Alternate Reality Panel Chaos

ARG Meet 02

There, that got your attention, in true call-to-action style! I went to an interesting panel discussion today down at the Electric Sheep tower about ‘alternate reality games’ in our world. There was an eclectric crowd such as one (devon1234 Allstar you know who you are) who insisted on setting off fireworks at the beginning (pic above), people wearing cubes on their heads and the omnipresence of DestroyTV, the sexy camerawoman broadcasting video (not just stills as in my other post) to the bio world at

ARG Meet 22

There is a link at the end of this post to a bio site run by SL’s Future Salon that explains the speaker’s connections to bio world games and those strange recorded ‘speech’ things, avies in a podcast? Still beyond me how this works. Anyway back to the event, panelists were skillfully moderated by Electric Sheep’s (ESC) own SNOOPYbrown Zamboni as they tackled the complex issues of running alternate reality games here in Second Life. Among the other panelists (shown in the images below) were Zero Grace, Adrian Vanalten, danhon Giles and Aip Pomegranate I believe, although they kept using their alternate names a lot, confusing? Anyway to the discussion.

ARG Meet 20

Zero Grace (who is also known as Tony Walsh apparently) did a nice text introduction about ARGs while the audio was fixed:

“Over the last 12 years I’ve worked as an artist, writer, and designer primarily with web-based sites and games for the youth market. In the last few years I’ve been involved more heavily in game design. I designed game play and wrote storylines for two editions of Xenophile Media’s ReGenesis Extended Reality Game based on the Canadian TV series ReGenesis. and I was a game designer and writer on the Xenophile and Double Twenty co-produced ARG “The Ocular Effect” based on the ABC Family TV movie “Fallen.” My work in alternate reality gaming over the past couple of years has involved a heavy broadcast component and combines some traditional elements like puzzle design and interactive storylines with non-traditional elements like interactive video and working with gaming hooks embedded into broadcast TV.”

ARG Meet 15

When the 90 minute panel really got going there were lots of issues and questions that kept coming up:

  • How to devise a ‘game’ that truly plays against and parallel to the consensus reality of our world vs just a ‘treasure hunt’, and if this world is enough in itself (what a question!)
  • How to make money (Linden dollars obviously) from running these games
  • How hard and time consuming it is to develop a rich and deep narrative and keeping it going
  • How to keep control of the ‘game’ as many players take it to areas you never considered possible
  • How to make the media in this world, video, sound, text, im, chat, objects, outdoor media, role playing avies etc: etc: work together seamlessly – merged media.

ARG Meet 18

The audience as they do were asking lots of parallel questions and comments (which I find intriguing as a parallel narrative) to the slightly ‘from another world’ audio. One that stood out was from Matthias Eisbar who in relation to a game where a player was set-up to play guitar in front of everyone, talked about the 4th wall and players trying to get behind the mask.

” There are serious privacy issues for any actors though everyone wants to pull back the curtain but breaking the 4th wall like this – sometimes the idea that it’s a game gives people the excuse to cross lines – what if he gets hit by a car getting the guitar?”

InKenzo also raised a point about writers for ARG’s

“writers must be embedded and fluent in ARG worlds….it will not work with two separate teams.” and on linking games “for ARG developers, why must it be competition? there are ways to float between worlds here and there’s no shortage of ways to link games”

ARG Meet 23

I haven’t quoted much from the panelists themselves as they will be on the recording coming up at the Future Salon site which has more information from the bio world here.

Tomorrow looking forward to my friend DanCoyote Antonelli’s SkyDancers 2007 – I have a VIP seat at the 9pm performance, now wheres my glad rags 😉

Posted by Gary Hazlitt from Inside Second Life – using OpenSource – SL Mail, Postie & Cron

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