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Friday, August 12, 2011

Why are most ARGs serving only one term?

For a while, I’ve been curious why just about every ARG I’ve come across is a one-off experience, never to be revisited.

Read the full post:

Research credit: cyngs

1 comment:

  1. This probably goes to the issue of "dynamic community formation".

    Even back 5 years ago there was a lot more structure.

    For example, there was the lonelygirl15 community that many "games" developed out of. The key to that community was a narrative that held it all together. From that large base it was possible to springboard either a fully independent project or a spin off from the core story line. For example OpAphid was an ARG that began tangentially related to the core story. The Cassieiswatching ARG appeared related but turned out to be mostly independent (and yes we still get together in Second Life every week on Saturday night to work on that final unsolved anagram). Maddison Atkins had the potential to link up with the core story but eventually went its own independent path. The point is that all of these were made possible by the existence of a huge community of people many of whom seemed to thrive on the challenges that ARGs provide.

    Maddison Atkins is a good example. Chapter 1 was intense on both sides of the curtain. It was a 24/7 activity that required total dedication from both the PM and the players for most of its 2 week run. This type of activity is hard to sustain by either the PM or players. The PM needs to give up on their "regular life" and you tend to find players who are at a point in their life where they have a LOT of time they can dedicate to a singular project.

    Maddison Atkins chapter 2 came with its own set of issues. By dedicating less time to the project the PM produced an experience that felt less fluid to the players. While this was all that was possible it set in motion a multitude of complex community issues which distracted from the game.

    With the reboot of Maddison 2.0 the PM chose to delegate a lot of the work to either cast or others on the production team. This does not lighten the work load but rather distributes it. This worked well but it is still hard to sustain for long on either side of the curtain.

    In summary this leads to the questions: where is the community, how do you mobilize them quickly around a project and how do we all work together better on both sides of the wall to make this possible?

    Whatever the answers they will probably have to stem from the realization that todays World is dynamic and becoming increasingly so. It is hard to build a community overnight but to the degree we can find a path to "self assembly" around a project or projects the more sustainable ARGs will become.


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