The Doctor Who Series 13 trailer was the beginning of a new quest to solve the Doctor’s very own ARG!
Among the surprises and news coming from last weekend’s San Diego Comic Con was one only eagle eye fans noticed at first. Hidden in the title card of the Doctor Who Series 13 teaser trailer on YouTube, was a single word. Almost invisible against the dark background it simply said “/mystery” but enough for some fans to recognize what was afoot – a Doctor Who Augmented Reality Game. But who will be the first to #FindTheDoctor?
ARGs are online puzzle games usually used to promote an upcoming film or series. Stretched out across the creator’s various social media platforms and websites, clues lead fans through a labyrinth of puzzles. And they’re often fiendishly complex, even requiring some slight knowledge of cryptography or a willingness to look through the source code behind a web page for anything out of place.
In this case, the clue in the trailer leads you to the webpage www.doctorwho.tv/mystery. There you need to work out the password to proceed. As far as Blogtor Who knows, nobody has yet cracked the password, but the page does offer some clues. Fans are given a hashtag with which to share clues and possible solutions – #FindTheDoctor. There’s also the cryptic message – “It begins: 13:13.13” ; and there’s more – surely the out of place capital D in “hiDden” is a clue? And white against the white background so it can’t be seen with the naked eye is the single word “FRED.”
Welcome to a mystery across space and time. Work together to solve the hiDden clues and reveal a password below. #FindTheDoctor
It begins: 13:13.13
Enigmatic. Textbook enigmatic.
So what does it all mean? Why is it 13-colon-13-dot-13, for instance. Is that a timestamp? 13 minutes and 13 seconds into the SDCC panel seems to show Jacob Anderson with his bookshelves and a whiteboard behind him. Is there a clue there? Or is referring to something else entirely. And does “begins” indicate that whatever that clue points to is only the start of the password? The combination of ‘D’ and ’13’, both listed as important to Dan’s future in his horoscope in Revolution of the Daleks, could mean the third keyword from that scene – ‘Blue’ – also plays a part. Or not.
Does “Fred” refer to the Fourth Doctor’s companion Romana who was very nearly nicknamed Fred? Well, the password’s not “Romanadvoratrelundar” anyway, though perhaps Romana’s official character pages might hold another clue… Interestingly the inspect element password for the page – X4G6H66TZ114Z33H19K6 – has the exact same number of letters as the Time Lady’s full name. Could one be a cipher key to unlock the other? The Doctor Who Series 13 banner also appears on the /mystery page but there doesn’t seem to be anything hidden in the ‘D’ of the logo (too obvious?).
Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. Probably several late nights of mind melting frustration. But if anyone can rise to this challenge it’s Doctor Who fans. So make you own attempt, or follow the #FindTheDoctor hashtag, or join the unofficial Discord channels being created to crack it. Maybe you’ll have the vital insight to add that finally solves it!