Pronunciation Book YouTube mystery revealed

YouTube channel Pronunciation Book has been working with Twitter channel Horse_eBooks on the creation of an alternate-reality game (ARG) set in Los Angeles.

Jackie Dalton.
(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

YouTube channel Pronunciation Book has been working with Twitter channel Horse_eBooks on the creation of an alternate-reality game (ARG) set in Los Angeles.

The mystery of Pronunciation Book, the pronunciation YouTube channel that, 77 days ago, began a spooky countdown, has finally reached launch date, and it's really cool.

Working with another internet oddity — Twitter channel Horse_eBooks, which collected over 215,000 followers with its strange, cryptic tweets — Pronunciation Book has launched an ARG called Bear Stearns Bravo.

It turned out that Thomas Bender of Synydyne, creator of ARG This is My Milwaukee, was indeed behind Pronunciation Book. Horse_eBooks, thought by its followers to be a bot, turned out to be the work of a human: BuzzFeed creative director Jacob Bakkila.

The announcement came via the latest video on Pronunciation Book's channel — "How to Pronounce Horse_ebooks".

Bear Stearns Bravo is a sort of comedic net-based choose-your-own-adventure series of interactive videos. If you pay the game US$7, you get access to BravoNET. You get to choose a side: regulators, which are described as "illegal tourists" in Los Angeles, trying to take down investment bank Bear Stearns; or bankers, working for Bear Stearns. You'll receive a dossier for your assigned alias, access to the chat room and market (where you can purchase the game's music) and several areas yet to be unlocked.

Today, the pair will also be participating in a live art performance called Horse_eBooks 2, where people can call a (US) number posted to the Horse_eBooks account to have a spam-like message read live over the phone by either Bender or Bakkila from the Fitzroy Gallery in Manhattan.

Spectrograph image. (Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

Geekosystem visited the installation and wrote about it here, revealing more information about the ARG. For instance, the guy in the Lord Kitchener-style spectrograph image, put together from the seemingly random noise at the end of the Pronunciation Book countdown videos, is Jackie Dalton, the fictional CEO of Bear Stearns.

Alas, both Pronunciation Book and Horse_eBooks are to be retired now that they have made their big reveal. However, we're certain Bear Stearns Bravo will have some excellent mysteries to unveil — when it is once again live — and, to be honest, we're really happy it didn't end up being an advertising campaign for a third party, as some were suggesting.

Go check out Bear Stearns Bravo for yourself here.

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