Why aren’t there more ARG/MMOG crossovers?
That’s what Raph asks, and interestingly (and annoyingly predictably), the conversation soon strays into the “ARGs must pretend that they’re not a game” mentality. Here’s what I said:
There should be, and I think weâ€™ll see more (soon, probably) marriages of ARGs and MMOs, but thatâ€™s to say that the ARG genre as it stands is still so young that weâ€™re seeing a lot of experimentation.
I find it interesting that thereâ€™s so much fixation on the â€˜this is not a gameâ€™ aspect of ARGs. If anything, I think itâ€™s becoming increasingly apparent that to break out of the (relatively) small audiences that ARGs have garnered to date, producers are pretty much dropping the â€˜this is not a gameâ€™ aesthetic completely. Thereâ€™s a few reasons for this:
1) the novelty just starts to wear off: you *know* youâ€™re playing a game, and just because it can seem like youâ€™re not doesnâ€™t necessarily mean that all games must pretend not to be. Instead, they can just be self-sufficient in terms of their setting and be internally consistent.
2) Itâ€™s very limiting (not that limits are necessarily a bad thing, either) to only tell stories where you have to pretend everythingâ€™s real. It doesnâ€™t detract from my enjoyment of Lord of the Rings (either the literary or moving picture form) to know that *it didnâ€™t really happen*, nor does it detract from my enjoyment of Crash or Back to the Future. Although it would be cool if Back to the Future were real.
I expect I’ll have a lot more to say about this in the future.