I concluded This is the End [Part 2] mentioning that @Star_Nubalo was working on a last report (at my request) before wrapping up The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo transmedia campaign. (Although, noticed that every time I say ‘this is the last one‘ something else happens…)

The good news is, she writes faster than I do, so the report is ready.

Star, along with @Victori127, has been around and actively participating since clue #1 so this is the perfect read to go back to the roots… and to say goodbye.


(photo from Nashville Happy Hunter Joey Scavone)

I’m not sure what this story is or why anyone would want to read it.  I’m not a happy hunter: I never found anything.  I’m not even a particularly good helper since only about 2 of the people I tried to help actually ended up getting a prize.  Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a plant from 42e and certainly am not @trent_reznor as some suggested (much to my amusement).  I’m simply someone who likes solving puzzles (x3 + y3 = z3).

When I found out in early 2011 that they were making TGWTDT into a movie, I vowed to read all the books before it came out.  After the first book, I was hopelessly hooked on the series.  Like many of us who have been through some crazy shit in our lives, I felt like I knew Lisbeth and had been a lot like her as a teenager.  I started looking for news about the movie, the cast, etc.  When I found out it was Fincher with Reznor/Ross I knew it was going to be epic!  Eventually I read an article about why I should be following mouth-taped-shut.com.  At that time, I didn’t even have a twitter account.

[November 27, 2011: MTS posts, for the fourth day in a row, a free-of-clue picture. Conclusion: Star and I spent a fair amount of time trying to find a clue in it. She saw ‘MAX’ written in the third ray of light on the left side, I saw the face of an agonizing old man in the stones down in the middle. (he is there)]

About a week after I learned of MTS, they posted the now famous bridge video and this crazy game began.  @victori127 quickly found what WIHIS meant and someone on MTS called “pekar.jos” pointed out that the license plate of one of the cars said the word “glance”.  Being a veteran of many puzzle games like NotPr0n, I had some ideas on how to solve these puzzles.  Once I found that /backwardsglance worked and found the GPS and timer, I was momentarily faced with a dilemma: what do I do now?  “What Would Lisbeth Do?”  Having been a bit of a hacker and anarchist in my youth (*clears throat*), and seeing as how there were no rules to this game, I posted the link on MTS and waited to see what happened.  Unfortunately, San Diego happened!

The next day we got a shot at redemption with the /lust clue in LA.  I had opened a twitter account the night before, specifically to follow MTS.  I posted a message that said “Wake up, LA!” as a joke, because we had laughed that the folks in San Diego had been asleep!  I was surprised when @mentorless messaged me that she was on her way and wanted me to help her! It should be noted that, at the time, she too thought I was either a plant form the marketing team or a rogue intern from SPC.

The rest, as they say, is history!

I knew they would never hide a flower in my tiny town, or anywhere within reasonable driving distance, so I resigned myself to solving the puzzles and helping as many people as I could!  Along the way, I became friends with Nathalie and formed a great working group of friends and fellow code-breakers on MTS and twitter as we all anxiously awaited the new clues and hoped our cities would be picked next.  We also all shared a sick sense of humor – I guess you need it to be a fan of Lisbeth.  So we took pleasure in taunting, teasing, and even flirting with @mouthtapedshut.  I can only hope they found it half as amusing as we did!  Ok, maybe I was the only one flirting with them!

In my opinion, the best thing about this game was the community we developed.  When a game has no rules, people tend to do what is in their true nature and what they really want to do (I learned that in a Star Trek episode).  So in games like this, it is a choice whether people come together and work as a community or stay silent and work on their own.  Do they collaborate to play the game or do they isolate themselves, fight, lie, steal, and cheat?  We came together.  In fact, we collaborated to the extreme – on MTS, twitter, NIN.com… hell, we even collaborated in the comment section after the articles on mentorless.com!  We were all over the place!

I almost feel sorry for anyone who angrily planned to go it alone.  We assembled such a big group of people with amazing skills at solving a variety of clues and puzzles (Hacker Republic has nothing on us!).  They really stood no chance.

In the end, this game was a treasure hunt, but in my opinion, the real treasures are the things we shared — the friendships, the laughs, the adrenaline, and the risk of being fired from our jobs because of how much time we were wasting on the internet!

I love this experience and wouldn’t change a thing about it!  Oh, and @mouthtapedshut and 42e, if you are out there reading this, I’m available for outside creative consulting, game testing, and insider/plant work in the future! :)

** If you want to review the Treasure Hunt from the start, you can click here.**

By mentorless| 10 Comments | Films and TV Show, Personal Buzz, Social Media, Transmedia


  1. Nice job Star! Much thanks to you, Nathalie, and EVERYBODY else on Twitter for a great time.
    I’ve loved reading your articles Nathalie and pointing out to my family members anytime my name is mentioned :) I plan to continue reading in the future.

    • Thanks Tori! And thanks to you too for making it such a nice game (and making it possible to happen!)
      You better stick around (and I’m still waiting for the pictures of your flower;))

      We need to find a new playground to have fun altogether…

  2. Great article Star (and Natalie)! I remember at the beginning wondering if @Star_Nubalo was really some kind of plant or insider placed there to guide us all. When the first person commented on her being a plant I laughed, but then I thought maybe she is LOL.

    Anyway plant or not I think she was very helpful and made this hunt that more exciting. She really deserved a flower after all.

    I really loved and enjoyed this marketing campaign, even though I am in the last place on earth away from all the excitement, your articles were a great way to feel like part of every hunt, so thank you!

    • Hey Camilla,

      I’ve actually seen that you also started following the hunt from the beginning! That’s great! Thanks for the kind words, and sorry nothing happened in Chile :(
      (maybe next time… who knows)

  3. Star, Nathalie, Tori, and everyone else… Thanks for helping form and maintain the community around MTS. It was a lot of fun hunting & puzzle solving with you guys. I’m going through withdrawal to the point where I almost want to just start posting my own puzzles to #mouthtapedshut on Twitter to see what happens!

    • I so know what you’re talking about. Having to write the articles for the last few days have allowed me to have a smoother transition, but I had some withdrawal crisis too! (hum)
      I say: go for the ciphers on #mouthtapedshut, I’m sure some people in the community would be delighted to have something to wrap their mind around ;)

      • Actually, have you ever read Pattern Recognition by William Gibson? A lot of parallels with the whole search aspect of the novel.

        • No, I haven’t! But now I will :) Thanks for the reading tip, they’re always welcome here.

  4. Great article Star and big thanks to Nathalie for these recaps.. Some of the clues drove me insane when I didn’t know where the answer came from! Thanks or also quoting me in a couple of the articles.. Has really boosted my twitter followers!

    I had a great time solving these clues with you guys and luckily for us the movie turned out to be a belter! (How anticlimactic would it have been if it sucked?!)

    I only hope some of the films I work on can have as awesome a viral campaign and then maybe “I” can be the plant! Hahaha! Stay in touch guys!

    • Yay, keep us in the loop oh ‘Darkershadeofme’! Thanks for the compliment, it was great having you around too, makes it better when you get along with everybody :)

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