Johnny Mnemonic: The Net Hunt Rediscovered

Perhaps the most elusive facet of JM is the Net Hunt. And what was that?

In short, it was a sort of promotional scavenger hunt or quiz:

From Sony (circa 1995):

The special internet promotion found on this Website is a collaboration between all the Sony divisions, and the interactive game grid was custom-rendered from the same 3D graphic database that was created for Johnny Mnemonic. This grid consists of over 6000 images that were rendered at 600 x 600 and output in both GIF and JPEG formats. This is a lot of graphic data. With a concern about how to avoid as much as possible slow downloads off the server, especially with the amount of traffic that was expected for the site, Sony went to Digital Equipment Corporation, a leader in web site server technology. The interactive game grid is running off a DEC Alpha server on a T1 line.

Additional HTML programming for the game grid was provided by vivid studios. The game grid was sponsored by Autodesk Inc. and Digital Equipment Corp.–the same software and hardware companies whose products were used to create the cyberspace sequences in the film and the only non-fictional corporations that actually appear in those shots.

Here’s a more straightforward summary by Nathan Shedroff, one of it’s creators (Creative Direction, Information and Interaction Design, Production):

To attract the Internet audience (which has traditionally been a stronghold of science fiction and cyberpunk fans), vivid developed an online game that launched several weeks prior to the movie’s release. The two-week long scavenger hunt sent players on a trek across the Net as they sought out the answers to daily clues. The final heat pitted the top 100 players against each other in a timed race through the LA Grid, a high-end rendering of cyberspace filled with puzzles and obstacles.

It appears the first half took place in the ‘real’ internet of 1995, while the finale took place in a simulation of JM’s internet of 2021. Regrettably, once the duration of the game (2 weeks) was over, Sony must have removed or altered it’s home page, as all that was captured by the Internet Archive (admittedly years later) was this:

The contest is now over, but be sure to visit the rest of the Johnny Mnemonic site!

I can find only the barest references to the Net Hunt on the internet of 2015. However, I was able to contact Nathan Shedroff, who was willing to go hunting through his own files, and turned up a list of questions and the correct answers (websites). I present here for the first time in twenty years all that can be found of JM’s Net Hunt (the first half, anyway). Note that most of these websites are long dead:

Johnny might stop here for a cuppa joe while connected to the matrix, but definitely not for a cap. And while this pot is connected, this barn sounds more like a place to get condoms.

In the future, there are more homeless on the streets than now. When you count 54, you might be able to change this.

The 1930s had a name for the self-built cities put together by the homeless. While there is yet no name for these cities in the future, last decade, they were named after this guy.

You won’t find these synthetics at ground level but you will find something to listen to down under.

As you know, Johnny carries things around for others. His predessors used to do the same thing but they used their hands and not their heads. Even now, you can travel across the oceans for others but be careful what you carry. This place will help you with all the information you need.

Anna’s (Wintermute’s?) ancestors are already in development. This is THE source of information for tracking their progress.

The first step to happiness starts here. The other eleven, however take a lot of work. (Myers-Brigg site) Johnny would probably be an EFNP while Jones would score a EEFF (more than T-bone we might add). Would Anna score at all? Where would you go if you wanted to become a woman, buddy? And you miss, pants not enough? At least this place is a start.

(george coates performance works here in the city — jared carney is a good friend of nathan’s and mine)

(the confessional — you’ve seen this already)

(cyborganic is jonathan steuer and crew — folks from hotwired, plus assorted rave dj’s and plugged-in geeks. very cool people.)

(jamie zawinski ’s homepage. let’s hide something there and not tell him, ok? then laugh when his server crashes.)

The most enigmatic star of the movie doesn’t have the pictures on him here. Must be an old photograph.

This sign is covered up during the movie, but one of the stars carries it on him at all times. You can buy your own, but it only comes in a removable, washable version.

If you could handle JIS encoding, this would be the best place for you to find out what a zaibatsu is.

Look for the 2//64, but we’ll warn you, it ain’t pretty.

Fortunately, Johnny already has some, but you may have to travel all the way to Connecticut to get some sunglasses.

If you know anything about the Net Hunt, or were a participant, or if you saved any images, and would be willing to share your story, please contact me.


Author: Staff Writer

Thirty-something graphic designer trapped in a boring part of Florida.

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