goons were disappointed by the anticlimax, they had to admit that they'd had a lot of fun working to solve the puzzles, so it wasn't all for naught.
posted by Spatch at 7:53 AM on June 26, 2008


Fark says: Something Awful and other forums get PWN3D by elaborate hoax. Metafilter smug levels reach new heights

Ha!!!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:02 AM on June 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I purposefully structure my life to make sure I have too much time on my hands. Because then I can use that time to do things that are interesting to me. It seems like having too much time on your hands is pretty much the way to be whenever possible.

Unless your hands tend to stab people when they're idle. In that case, I endorse busywork.
posted by cortex at 10:11 AM on June 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


cortex: No time, Busy stabbing.
posted by aubilenon at 10:40 AM on June 26, 2008


The Fark headline is the best thing about this. Lollerz!
posted by Mister_A at 11:43 AM on June 26, 2008


that's awesome
posted by homeless Visigoth at 2:19 PM on June 26, 2008


I'm on mefi, and my wife's an SA goon.

My wife and I are both mefites and SA goons, though she is more of a goon than I am. I won't laugh at her because her stabbing abilities are not to be dismissed.

I may Rick Roll her later, though. Just out of principle.
posted by quin at 2:48 PM on June 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


maybe it's time to say goodbye to that rickroll meme already? 5th grader humour was never funny the first place. Now it's just simply annoying, no matter how much work you put into leading a random person to a certain youtube video.

The absolutely greatest thing about Rickrolls is that people can play-cringe and go "D'ooooh, you got me again!" then go back to whatever they were doing.

Rickrolls are a prank, but a harmless one. But since they exist, we don't have "goatse rolls" or "2g1c rolls," and that's a good thing.

I still personally prefer the idea of duckrolls.
posted by JHarris at 3:11 PM on June 26, 2008


This is not a duckroll, but it is awesome.
posted by quin at 3:45 PM on June 26, 2008


Man, yowza
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:30 AM on July 6, 2008


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