In my previous post about Omega Mart I talked about it in general without any spoilers.
Well now it’s time to dig in and discuss everything down to the last detail about Omega Mart with spoilers.
So if you want to avoid spoilers, STOP READING NOW.
Yes, the above photo is of an actual sign inside Omega Mart. Seriously though: spoilers follow.
As you enter Omega Mart, you’re handed a “Boop Card.” This is your employee badge of sorts. There’s no rush to become an employee and of course you’re not really signing up to work here.
I should point out that the real employees here have different roles. Some of them are actors, others are there to keep the place clean and safe. Regardless, guests need to follow their instructions.
What you see entering the store is a little under 1/4 of the total physical space you’ll go through on this adventure. To the left of the entrance is the bag check, and to the right is the checkout.
To be absolutely clear, Omega Mart is a real store in the sense that they have items you can buy. The only food items are things like snacks, cereal, and soda. Basically stuff that has a long shelf life. There are also gimmick boxes such as the mysterious “Done” and a can of something called “tattoo chicken.” The rest of the items for sale tend to be more gift shop items like t-shirts.
Oh and yes there’s also a typical gift shop. It’s located outside of Omega Mart though.
Back to the store. If you walk in and straight to the fridges in the back, on the left there’s the bathrooms, elevator, and stairs. To the right is the hall to the pharmacy, which is the location of the “hidden” bar called Datamosh. To be perfectly clear it’s entirely optional to visit Datamosh and has no impact on the story.
Datamosh is an upscale cocktail bar with prices to match. The theme from Omega Mart extends into the bar with drinks allegedly made from their products. One particularly alarming example is Old Fashioned Spray, a typical old fashioned cocktail dyed a shade of blue that makes it look like Windex. The worst part? The blue dye is sprayed out of a plastic bottle labeled “Old Fashioned Spray.”
There are a number of secret passages in the Omega Mart storefront, and all but one of them lead behind the store. There’s also an opening near the bathrooms where you can skip the secret passages to the back.
Before we get to what’s behind Omega Mart, let’s discuss your first mission.
Mission 1: Become an Omega Mart Employee
- You simply need to “boop” your card with all the terminals in the store at the ends of the aisles and follow the directions on screen.
- Two of the terminals on the back wall in the store show you your progress. The same information is displayed if you scan the QR code on your phone, or log into the Dramcorp website with the ID code on your card. Similar terminals exist throughout the installation.
- Once you’ve learned about what the different colored cones are for, head upstairs to the employee breakroom to take a quiz on which colored cone goes with which spill.
And that’s it! You’re now an Omega Mart employee and more of the story unlocks.
Aside from the stairs, there are two other passages out of the employee breakroom. So let’s talk about what’s behind and above Omega Mart.
Secret passages: Dramcorp and The Forked Earth
On the first floor several portals to the left lead to a polluted desert town known as Seven Monolith Village, and the ones on the right lead to either Omega Mart’s factory or Dramcorp. Some also lead to the office of Seven Monolith’s gas station (“Alpha Service”) most notably the fridge door you probably saw people entering the second you walked into Omega Mart.
All of this back area is part of The Forked Earth. It’s sort of like a pocket dimension that you can enter or exit from via various secret passageways, or wormholes. Omega Mart built its factory there to take advantage of a well of an inter-dimensional life energy called the Source.
The Forked Earth was created when an alien race experimented with the Source in their dimension, and somehow accidentally fused them together.
Meanwhile former CEO Walter Dram has been adding the Source to all Omega Mart products because it increases customer satisfaction. It also has some unexpected side effects, especially on the Dram family themselves.
But before we get there, I should mention the next mission.
Mission 2: Become a factory worker at Dramcorp
I forget if you have to do these in any specific order? Apologies in advance there.
- There are two places you boop into outside the Dramcorp office on the second floor facing the factory. Both of these involve pushing a button or whatever, there’s not much to it.
- The Source Door is downstairs behind a structure shaped like a beehive. You boop into this and then twist the on-screen knobs for a few seconds and you’re good to go.
In my opinion this mission is the least interesting one. It does two things though: it unlocks a mission and it gives you an excuse to explore the Factory.
While in the factory I encourage you to explore and experiment with the DJ pads upstairs. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover you have a new career in music? Probably not but it never hurts to try.
The Dram family
Still cool with the spoilers? Because I’m going to distill the crux of the story which takes an hour or two of reading letters, emails, etc.
So let’s get back to the Source and how it’s affected the Dram family.
Walter Dram founded Omega Mart and was CEO up until recently. He moved the Omega Mart factory into the Forked Earth to take advantage of the Source.
The new CEO is Walter’s daughter, Cecelia Dram who wants to push some kind of new age agenda based around leadership principles. She also wants you to believe that she’s supposed to be the new CEO and is pretty cagey about what happened to Walter.
Cecelia became pregnant with her now-teenage daughter Marin in a ceremony in The Forked Earth where she drank the Source with her uncle Charlie and his neighbor, an herbalist named Rose. Charlie’s an odd man who runs the local gas station, operates a paranormal tour, and makes a beverage called Mish Mash out of the mysterious glowing runoff from the Dramcorp factory.
Marin’s story is chronicled in her blog on her computer and is brought to life in this music video from the band Beach House:
Marin Dram (Marin is pronounced MAY-rin) has your typical teenage girl issues. On top of that she can’t leave The Forked Earth because she’s forever tied to the Source. Her mother rarely visits or communicates at all. She feels lucky to have a few friends her age in Seven Monolith Village.
The big Dramcorp spoiler
The big reveal is on several terminals in the Dramcorp office. This is easy to get to from upstairs but a plus one in my book if you figure out the secret passage from downstairs at Omega Mart.
So here it is: Cecelia introduces her father Walter to Marin for the first time. Marin is nearly an adult at this point. Walter reacts to the news that the Source is her father by suggesting that Marin could be the template for a new product. A furious Cecelia gets into an altercation with Walter where she accidentally pushes him into the Source Well. Marin jumps in to save him.
Since then Cecelia has been trying to rescue her daughter from the well through Dramcorp technology. However, she clearly isn’t making any sort of rescue efforts on her father.
Once you’ve learned all this you have a choice.
Branching story paths
From here you have two options. You can help Cecelia locate Marin, or you can help Marin’s friends rebel against Omega Mart.
I should stop here and say I don’t think there’s anything stopping you from doing both on the same Omega Mart employee card. There’s no way I can say for certain because rebel activities don’t show up Dramcorp’s boop cards.
Let’s start with helping Cecelia. This is the less interesting of the two missions in my opinion, I’d skip it if you don’t have time.
Mission 3: Help Cecelia and Dramcorp
- There’s a decryption program on Cecelia’s computer in the corporate office. Boop into the computer and save the program to your Dramdrive.
- In Seven Monolith Village, boop into the computer at either Charlie or Rose’s hut. Run the decryption software and forward that mysterious email to Cecelia.
- Return to the Dramcorp office and boop into any available computer. Run the leadership ascension program and wow, you’re on your way to becoming a VP or something!
Okay but really, did you want to help Cecelia? Why did you do that? At the end you get a notification that Cecelia will need your help again. Sigh… okay.
Let’s get to the mission you can and should do.
Mission 4: Side with the Rebels (Marin’s friends)
- Visit either hut in the desert and when the hacker’s prompt appears, agree to join the rebels.
- The three rebels have maps to where you need to boop your card in different parts of the building. Save these maps to your Dramdrive.
- The most exciting part is the takeover of Omega Mart where the rebel’s message appears on the TV and speakers while employees “freeze” and the lighting changes.
Once you’ve finished this storyline you will currently be asked for a name and email address for when the next part becomes available.
This is the most satisfying ending even though nothing is resolved. What I find interesting is that the same boop card allowed me to do both competing missions. Can I only finish one or the other in the future?
Would I go back to complete the missions? I’m not sure I’d travel back to Las Vegas to finish it anytime soon… maybe if I got a really cheap flight.
In my previous post I recommended visiting Omega Mart. Since we’re going into details here I want to go into more depth.
Key parts of the narrative can only be accessed on one computer with your boop card. This often causes slow moving lines to form as people realize they need to access that computer. Like most people it makes me feel rushed in these situations when it’s my turn.
Although technically all of the story can be accessed from a wheelchair, some of the passageways are very narrow and short. The two huts in Seven Monolith Village have physical entryways that might be a challenge.
The slides… oh these are bad. They’re really fast and knock you around. Keep your chin tucked into your chest if you do ride them to avoid the worst of it.
The cost may turn some away, and I think that’s unfortunate. At the same time while I don’t have any insider info about the company, Meow Wolf is known for paying and crediting their artists, and providing a decent benefit package for their employees.
The physical space is really well thought out. For example, anytime there’s a piece of paper to read like someone’s mail or a pamphlet, there’s a reading light nearby. Might sound like a small thing but these design elements add up, letting you know when you’re on to something.
The employees were the right amount of helpful. As the story went on they became a little less helpful, unless they noticed a guest who was frustrated. I think this is a good balance. They’re not throwing you into the deep end nor are they coddling you all the way through.
None of this would work without the videos. The cast is good overall though I have to say Rachel de la Torre absolutely nails it as Cecelia Dram. Likewise the ads for Omega Mart have a dark sense of humor that set the tone perfectly. This extends to the entrance of Omega Mart where the somewhat disturbing Super Family Store video plays on a loop.
Some critics call this sort of installation a “playground” which I think is fair in some ways… I mean there are slides after all. At the same time that can sound dismissive; since when did playgrounds have a lengthy story to follow and a sense of humor?
Meow Wolf went to great lengths to put this together: aside from the amazing physical space the story is told through videos, music, emails, physical mail, phone calls, lighting effects, etc. There’s so much to it I’m sure there’s a lot I missed over my three visits. I didn’t even get around to cracking the substitution cypher found in one room to be honest. Maybe I should have gone back one more time?
Despite the linear progression of the boop cards, the storytelling is entirely non-linear. The more time you spend exploring and reading the details you find, the more of the story you’ll uncover.
Ultimately the question isn’t whether I like Omega Mart because I absolutely do. The true question is whether or not there’s a sustainable audience. I certainly hope so and I realize the current marketing push won’t last forever.
This is my first visit to a Meow Wolf installation. There are currently two others: The House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe and Convergence Station in Denver. I’m planning on visiting both at some point in the future.
I think if I had to recommend Omega Mart to a type of person, it’s the type who’s either creative or analytical enough to have immediately noticed that if you remove the first two letters of each word you’ve gone from Omega Mart to Mega Art. Because that’s what this is: one big art installation that’s up to you to figure out.