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Deep Sleep

Deep Sleep is a series of point-and-click adventure games, created by Polish indie developer Scriptwelder. The series consists of three free browser games in which the player attempts to navigate and escape a dream world inhabited by shadow people; the first game, Deep Sleep, was designed for and won first place in the 2012 Jay Is Games Casual Gameplay Design Competition. Interested in lucid dreams, a researcher constructs a world in his mind to explore. However, the world in his dream turns nightmarish, the researcher becomes trapped, he needs to wake up, explained when the player finds a telephone saying he "must wake up". Shadowy figures haunt this world and attempt to restrict the player from guiding the researcher to freedom. At the beginning of the game, the player appears to be in a bedroom. To escape, the player must first find a key go into the next room and use the key on a locker. A cube with a keyhole in it appears, the walls of the room melt down; the player will have to explore his or her surroundings, use acquired items to escape.

The main obstacle in the game are locked doors, cannot be opened unless certain items are acquired. After a long period of time, the player escapes the building he is in, but has not woken up yet. Near the end of the game, shadowy figures will advance towards the player; the player will have to escape, as it is impossible to kill them. Running away, the player reaches a lighthouse with a Shadow Figure inside; the player turns the light so it directly faces the Shadow Figure, it vanishes. The game ends, as the player "wakes up". However, the character is curious about the Shadow Figures he encountered and declares that he wants to visit them again. Following the events of the previous game, the protagonist develops an obsession over the previously-encountered shadow people, begins to worry that they may be real entities. While seeking information at the library, the world begins to degrade around them, revealing that they are still in the dream world. Much of the gameplay is similar to that of the previous game, as the player navigates various rooms and buildings and utilized various items to advance through the game.

Various newspaper clippings reveal more insight into the nature of the shadow people, which are described as ancient otherworldly entities that exist only in the dream world, desire to escape into the real world by possessing the uninhabited bodies of people in comas or lucid dreams. Towards the end of the game, the player descends down a water well and enters various tunnels, before encountering two eye-like orbs of light in the darkness; the game ends, a newspaper article is shown, revealing that a young boy named Cody had baffled doctors by awakening from a three-month coma, indicating that the player's action in the dream world can have consequences in the real world. Picking up at a different point in time from the previous game, the player awakens in their bed and sees a shadowy figure in their room, which attacks before vanishing; the player fully "awakens" and exits their room, only to discover that they are still in the dream world and resume their attempts at escaping. After finding various items and proceeding through various rooms, the player enters a series of underground sewers and tunnels, inhabited by massive dreamworld predators known as "bottomfeeders" that the player must evade.

Upon escaping the sewer system, the player enters a room explored in a previous game, where they discover that their uninhabited body had been possessed, they are now a shadow person themselves. Upon facing this realization, the player encounters another human traveling through the dream realm, who begins to flee; the player is given the option to either let the human escape unharmed and remain trapped in the dream realm, or possess the human's body and leave them doomed as a shadow being. Deep Sleep received positive reviews. Adam Smith of Rock, Shotgun wrote that although the game has a minimalist story, it "relies on mood rather than jump scares to unsettle". Cassandra Khaw of Indiegames.com called it "creepy without being overdone". Steve Brown of Adventure Gamers called it "a disturbing experience". Both sequels received positive reception, with JayIsGames calling Deeper Sleep a "chilling, wonderfully creepy game that will make the hair on your arms stand on end, you'll wind up eager for more" and PC Gamer including Deepest Sleep in its "best free games of the week" for August 2, 2014.

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SparkBase

SparkBase, LLC was a stored-value and gift card transaction processor located in Cleveland, United States from 2004 to 2016. It provided private-label, stored-value, specialty gift cards, customer loyalty, community rewards programs to Independent Sales Organizations. ISOs sold these gift and loyalty products to merchant customers along with credit card services and processing equipment. In 2009, Sparkbase managed gift card processing for over 12 million alternate payment system cards, with an average daily balance of $120 million; the company developed its own network code in-house, with twenty-three developers on staff, operated its own servers and Tier V data center on site, with off-site secondary and tertiary backup data centers. The company was founded in 2004 by software developer Douglas Hardman as a division of Technology Imaging Services, purchased by Hardman in early 2007. Hardman was the CTO of SparkBase prior to his acquisition of the company. SparkBase is in the closed system prepaid card part of the gift card industry, offering a software as a service stored-value payment processing network for specialty gift cards, customer loyalty programs, community rewards programs.

SparkBase does not service merchants directly, but rather acts as a private-label service through third parties, such as Independent Sales Offices, loyalty marketing companies, financial institutions, banks. These entities market their own version of SparkBase’s gift and loyalty platform to their merchants in conjunction with credit card services and processing equipment; the gift card network provided by SparkBase is a private-label or white label system that allows the third party, to brand the company's stored-value network and associated gift cards with the third party's own logo and other identifying information. Mobile wallet app for reward cards, store coupons and gift cards to merchants on the SparkBase network. Announced in March 2011, awarded "Technology Innovation of the Year" by the Electronic Transactions Association in May. PayCloud is available in Cleveland, Columbus and Jacksonville. Web-based RFM analysis and campaign management tool for merchants on the SparkBase network. GetYourBalance.com is a tool offered by SparkBase which allows customers to register their gift cards, check their balances online.

The API toolset permits ISOs and merchants to create a registration and gift card balance portal directly on their own branded site. Through that portal, merchants can access contact and other information about their customers acquired through the registration process, use this information in e-mail, SMS messaging, other marketing efforts. In October 2008, SparkBase launched the first SMS gateway integration, allowing merchants to reach individual gift card holders directly through SMS text messaging; the text messaging service offered by SparkBase may be used as a marketing vehicle and a means of payment, provides end-users a mechanism to check loyalty card balances and otherwise conduct loyalty card transactions directly through their cell phone. This service offers merchants the ability to send electronic coupon codes, special offers, rewards messages directly to their customers. In 2009, founder Douglas Hardman received the Smart Business Network "Rising Star" Award in relation to Sparkbase.

In 2011, Sparkbase's smart phone-enabled mobile payment service, Paycloud®, won the Technology Innovation Award at the Electronic Transactions Association's Annual Meeting. Payment card Stored value card Gift card SparkBase website PayCloud website Loyalty Star website GetYourBalance.com website