Monday, July 31, 2006

If this one's not good enough

Many readers of this blog know (probably thanks to my speculation post after its season finale) that I'm a fan of the television show Lost. It's well done as a drama in that the characters and their interactions are actually interesting; it's well done as a suspense because the "what's going on on this island?" is genuinely something the viewers want to know. Unfortunately, summer = no Lost, so the producers et al. came up with the "half content, half marketing" gimmick called the Lost Experience.

The Experience is an "alternate reality game" that addresses some of the still-unresolved mysteries of the television show. I've been playing the game with sort of low to moderate involvement; I like to see the content as it comes up, but I'm rarely on the forefront of discovering that content. I just don't have time to scour the appropriate websites to find the clues. But some people do, and I'm grateful toward them so I can leech off their progress. Brief aside concerning that progress: the game is currently in Act 3 of either 3 or 5 (Holy Grail reference nonwithstanding). Right now, the point is to collect video fragments across the internet to form one supervideo that will "tear the Hanso foundation apart." As of now, I think Bearded Dude is Alvar Hanso, and that this Orientation video is concerning the Valenzetti equation. Mittlewerk is showing that same video to his savants, who are working with some unknown but urgent stimulus to solve the equation. Finally, the Numbers are either solutions or critical components of that same equation; that's why they keep showing up.

Anyway, one of those people who does a lot of everyone's work for them is a guy who calls himself Matt the Pale. Mr. Pale recently posted a long, scathing, and controversial rant saying how TLE was "not an alternate reality game" because too much was spoon-fed to the players, there were too many missed opportunities to impress the fanbase, etc. He said that his only motivation for continuing to play is a morbid curiosity. I think that's a load of crap, because if he really didn't care, then he'd sit back and watch the game from afar rather than continue to be its most prominent player. On the other hand, though, if anyone is entitled to make such a complaint, it would be him.

The point here is that he listed Perplex City as an example of what an alternate reality game is really supposed to be like. I checked it out... and I'm stunned. Puzzles, ranging from "match these dinosaur names to their skeletons" to "give a proof of the Riemann zeta function" lead the players to clues of who stole the Receda cube. There's a ton of backstory, characters, podcasts, and real-world events to back it all up. I'm really excited about playing this game, and I only wish that I could have discovered it before a year after it was released.

Currently listening: How to Save a Life, the Fray

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