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Find 815

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This information was revealed in part through the alternate reality game
Find 815
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Characters:   Sam Thomas · Sonya · Tracey R · Sam's mother · Mr. Ockham · Oscar Talbot · Other...
Companies: Oceanic Airlines · The Maxwell Group · Austral Air
Locations: Sunda Trench · Black Rock


Find815 3
Official game logo

Find 815 was the second Lost alternate reality game from ABC studios and the creators of Lost that provides a backstory for the discovery of the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815 in the Sunda Trench, as first revealed in "D.O.C.". The ARG began on December 31, 2007 and ended two hours prior to the premiere of Season 4 on January 31, 2008. It was developed by an Australian marketing agency named Hoodlum, who was also responsible for creating most of its story, loosely based on the opening scene of "Confirmed Dead". Therefore, the ARG is not necessarily to be considered canon for the show (although a few elements revealed through the game might still turn out to be canonical).

The storyline revolves around an Oceanic IT technician Sam Thomas who is intent on finding his love, Sonya, who was on board Oceanic Flight 815 as a flight attendant. Sam has been active in campaigning against the airline's decision to cancel searching for the flight, disgruntled that they wish to move on and resume business. The player learns of Find 815 through a hacked video placed on the flyoceanicair.com website.

The main website as part of the game, Find815.com was available for a further eight weeks before being shut down. The game itself started with a fictitious press release from Oceanic Airlines touting a return to the skies after months of investigation into the disappearance of Flight 815.

Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have stated on record that Find 815 is not in the Lost canon, the implication being that anything new presented in the game is only relevant to the alternate reality of the game and not to the show itself. [1]

How it all began

Oceanic sam-3
Screenshots of Sam's hacked video on flyoceanicair.com (Find 815 clues/December 31)

On December 28, 2007, ABC Medianet announced via a press release that Oceanic Airlines would be resuming flights on December 31 with destinations that correspond to nine of Lost's main characters' hometowns. A telephone contact was also given for Georgia Cavanagh at Oceanic, who, when called, left a brief message and directed the caller to Oceanic's new website, flyoceanicair.com, starting on December 31. At first, all that appeared on the site was a video advertisement for Oceanic and the new press release. However, on December 31, the video changed to a video hacked by Sam Thomas, who revealed himself as an Oceanic IT technician who had lost his girlfriend on Flight 815 and was mad that Oceanic was calling off the search for the wreckage and bodies. The video also provided the URL Find815.com, which was the start of the new ARG.

Clues by date

Main article: Find 815 clues

Story material for the game is released throughout the week as clues, or activities. Detailed information about all the clues can be found at the article for that date.

Chapter summaries

Main article: Find 815 chapters

Spanning five weeks, Find 815 has been broken into five chapters, each corresponding to a week's worth of clues (Monday–Friday). Game and clue summaries can be found at the respective chapter articles.

Synopsis

The following is a summary of the overarching narrative of the game.

Chapter 1

Sam-photo email
Sam discovering the doctored image (Find 815 clues/December 31)

See main article: Find 815/Chapter 1

Sam Thomas watches a news report about Oceanic Flight 815. After the largest search in the company's history, Oceanic Airlines will reportedly call off all search and investigation regarding the plane and conclude all passengers deceased within the next few days. Sam sees himself on the report commenting about his girlfriend of eight years, Sonya, who was a flight attendant aboard the plane. Sam finds an email a moment later from an unknown sender. It contains a doctored photo of Sonya, with the hidden words "Sunda Trench," "Christiane I," "Black Rock," and "Tell no one, grave consequences". After his reply to the email is bounced back with an error message, Sam finds an email sender address hidden in the error message relating to the-maxwell-group.com. He then finds the Sunda Trench on the map on the wall, east of Christmas Island, and circles it.

Trying to find out more about the Christiane I, Sam emails his friend Tracey for assistance. She replies back, saying it is a salvage boat docked in Jakarta, Indonesia, but that she can't find out where it is about to head off to, as the details are confidential. Sam immediately emails his friend David Massingham, who is able to get him tickets to Jakarta, even though all the planes are booked.

Sam receives a voice message from his mother, who is concerned about him after having seen him on the television. She requests for him to call her. Later at night, Sam is awakened by the sound of an open window banging in the wind. Upon closing the window, he sees a reflection of Sonya, who says, "Love you madly." He turns around, but only sees his old Oceanic Airlines uniform hanging on his wardrobe door. Sam later finds out that he has been terminated from Oceanic for public defamation, and then sends an email to Austral Air looking for a job. He then sets out to Jakarta to find the Christiane I.

Chapter 2

Christiane I 2
The Christiane I in Jakarta (Find 815 clues/January 7)

See main article: Find 815/Chapter 2

Sam locates the Christiane I in Jakarta, but has difficulty getting on board for the expedition. The captain, Mr. Ockham, initially tells him they can't afford any more passengers, but Sam's ability to fix the broken chart plotter convinces Ockham that he would be useful on the ship. However, the expedition supervisor, Oscar Talbot, reacts suspiciously to Sam. He questions Sam about his interest in the Sunda Trench and suggests that he is running away from something. Ockham, though, is able to convince Talbot that Sam's skill might be useful to have aboard the ship, as their destination might prove hazardous to Talbot's electronic equipment.

Sam receives a mysterious email with no subject and no sender listed. Containing only a long string of numbers interspersed with occasional dashes and periods, some of the characters are gray instead of black: - 1 1 . 1 7 8 4. Austral Air later get back to Sam, although they don't have any suitable positions for him at their company. Sam has also found a website about the Sunda Trench, detailing various plane and ship wrecks that have occurred in the region.

On one of his first nights aboard the Christiane I, Sam comes across a strange transmission on an old analog radio. It appears to be a radio broadcast from 1937 covering the disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart. He later learns from the Broadcasting Authority that it likely came from amateur radio enthusiasts, who sometimes broadcast historical recordings. Wanting to know more about Talbot, Sam asks Tracey to dig up some information about him; he comes from a reclusive, wealthy east coast US family with a sketchy history in the diamond trade. Tracey also eventually figures out that the "black rock" clue from the photograph likely refers to the Black Rock slave trading ship, which disappeared in 1881 after leaving Papua New Guinea.

Chapter 3

Maxwell brief
The confidential file from Talbot's briefcase (Find 815 clues/January 14)

See main article: Find 815/Chapter 3

Sam finds out from Ockham that they will not be home in time for Christmas, as they will be conducting a predetermined grid search into January. They talk about Talbot and where his funding comes from, though Ockham knows only that it is funneled in by a syndicate. Sam's curiosity leads him to snoop around Talbot's temporarily vacated room. He is able to open Talbot's briefcase and find a confidential file from The Maxwell Group with the title "Proposed salvage of the Black Rock shipwreck". Sam then exits the room and runs into a displeased Talbot, who accuses him of snooping around. Talbot lets Sam know that he doesn't think he is an asset to the expedition.

Sam receives another mysterious email from an unknown sender with no subject. This time, it contains a long string of letters with some of them in a smaller font size: A A B B C F C. He then asks Tracey to let his mother know that he is okay, but that he won't be able to be home for Christmas. He also has to decline an offer to stay with Sonya's parents, Ian and Pam, during his and Sonya's upcoming anniversary.

At night, Sam notices that the electronic equipment on the bridge of the Christiane I is behaving very erratically. After pressing a few buttons, the lights come back on and everything returns to normal. Tracey later offers a few explanations for the anomalous event: lightning, a temporary failure inside the electrical system, or less likely, a strong wave of electromagnetic energy. She recommends that Sam take some time off and suggested the travel agency BaliHolidayFun. However, after having connected Talbot to The Maxwell Group, the source of the mysterious emails, Sam feels that he may be on to something. He has figured out that the email with rows of numbers contains geographic coordinates, and plans to pinpoint their location on Talbot's chart plotter.

Chapter 4

TalbotSamCh4
Talbot confronting Sam about the coordinates (Find 815 clues/January 21)

See main article: Find 815/Chapter 4

Sam is able to hack into the chart plotter by making it look as though he has to fix it. After inputting the numbers which he believes to be coordinates, he sees that they pinpoint a location in the Sunda Trench. Talbot later confronts Sam, accusing him of lying about the chart plotter needing repair. Talbot produces the piece of paper onto which Sam wrote the coordinates, and asks him what they are for. Sam doesn't respond at first, but then divulges that they came from The Maxwell Group, Talbot's employers. Talbot warns that Sam is getting in over his head and tells him to stay away from the coordinates; he won't find what he is looking for.

Sam declines Tracey's advice about the BaliHolidayFun.com site, explaining that he is feeling homesick. Tracey has talked to his mother; she is very worried about Sam, but relieved that he is okay. Sam hears that he is receiving an insurance payout as a result of a burned down box company in which he invested.

While walking along the deck of the Christiane I at night, Sam notices strange green lights out at sea. Tracey explains that he likely saw an aurora, a natural phenomenon caused by magnetic forces in the atmosphere. She notes, however, that they usually occur around polar regions and normally don't fade away quickly like the one Sam saw. Sam decodes The Maxwell Group's latest message as "Love you madly", a phrase he and Sonya frequently used. Admitting it might be foolish, he decides to continue the search for the Black Rock and the coordinates, thinking it might eventually lead him toward finding Sonya.

Chapter 5

Ch5-FoundSomething
Ockham telling them they've found Black Rock (Find 815 clues/January 28)

See main article: Find 815/Chapter 5

Sam is able to convince Ockham to travel to the coordinates he received from The Maxwell Group in search of the Black Rock. Soon after they change course, however, Talbot figures it out and Ockham has to take back control of the Christiane I. Talbot says that his employers have logs of dozens of coordinates from Magnus Hanso's journal aboard the Black Rock, and asks Sam why his coordinates would be any more important. Sam then explains to Ockham where the coordinates came from, also revealing to Talbot the cryptic way in which they were delivered. After nearly turning the ship around at Talbot's orders, the radar beeps and Ockham says they have found Black Rock.

Austral Air let Sam know that they have a potential job opening for him, but Sam has to decline an interview, saying that a few things have come up. Tracey leaves a message expressing her concern and support for Sam. He thanks her, but adds that he is worried about what is coming up. Another coded email appears in Sam's inbox; it translates to "All is lost".

Sam is on the deck at night when he hears what appears to be Sonya whispering, "Sam... love you madly." Ockham tells him not to worry, explaining that the wind can play tricks in this area. Sam has convinced Ockham to let him drive one of the ROVs down to take a look at the wreck, but the inclement weather means that they will have to wait.

The next day, Sam navigates the ROV and finds not the Black Rock, but the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815.

A few days later, Sam is watching the news. The anchorwoman states that Oceanic Flight 815 has just been found "accidentally" by the Christiane I in the Indian Ocean. The news reporter also makes note of Sam, mentioning that in a bizarre coincidence, he was on the ship when the discovery was made, and that he is unavailable for comment with regard to the tragic loss of his partner. Talbot then appears as the spokesperson for the salvage mission, expressing pseudo-sincere sympathy for Sam. As before, Sam is watching the newscast as it occurs, holding Sonya's engagement ring.


Epilogue

On March 28th 2008 the Find 815 site was updated. It showed Sam's notebook (dated Feb. 23rd), mentioning that he, unlike the reporters, still lacked answers (see screencap).

Connections to episodes

4x05e-widmore-find815
These captions referred directly to the Find 815 website ("The Constant-Enhanced")

Television newscasts in Daniel's flashback referred to the Christiane I, and her discovery of the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815. ("Confirmed Dead")

Companies behind Find 815

The game was created by Hoodlum, an Australian company based out of Brisbane. The CEO and co-founder of the company is Tracey Robertson (possibly where Tracey R came from). Anthony Mullins was creative director and writer; and Kelly Chapman was the producer. The game was also worked on by co-founder Nathan Mayfield (who was running the Maxwell Group website).

It appears the game was commissioned by ABC and Yahoo7, as both were past clients of Hoodlum. This was unofficially confirmed as the official sites of ABC and Yahoo7 hosted mini-games needed to complete the chapters. The initial press release announcing Oceanic Airlines' return to the airways was also released via ABC Medianet.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly [2], Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse confirmed that most of the plot of the Find 815 ARG was created by Hoodlum, loosely based on the opening scene of "Confirmed Dead".

Awards

  • 2009 Global Media Awards: Winner, "Outstanding Website/Internet Entertainment", ABC/Hoodlum [3]
  • 2008 Creative Arts Emmy Awards: Finalist, "Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media", ABC/Hoodlum [4]

Pre-launch history

After the completion of the first Lost ARG, The Lost Experience, rumors of a second ARG were repeatedly denied by the creators of Lost.

Remaining questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Find 815/Theories
  • Who contacted Sam from The Maxwell Group?
  • Did Sonya die in the crash or did she survive?
    • If she survived, where is she now? Was she one of the early fatalities? Was she captured by the Others? Did she start jumping through time?
  • Why would Widmore Industries, who set up the Maxwell Group, be looking for a wreck of the Black Rock when Charles Widmore most likely knew it was on the Island?
  • Considering Oscar Talbot was working for the Maxwell Group and was against Sam searching the co-ordinates he received, was Sam's Maxwell Group contact following or disobeys his company's orders?
  • Did Talbot really believe the coordinates Sam found to be insignificant?
  • What was the Amelia Earhart report Sam picked up really from the 1930s?
  • Why did electrical equipment continually malfunction on the Christiane I's journey?
  • Why did Sam see the Auroras and hear whispers?
  • What was the significance of the coordinates marking offshore Tunisia?
  • What was the significance of the scientific clues such as Maxwell's paper On Physical Lines of Force?
  • What was the meaning of Walt Whitman's poem When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer and the mathematics on the Sunda Trench site?

External links

The following are popular blogs which cover Find 815.

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