Valve Updates Portal, Adds New Achievement, Mystery

Normally it’s not a big deal when someone updates a game and adds a single new achievement (Transmission Received), but it’s Valve and Portal might be one of my favorite games of all time. I also love a crazy video game mystery, which it turns out this update is. Along with the achievement Valve also added in a bunch of radios through out the game, probably in reference to the achievement, with Morse code and what sounds like a bunch of random noise. Not that interesting, but then people decoded the Morse code (the sound files are all called Dinosaur 1, 2, etc. so that’s what they are referencing):

1-Dinosaur 1

INTERIOR TRANSMISSION ACTIVE

EXTERNAL DATA LINE ACTIVE (Presumably the telnet number)

MESSAGE DIGEST ACTIVE

2-Dinosaur 5

9-E-J-0-7-D-3-7-2-B-B-6-8-2-6-B-D-8-1-D-3-5-4-2-A-4-1-9-D-6

(Which sanitysama says is “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”)

3-Dinosaur 12

SYSTEM DATA DUMP ACTIVE

USER BACKUP ACTIVE

PASSWORD BACKUP ACTIVE

4-Dinosaur 17

B-E-E-P

B-E-E-E-E-P

B-E-E-P

B-E-E-P

B-E-E-E-E-P

B-E-E-E-E-P

B-E-E-E-E-P

B-E-E-P

B-E-E-E-E-P

B-E-E-P

B-E-E-P

And if you turn all those Beeps into individual morse code it spells LOL.

– The other 22 are all images after decoding with SSTV software. Click for a Steam Forums thread with all of them.

– Some of the images clue letters/numbers; each has a number out of 32 in the bottom right of it. Putting these together leads to an md5 hash of a BBS number. Figuring out the login is what we’re currently stuck on.

Getting interesting, but not amazing. It started to get really good when another poster decided to run the stuff that sounded like random noise (not the Morse code) through a program called SSTV (I don’t know what that is) and got a bunch of random images.

dinosaur2 – http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/2862/dino2.png
dinosaur3 – http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/5395/dino3.png
dinosaur4 – http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/8126/dino4.png
dinosaur6 – http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/474/dino6t.png
dinosaur7 – http://img186.imageshack.us/img186/804/dino7.png
dinosaur8 – http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/4015/dino8.png
dinosaur9 – http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/1900/dino9z.png
dinosaur10 – http://img502.imageshack.us/img502/6002/dino10.png
dinosaur11 – http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/5893/dino11.png
dinosaur13 – http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/2015/dino13.png
dinosaur14 – http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/6633/dino14.png
dinosaur15 – http://img203.imageshack.us/img203/2716/dino15.png
dinosaur16 – http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/3671/dino16.png
dinosaur18 – http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/5874/dino18.png
dinosaur19 – http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/8443/dino19.png
dinosaur20 – http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/8295/dino20.png
dinosaur21 – http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/6334/dino21.png
dinosaur22 – http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/6657/dino22.png
dinosaur23 – http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/4641/dino23.png
dinosaur24 – http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/1385/dino24.png
dinosaur25 – http://img168.imageshack.us/img168/4139/dino25.png
dinosaur26 – http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/3913/dino26.png

So, that’s pretty awesome, Valve didn’t put in random noise it’s actually images. And someone far smarter then me figured it out. Even better, some of the images had numbers and letters on them. Combined, they formed an MD5 hash, which normally you shouldn’t be able to decode (that’s the point), but somehow someone figured it out (Googling the hash is a good start for common passwords). Turns out it’s a phone number, specifically a number to a computer running BBS that you can Telnet to. The number is (425) 822-5251 which (apparently someone looked this up, too) is located in Kirkland, Washington. Don’t call it from a standard phone, it won’t do anything, and you’ll just clog up the machine for people trying to figure out the login. No one is sure yet what the login / password is.

I more amazed that people figured all of that out in less than 24 hours.

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