The code of the Arcane deck has been cracked, and a Perkasie, Penn. college student won $10,000 for his efforts.
Justin Erickson last week wrote the phrase, “Rector per vis ultum maioribus quam fortuna” (translation: Guided by a force much greater than luck”) on a postcard and mailed it to Ellusionist. Why did he do that? Because that’s what it says to do on the back of each Arcane playing card — once the code behind the glyphs is cracked.
Erickson, a psychology major at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, said the money would go toward more magic and his future family.
“I’ve always wanted to own everything from the site, and now I have my chance,” Erickson said. “This will also help get me through college pretty easily. I still can’t believe that I was the first to figure it out.”
The literal translation of the glyphs is: “This is a hidden contest. Write Jason’s favorite motto in Latin on a postcard and mail it to us. If you’re the first, you win $10,000. Vires intus!”
“We thought that the mystery would go on for years,” said Jason Brumbalow, vice president of Ellusionist.com. “But we’re still thrilled that the code was cracked, even though it was out there for only five months. It was hard for us to keep quiet about it, so it’s good that the secret is finally out.”
Erickson, 20, said he suspected there was some kind of code behind the glyphs, but was unable to figure it out. The glyphs that looked like the letter E and smilie faces teased him, he said.
But a university trip to Japan proved to be quite fortunate: He came across some Japanese manga editions of Pokemon, unreleased in the United States, and discovered a secret code that looked remarkably similar to the Arcane deck.
“I freaked out when I noticed it,” Erickson said. “I noticed that there were a whole bunch of different glyphs in Pikachu’s speech bubbles, then it occured to me that that wasn’t right, because all he says is ‘Pika Pika’ over and over again.”
That discovery led him to hunt down the issue where the code was explained. Which issue is it? Erickson isn’t telling — and neither is Brumbalow.
“There’s some other messages hidden in those glyphs,” Brumbalow said. “We want people to still have the thrill of discovering those messages for themselves.”