Secret, exclusive club all the buzz among Canadian gamers

Psst, are you on the G-List?

That puzzled stare means you're clearly not.

Don't worry -- you're in good company -- as this secret "gamer's fraternity" is only known to a select few Canadian video gamers clever enough to make it to the "G-List."

But this underground club is quickly gaining notoriety in part due to its exclusivity — after all, bragging rights are very much a part of gamer culture — not to mention multiple perks that include free video games, discounts on hardware, merchandise and a lot more.

In other words, it pays to be a member. And hey, it's free, too. As long as you know where to take the test and how to get to Level 10, you're in.

Need a little help, you say?

Well, at the risk of getting kicked off the G-List, I'll fill you in on what it is, how it works and a bit of background behind it all. Hey, I even scored a telephone interview with the mysterious "Mister A," one of the key "architects" behind the G-List, which is no easy feat (turns out he is not talking to any press other than me so far).

From what little is known, G-List first began with a cryptic teaser video that interrupted the 2011 Canadian Video Game Awards. Just as Reviews on the Run host Shaun Hatton took the stage, the lights fell dark and this video began playing on the giant screens. To this day, Hatton denies and claims to have no clue of this organization.

Naturally, this piqued the curiosity of many viewers, who then visited the website splashed at the end of the video: After a 90-day countdown, website visitors realized if they clicked on the mystery G-List symbol, they'd be taken to another website -- the "rabbit hole," if you will — which is Yes, your gamer instinct might've told you "tsilon" is really "no list" backwards.

There are six "doorways" at (pronounced "sy-lawn") and gamers need to figure out the password to at least 4 out of the 6 by solving a few riddles. But this doesn't guarantee access to the G-List just yet. Oh, no. This is just the first step, and one that takes you to yet another secret web portal to take the real test.

At the risk of giving any more away, the lengthy initiation contains a number of elements, including timed multiplayer quizzes on popular video games and characters (Mario, Zelda, Sonic, Final Fantasy, etc.), online puzzles to solve, phone numbers to call, live web-based chats, secret text messages, Skyped conversations with fictional characters and even attempting to find and communicate with G-List "Misters" in multiplayer console games to see if they'll provide any clues. The latest gameplay element involves the wireless "Streetpass" feature on the Nintendo 3DS, requiring you to go to different geographic locations in different cities to collect secret Mii characters that carry specific passwords.

Once you make it to Level 10 of this interactive initiation, your membership to the coveted G-List will be confirmed via email.

But the fun doesn't stop when (or rather, if) you become a member. In fact, one of the latest challenges is to find another secret online location, dubbed "Area 52," and unlock the mystery that surrounds a covert character named "The 2nd" or "Number 2." And Mister A has confirmed the female voice heard throughout pages of the G-List is in fact Tsilon, also known as "The 3rd" or "Number 3."

Sure, it sounds like a lot of work, but this is the stuff gamers are made of. Not to mention all the rewards for being a G-List member. Revealed recently and redeemable for 48 hours this week, the latest was a free video game. That's right, any regularly-price console or PC game — and free shipping. As long as it wasn't a special edition or pricey collector's version of the game, you would have received a code to redeem online and sent the game.

For a limited time, G-List members were also able to pick up the Sony PlayStation 3D flat-screen television for just $95 instead of $250 or the Nintendo 3DS portable handheld system for $99 instead of $170.

And if you own Ubisoft's "Assassin's Creed Revelations," you could snag exclusive DLC (downloadable content) for free, including rare Turkish armour for your character. In fact, the virtual world has bled into the real world, when some G-List members were tapped on the shoulder at a video game event in November and the mysterious character opened a briefcase to reveal the DLC code!

Like a status symbol among gamers on the "inside," some G-List members are also finding ways to show off their status in cities across Canada, be it logos spray-painted on buildings, tattooed on their skin or stickers on cars.

To give credit where it's due, the G-List story was first broken by Paul Hunter of Next Gen Player, a popular blogger and gaming enthusiast who even met with "Mister C" to snag his scoop on this Canadian gamer's fraternity.

As Hunter discovered, it's not exactly clear who's behind the G-List, but partners include Nintendo, Sony, Xbox, Future Shop, a few video game publishers (Ubisoft and Activision), gaming accessories maker Turtle Beach, on-demand services (CinemaNow), Greedy Publishing (including a video uploaded by TV host and producer Victor Lucas), energy drink maker Red Bull, Click Magazine, the Canadian Video Game Awards and a few others offering deals to G-List members.

"This is more than just a loyalty club — it's entirely focused on the gamer," says Mister A, one of the G-List cofounders who muffled his voice during a telephone interview with yours truly. "Getting on the list is a game in and of itself, which is also part of the fun."

"No one has ever done this before so we're quite proud of what we've built," adds Mister A. "We knew gamers would be curious about this, a kind of secret society, but we had no idea many thousands of gamers would try to get on the G-List. The harder we make it, the more we see trying."

Mister A says Canadian gamers are welcome to try and join the G-List but they shouldn't be discouraged if they don't make the cut. "Truthfully, we're turning away a lot more people than those who apply," concedes Mister A. "You have to earn it — this is isn't like signing up for a Gmail account."

"We don't care about press," concludes Mister A. "We care about creating something awesome for gamers. If you're clever enough to get onto the G-List, trust me, you will be rewarded."

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