First we make users feel like everything they do is futile
On desktop, users explore the exterior world from the ground to the sky and go infinitely upward, until they return back to where they’ve started. They can jump through time to see how the site has evolved temporally, but it doesn’t solve their space problem. For example, on the date of Mr. Robot’s series finale, the site's metropolitan skyscraper has collapsed. By the time Briarpatch premieres, the ruins have given rise to a remote desert hotel. When season two of Homecoming begins, the building has morphed into a military-industrial office park. While the environment changes to reflect these current events, the experience is always the same to reflect the common theme. Users go up, up, up, but never away.
On mobile, users start inside the building and take the elevator up to see the world from a different perspective. They can stop along the way to explore their surroundings, interact with cryptic characters, and keep finding those easter eggs; however, just as on the desktop site, no matter how far their travels take them, they always wind up back where they started.
The emergency call button in the elevator (or the phone icon on desktop) connects users to the call center. At last, someone’s in charge! Users can hear backstory on the company, lodge complaints, and even get help navigating the site. But they may find that the automated assistant leaves them feeling more helpless than they did before they reached out.
Then we lure them down the rabbit hole—with a little taste of control
Compelling evidence to believe that some “higher power” is pulling the strings presents itself in easter eggs, puzzles, games, and cryptic messages buried throughout the entire experience. Even when the site is off-air and appears to be dormant, there are hidden sounds to be found in the test tone. Assembling these together and feeding the resulting audio file into an oscilloscope creates a video that suggests the company has been operating behind the scenes for some time—and may be an instrumental part of various religions, ideologies, and brands that have shaped history. Though assembling this puzzle may sound next to impossible—and requires coordinating clues from 24 time zones—it was cracked and the results posted online in less than 12 hours.
Visitors can earn the honor of being named Employee of the Month and showcased on the site by traversing the world more times than anyone else has. There are no instructions on how to do this, of course, and yet some of the top-scoring users to date have scrolled through the site more than 4,000 times in a single session.