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“Flynn Lives” fanatics disrupt ENCOM product announcement in San Francisco

“Flynn Lives” fanatics disrupt ENCOM product announcement in San Francisco

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Remember how I said that Walt Disney Pictures was going to stage a stunt at WonderCon 2010 that would then top that “Flynn’s Arcade” thing that the Studio set up at Comic Con last July? Well, the Mouse delivered in spades this past Friday night.

The Blue Parrot had a front row seat for this “TRON Legacy” publicity stunt. And given that what Disney did in San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza was supposed to be a really-for-real ENCOM product announcement … Well, who better to report on this fictitious event than that noted figure from San Francisco fiction, Miles Archer?

Take it away, Miles ...

International software giant ENCOM promised excitement this past Friday night as they announced the newest releases in their product line. They delivered on that promise, although perhaps not quite as intended.

Following a windy and rainy afternoon in the City by the Bay, a good sized group of ENCOM employees and guests gathered in front of the Vaillancourt Fountain in San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza. As the chimes from the clock in the historic Ferry Building rang eight, ENCOM public relations representative Celia Melardin took the stage to start the event.

ENCOM public relations rep Celia Melardin at the ENCOM presentation
Photo courtesy of the Blue Parrot

After a brief description of ENCOM, she then introduced former ENCOM CEO, now executive consultant Alan Bradley, noting his cornerstone efforts in making the company a world leader in its field.

Former ENCOM CEO Alan Bradley in San Francisco for the Tron Legacy event
courtesy of The Blue Parrot

Mister Bradley thanked the crowd for gathering on the now chilly and blustery evening. He noted that he was always glad to visit San Francisco as was his wife Lora – especially for the shopping. At that point, Mrs. Bradley joined him on the stage for a few casual remarks.

Mister and Mrs. Alan Bradley
courtesy of The Blue Parrot

Mister Bradley then returned to the moment at hand with a quick review of ENCOM and its role in the world today. He noted that early success with games such as Space Paranoids lead to its position today.

It was then that he paid tribute to former CEO Kevin Flynn, saying that if asked today, Flynn would likely admit how he had foreseen much of the world online. Those assembled for the festivities seemed energized by his mention of Kevin Flynn, whose disappearance remains a mystery. ENCOM representatives usually decline to comment on Flynn, so Mister Bradley’s remark was indeed out of the ordinary.

In paying homage to those early days, ENCOM will soon be releasing an online version of that flagship game, Space Paranoids. Fifteen new never-released levels of game play, all personally designed by Kevin Flynn will be available for play on personal computers & devices using the browser-based application. The game harks back to the original code of this classic arcade favorite.

courtesy of The Blue Parrot

Those attending the event were provided with a new Space Paranoids cloisonne pin – sure to be a collector’s item among fans of the legendary game.

It was then that Ms. Melardin appeared on-stage, commenting that there were technical difficulties and that the announcement would resume shortly. Mr. and Mrs. Bradley exited the stage to the applause of the appreciative crowd.

Ms.Melardin returned to the stage to continue to program of announcements, only to be interrupted by a disturbance to the right of the stage. Moments later, the stage was covered by a group of individuals appearing to be supporters of Kevin Flynn. Holding signs with a variety of pro-Flynn slogans as well as wearing t-shirts that carried a simple message – “Flynn Lives.” The images on the video screen also carried their message as they apparently hacked into the event systems.

Flynn Lives
courtesy of The Blue Parrot

A spokesman for the group asserted that Kevin Flynn is not dead but lives. He further asserted that Flynn’s disappearance was some kind of corporate cover-up. The demonstration by the group was mostly peaceful, seeming more intent on getting their own message out than causing damage.

Shortly after the protest took the stage, the familiar ENCOM helicopter made a series of low passes at speed past the Ferry Building.

ENCOM helicopter drops by the presentation
courtesy of ENCOM

Moments later, a skydiver jumped from the helicopter into the night sky. He circled the area before coming to a safe landing to the left of the stage. The jumper disappeared into the night, leaving the crowd to wonder who it was and what his message might have been …(EDITOR'S NOTE: For an answer to that particular question, click here).

A skydiver jumped from the ENCOM helicopter
courtesy of The Blue Parrot

Ms, Melardin then took the stage and indicated that due to circumstances beyond their control that this ENCOM product announcement had now ended. ENCOM representatives declined further comment that evening.

courtesy of The Blue Parrot

Mind you, there's another side to this story. As in: Who are these "Flynn Lives!" people. Where did they come from? More importantly, why did they decide to swarm the stage at Justin Herman Plaza. To read about that part of this publicity stunt ... er ... story, head on over The Blue Parrot and read Joel Cairo's report on Operation TRON.


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  • Wow, I've seen the original TRON.  I played TRON 2.0 (for a little while, anyway, back in college).   I'm a guy in their target range for an ideal audio.  And honestly, after reading this article, clicking on the video, checking out the Flynn Lives site, I 'm still confused.  What was the point?  

    What I mean to say is this: I've seen the original film and am somewhat familiar with the Tron world.  And if I'm confused by this promotion, how is the public at large supposed to understand it?

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