docwho2100: ARG stands for Alternate Reality Games
fsc_ralst: Will all the panellists please introduce themselves
debashby: Hello everyone, I’m Deb and I’ve played ARGs and enjoyed transmedia stories for years. I’ve helped run a few as well as writing for them. I am working on a book that looks at ARGs and creating them.
docwho2100: I’m doc (aka Jojo) and I’ve been exploring and having fun with ARGs for a long time. I’ve also used transmedia (related to ARGs) for some of my fics, especially Nikki and Nora, Cowgirl Up and some original stuff. I’m currently following about 5 ARGs including Miracle Mile Paradox and World of Depleted
docwho2100: So, has anyone here ever participated in or done anything with or about an ARG?
fsc_ralst: I’m a bit clueless, what exactly makes an ARG?
debashby: This is a really good link, if you know nothing about ARG’s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiU4AYPdIOw&feature=plcp&list=PLB9B0CA00461BB187
yurianimeotaku: What is the difference between ARG and RPG?
docwho2100: Good question and let’s use that to expland what an ARG is
docwho2100: RPG = Role Playing Game ARG = Alternate Reality Game
debashby: With a video game RPG the story is told in a linear fashion. The games often goes from point a to point b. While a traditional table top often the characters are put into the story their Game Masters writes for them.
fsc_ralst: So, in an RPG you get to play Seven of Nine or someone, and take over the universe
docwho2100: In an ARG, you become one of the characters in the story, only instead of adopting a character, you play yourself.
fsc_ralst: Traditional tabletop?
docwho2100: And you interact with the characters in the ARG
fsc_ralst: So ralst gets to take over the universe? I’m liking the sound of that already
Liberty Stewart: I play myself? Myself is boring.
debashby: Dungeons and Dragons type games with pen, paper and dice.
docwho2100: Yes, you could
fsc_ralst: @deb thanks
fsc_ralst: Myself is phenominal, at least inside my own head
yurianimeotaku: So how do ARGs relate to Femslash fics?
fsc_ralst: I’m assuming that the ‘me’ I use to play the game can be a totally different version to the real me?
Liberty Stewart: @ralst: There’s a reason I write fanfics.
docwho2100: An ARG is really just another way to tell a story
docwho2100: The difference, is with an ARG, people can participate in the story
yurianimeotaku: So it’s the area between fan fiction and original fiction?
docwho2100: @yuri, yes it can be. There are ARGs created for original stories, then there are ARGs created for universes already in existance. For instance
docwho2100: the show Lost also ran an ARG
docwho2100: Battlestar Galactica ran an ARG where the central characters and storyline involved a lesbian relationship
docwho2100: ARGs are different from a straight fanfic
docwho2100: they involve pieces of a story that you have to unlock or find and explore
fsc_ralst: Can we, as players(?), affect the storyline or is it all written out beforehand?
docwho2100: And they usually have an element of involving people in helping find the story
docwho2100: That depends on the ARG, some are very scripted, and you are basically justsolving puzzles and unlocking story
docwho2100: But some definitely are affected by the players
fsc_ralst: I like the idea of affecting the story
docwho2100: I am in one right now, where we, the players, are trying to keep the character from doing something stupid
docwho2100: We are talking to her through twitter, facebook and email
docwho2100: the scripted part of the ARG involves other ARG characters, one of which she just broke up with. So the story, instead of being read straight through, is coming at you from different sources
docwho2100: And something a lot of people like, the characters talk back to you.
docwho2100: Look at how the R & I Twitter accounts are used
docwho2100: An ARG liked to blur the line between your world and the story world
fsc_ralst: So, on the one you mentioned, how do you talk to the character? Twitter or can you use other sources?
docwho2100: so you alone may be boring, but in an ARg, you can become something more
fsc_ralst: >ruler of known world<
debashby: With ARG’s you can use a lot of different methods.
debashby: Books, video, audio, social media, FANFIC
docwho2100: An ARG is used when you want your story to play out over different mediums and often when you want to encourage people to work together, it’s great for building community
debashby: Using and ARG for story is not for everyone.
Liberty Stewart: How do you talk to the characters? I assume people are playing as them or something.
debashby: A lot of ways to communicate with other players. Telephone, Twitter, Facebook, Email, Snail Mail
debashby: One of my favorites had the characters calling you during a horror movie
debashby: You then had to help the character on screen
grumpybear1031: I think what she meant are some people playing as the characters while others are trying to figure things out
debashby: simular too a chose your on adventure
docwho2100: @grumpybear oh yeah
Liberty Stewart: @grumpy: yup that’s what I meant.
docwho2100: someone has to "write" the characters and play the characters
docwho2100: a lot of ARGs though use prerecorded messages, or other ways to interact
docwho2100: So people can play ARGs on their own time
Liberty Stewart: I’ll be one of those people then. I’ll have more fun playing as Lucy in the Sky Glory than myself.
docwho2100: : )
docwho2100: So you want to be what is called a puppet master, meaning you help direct the story (game)
fsc_ralst: puppet master, yes
docwho2100: And that @Liberty is what is actually cool about ARGs, they can be as fun to write and create as to play
debashby: and going back to the story question, there are not femslash ARGs, or even transmedia stories around.
fsc_ralst: If the ARG is open to everyone, how can you assure it stays femslash?
debashby: It’s an open field for femslash, or any LGBT characters
docwho2100: @ralst you do that by creating a femslash oriented story
docwho2100: ARGs and Transmedia are still just story
fsc_ralst: So the fixed elements stay femslash, even if it was suddenly being played by a gaggle of het-shippers?
docwho2100: the difference is how the story is delivered and how much others interact
Liberty Stewart: I’m actually curious to try some out. Any out there that’s not cryptic or hidden in special messages?
debashby: Yes, because to really understand this, you have to try one.
fsc_ralst: What if you’re not good at puzzles, can you still enjoy an ARG?
docwho2100: Here is what is called a walk thru, meaning someone write down how to go through the ARG. It steps you through a very short ARG – http://www.faismoijouer.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/mime_academy_design_handout.pdf
debashby: Yes, in a lot of ARGs, there are many different things to do.
Liberty Stewart: Any place to find out what sort of ARGs are out there so you know which ones you’re like better?
fsc_ralst: You mentioned that the example was short, do these things have set time frames or do they last until the puzzles etc are solved?
debashby: For example, someone good at solving puzzels, solves the puzzle. It’s to a pay phone location.
docwho2100: Ok for @Liberty and others exploring – chck http://www.argn.com they also are on twitter – they showcase ARGs and what is out there, they have a glossary and they are connected to a forum where people discuss ARGs.
docwho2100: If you want to know when something new is found – head to http://forums.unfiction.com/forums/
debashby: someone who lives near the pay phone goes there at the time a mysterious call comes in and gets a different clue to the puzzle which is in a different langage, so the next person translates the clue.
debashby: so an ARG may have a set time frame, x amount of weeks, specific phone call times, or it may exsist as a series of steps that are always there, and can be discovered at any time.
fsc_ralst: So do you have to play them as part of a group or can you do it solo too?
docwho2100: It depends the story/the ARG
docwho2100: The Nine Inch Nails for their album, Year Zero, created an ARG
docwho2100: it lead up to the release of the album
docwho2100: one of the puzzles
docwho2100: included pay phone numbers all over the UNited States, so there you needed a group
docwho2100: but some, can be played on your own
debashby: Jay-Z did something as well with his book Decoded, which you can still find some of them, and do it solo as well.
docwho2100: A lot of ARGs create road maps
fsc_ralst: So if we were going to create a femslash ARG how would we do it?
docwho2100: so you can find the way to the story even if you do not like the puzzle solving
docwho2100: I want to create a femslash ARG, so have thought a little about this
docwho2100: You first need a group interested in writing a femslash story
docwho2100: then you turn it into an ARG
fsc_ralst: Any type of story?
debashby: That’s the kicker. Not all stories lend themselves to how an ARG is structured.
fsc_ralst: So what elements would we need?
docwho2100: You’d want writers
docwho2100: People willing to "act" or play the characters
docwho2100: it helps to have some graphic people to create graphics
docwho2100: a lot of ARGs are delivered digitally so having people with web design and digital talent
debashby: There are a lot of free and good resources out there to help
debashby: as to the story, what makes a good femslash story?
fsc_ralst: It sounds quite daunting
Liberty Stewart: @ralst: true makes me want to pop in a video game where you can create a character instead.
debashby: Yes and no, but the story is what drives this. If people believe in the story, it will happen
debashby: sure, ARG’s play sometimes like a video game. It’s just another way to tell a story.
docwho2100: Are there femslash oriented videogames?
docwho2100: That tell a story as well as letting you pick a same sex spouse?
fsc_ralst: Could an ARG also branch out into non-ARG? I mean, could you write femlash or create a video based on it but not part of the ARG?
Liberty Stewart: Anyone planning to start a femslash ARG after this? I’ll be morbidly curious to check it out.
docwho2100: Oh yeah, although that gets more into the general concept of transmedia
Liberty Stewart: @doc: outside the sims. Not that I know of, All other VGs are oriented in beating things up and becoming stronger.
docwho2100: @Liberty what’s that, you’re interested in helping create a femslash ARG
docwho2100: and you are right about the videogame
fsc_ralst: Oh dear, she’s smelt blood *g*
Liberty Stewart: sure why not, depending on what it will be about.
fsc_ralst: I guess, if we create it, we decide what it’s about, right?
docwho2100: Yes we would
docwho2100: and that is what I like about an ARG, realistically, the good ones, are created by a group, so you can spin off into a lot of places and subplots
Liberty Stewart: @ralst: if it gets my muse charing again, I’m all for it.
fsc_ralst: So if I signed up I could opt to be in the spin-off video group, for instance?
docwho2100: A lot of ARGs use video
docwho2100: one of the big ones, LonlyGirl15 started on a video site
docwho2100: this girl was posting video journals
docwho2100: and people found these videos
docwho2100: and started talking to her
docwho2100: and then, the story spun from there
docwho2100: People thought she was a "real" girl
fsc_ralst: So do people just fall into an ARG or are they specifically signposted so that people actively start them?
debashby: someone I know also is using youtube to post a series of Vlogs, where the main character is being chased by shadowy government conspiracy nuts.
docwho2100: As to finding them, the answer is both – the sites I shared earlier, people post when a new "game" is starting. But others, don’t announce. They just put their stuff out there and people happen to find it and stumble on it.
docwho2100: A good example, is from Breaking Bad
docwho2100: there was a phone number in an episode, from there you call thnumber and the message helps you get to a website to explore
docwho2100: I always call numbers and visit websites shown in movies and tv shows and books
debashby: Also, I want to point out that not all ARGs will admit that they are a game at all. They go under the premiss that this is just a part of the "real" world.
debashby: which makes ARGs different from other Transmedia projects.
docwho2100: Buzz Word alert – a rabbit hole is the term used by ARG creators for a way to enter the ARG storyworld
fsc_ralst: What if you think it’s an ARG and it is real life?
docwho2100: google rabit holes and ARGs and you’ll find a lot
docwho2100: great question
docwho2100: people are starting to talk about ARG and Transmedia ethics
docwho2100: there have been cases
docwho2100: were players thought they had the right number and oops this is a regular person
docwho2100: that makes ARGs tricky, but also what some like about ARGs, that element of unknown and suspense
fsc_ralst: sounds a bit creepy
docwho2100: yes, some can be, although again, that goes back to how the ARG is created
docwho2100: and honestly, that happens in the real world too, which goes back to what ARGs like to do, blur the line of reality
docwho2100: I do not watch horror movies for a reason, and having a creepy killer call me is not my thing
debashby: Hello Sydney
grumpybear1031: Actually sounds like a possibility for something a friend and I are working on though it’s an extremely long original fic not fandom based.
docwho2100: @grumpybear oh?
Liberty Stewart: Scream is awesome though
docwho2100: there are a lot of original ARGs
docwho2100: Thanks, now ghostface will be in my dreams tonight : )
Liberty Stewart: @doc: There’s 8 so pick your killer
grumpybear1031: Yeah but when I say long I mean long we’ve been at it daily for close to two years
docwho2100: Scream 4 thank you
fsc_ralst: two years?
grumpybear1031: close to ten thousand pages
Liberty Stewart: Kristen Bell and Emma Roberts were interesting Ghostface
fsc_ralst: The ARG would last decades
grumpybear1031: it’ll probably get posted like a soap if we ever finish it
docwho2100: decades is not always a bad thing
docwho2100: and hmmm
Jaely: *slips into an empty seat*
docwho2100: the main element is having the story play out over pieces, having interaction and having a way to move from story piece to story piece
fsc_ralst: So if we want to sign up to create an ARG how do we do it?
docwho2100: my email is docwho 2100 @ gmail
docwho2100: I can also send to you ralst some links and resources to post maybe on the Con page about ARGs?
fsc_ralst: Well thank you to our lovely panellists, but it’s time to pass the baton to the Social Media folks…
fsc_ralst: @doc absolutely
docwho2100: Thank you
debashby: thank you
docwho2100: and please watch the con pages for more info
Liberty Stewart: this was interesting to say the least