The Waste Land project, designed by London-based financier and creative entrepreneur T5Eli0t, started with teasers in early 1922 following a radical beta rethink inspired by ePound consulting (“il miglior fabbro” ).
Public location-specific release of the golden master came later that year in the UK and US. This limited-edition bound format, bundled with other curated magazine-style content, created huge buzz following the closed beta.
Flash mobs, anything from one or two people to nineteen or twenty, organised themselves by word of mouth to gather in places such as common rooms and cafés to celebrate TWL. Within four weeks of release, TWL players fed clues by “footnotes” had generated 2,041 oral comments. One popular café-chat-forum clocked up an average of 50 wtfs? and 13 Shantih shantih shantihs every hour over that period.
In the first ten weeks of release, an aggregate of over 14,000 reading hours had been logged globally, dominated by readers in the UK and US, but with strong cult French and Swiss appeal. Engagement averaged 47 minutes per session – over double what PruFr0k1917 had achieved – with the chess mini-game performing especially strongly. A future microtransaction model based on using withered stumps of time to earn more minutes for drinking up has been mooted.
TWL’s ending got more mixed reports, however, with the two most common reasons given for non-completion being difficulty and waiting too long to find out What the Thunder Said.