San Francisco Tron Event Recap, Encom Helicopter Drops In
by Alex Billington
April 3, 2010
If you've been following the Tron Legacy viral on FS.net, you know we've been hyping up this viral event in San Francisco for the last week or so. Encom, the fictional gaming company in the movies, was hosting a press conference and then we learned that Flynn Lives was arranging a "secret" meet-up earlier to disrupt the event. That's exactly what happened but there were a few exciting surprises tonight and it was a hell of an event to watch live and participate in - at least until the very end. Not only did they host an Encom press conference, but an Encom helicopter (!!) flew in last minute and a guy parachuted down right in front of us.
The evening started out with a "secret" meet-up at a big ballroom in the Hyatt Regency. About 150 people or so stopped by to show their support and everyone got a Flynn Lives t-shirt and poster on their way in. The organizers then proceeded to show us a presentation outlining the ARG faux-history since 1982 (when Tron came out) of Encom and explained what happened to Kevin Flynn (went missing in 1989) and why the Flynn Lives organization exists - because we still believe he's out there somewhere! Then they gave us a rundown on the press conference and what we were planning to do - disrupt everything with a small team that would eventually take over the stage and chant "Flynn Lives!" to show Encom that he's still got some supporters.
On our way out, they mentioned that they had found a box of promo swag from the press conference and we all received a Space Paranoids pin. No one knew what this meant at the time, but we later found out. With the plans in place, we all made our way outside (where it was rather windy and cold) and discovered a pretty awesome stage setup with giant Encom logos and colored lights all over the place (see the photos below). At about 8PM, the real Alan Bradley (as in, actor Bruce Boxleitner himself) walked over from the classy hotel across the street, escorted by heavy security, and took the stage amidst tremendous cheering and applause.
We recorded a video of most of Bradley's speech, which you can watch directly below here, so check it out. The big "product" announcement of the night was that Space Paranoids, the video game that Kevin Flynn originally created, has been upgraded and is now going to be released playable online sometime in the near future (it's not available yet). Early on, Bradley was joined on stage by the lovely Lora (aka Yori - Cindy Morgan) since in the original Tron he hooks up with her and they've - in the movie world - stayed married since. After making that announcement, Bradley hesitantly finished up his speech, but nothing happened.
It took a few minutes and some "we're having technical difficulties" calming from the Encom PR lady, but eventually a crowd of Flynn Lives fans stormed the stage and the screens turned to Flynn Lives logos and the crowd went wild. But was that the end? It seemed like something was missing. A few minutes later, we heard a faint chopping sound in the air. All of a sudden a black helicopter flew by and everyone went crazy when we all noticed that it was an Encom helicopter with big logos on the side. A giant spotlight focused on it as it flew by and somehow the logo and stripes on the side glowed red like a lightcycle. There's video below.
Each time the helicopter would pass, I could see a guy standing on the edge about to jump out. After circling the area, with the event cameras still focused on it, we noticed that something "fell out" and all of a sudden a parachute popped open in the sky. The guy in the helicopter had jumped out and whirled wildly through the air in the crazy winds I mentioned earlier. He eventually landed to the left of the stage but was whisked away. Suddenly, the event was over, even though no one knew it was. Everyone stood there looking around, questioning if that was it, and indeed it was, but it might not have occurred exactly as originally planned.
During Alan Bradley's presentation he paused at the end of his speech and looked up in the sky, and it's my guess that the helicopter was supposed to appear and disrupt his presentation. I also think it was supposed to be Sam Flynn in the helicopter jumping out, but because we never saw or heard from that guy at all, no one really knew. It was a fantastic setup that they put a lot of money into and I loved the concept and being a part of it, but it probably would've been a bit better if it had gone as originally planned. I was also hoping that the parachuter would appear on stage after landing or have some other involvement, but he never did.
That said, this was still an awesome event, even though I think the finale confused everyone and left quite a few of the attendees let down because it ended so abruptly without any explanation. If this is a precursor to whatever they may be planning for the San Diego Comic-Con this July, I can't frickin' wait to see what'll happen there. Like I said, this was a brilliant concept and everyone around me seemed to be enjoying it as it was going down. There was plenty of energy and excitement at the event, just no real payoff, although it was awesome to all of a sudden see an Encom branded glowing helicopter fly right into this press conference and drop off some skydiver (supposedly being Sam Flynn). That was the highlight of this event and the night.
That seems to be all to report on for now, but interestingly, Alan Bradley did mention that they've included some 15 new levels in Space Paranoids designed by Kevin Flynn himself. I have a feeling there is a lot more to the Tron Legacy viral that we'll be seeing over the next few days once that game hits online and word of this event spreads around the world. You can see a few more photos from this below and we've heard there might be an official video put together soon as well. Stay tuned for more updates on the Tron Legacy viral!