Why aren’t there more ARG/MMOG crossovers?

by danhon

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 we’ll see more (soon, probably) marriages of ARGs and MMOs, but that’s to say that the ARG genre as it stands is still so young that we’re seeing a lot of experimentation.

I find it interesting that there’s so much fixation on the ‘this is not a game’ aspect of ARGs. If anything, I think it’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 ‘this is not a game’ aesthetic completely. There’s a few reasons for this:

1) the novelty just starts to wear off: you *know* you’re playing a game, and just because it can seem like you’re not doesn’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) It’s very limiting (not that limits are necessarily a bad thing, either) to only tell stories where you have to pretend everything’s real. It doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of Lord of the Rings (either the literary or moving picture form) to know that *it didn’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.