When a bug that restricts some items’ coin yield to 109 coins gets patched on the 109th hour of the game’s release, people start to wonder if there’s a pattern.
That’s what happened in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth’s first week of release.
But just when everyone thought it might be a fluke, the image for the generosity achievement changed to this:
Redditor MetalAlex soon saved the day. Noticing that the image was 109 by 109 pixels, he deduced that the pixels on each line created a code.
Meanwhile, Redditor Nirvanaguy007’s brother found this poster in Santa Clara.
The phone number, ending in 109, led to this recording with the name “Isaac” and the word “father” played in reverse.
With even more clues and diligent fans following the breadcrumbs, Santa Clara residents were able to track down and dig up a box with a tiny Greed statue inside.
— Michael Ahdoot (@mikeyahdoot) November 14, 2015
The entirety of the ARG and the steps players took to solve it is documented here by Redditor KevCar518.
Creator Edward McMillen may have decided to use an ARG to unlock the The Keeper after The Lost was discovered in the game through data mining. In an interview with Vinesauce, McMillen said it was “like swallowing a hundred dollar steak in one bite.”
Creating a puzzle that existed outside the game meant there would be zero chance of such cheating to happen again.
The Keeper is unlocked in-game by donating 999 coins to the Greed Machine and getting the generosity achievement. He uses coins instead of hearts for health.