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  On Doctor Who  
Posted 2005-05-11 by Tony Walsh
I've been catching up on the new Doctor Who series every two weeks over at Hyakugei's place. While the pilot episode wasn't very promising, I have to say the show's coming along rather nicely, and in ways that might surpass the legacy episodes. The combination of the gaunt and whimsical older Christopher Eccleston with the doe-eyed and exuberant younger Billie Piper seems to be a winner, despite Piper's annoying oral fixation. The writers have worked out a more realistic relationship between the new Doctor and his spry companion than in any of the previous series. Even the Doctor's relationship with the rest of the world makes more sense. Within the fiction of the show, Doctor Who's earthly visitations have been documented in history books and on the internet. It's a pity the Beeb didn't set up an alternate reality game for the series--there is so much material in the way of fake sites that could have been generated. As it stands, there is some mystery surrounding the consistency of the phrase "Bad Wolf" in the series--again, dying for an ARG.
  Gamasutra: “The Rise of ARGs”  
Posted 2005-05-10 by Tony Walsh
 promises to fill us in on "The Rise of ARGs," covering classic alternate reality games "The Beast," "Majestic," and "I Love Bees," but stopping short of outlining more recent efforts such as Perplex City. If you're interested in ARGs, I highly recommend reviewing the Wikipedia entry on the subject. Despite its point-form composition, it's more comprehensive than the Gamasutra article.
  Silent Hill Movie Shoots Today  
Posted 2005-04-25 by Tony Walsh
Yahoo! relays a Reuters article containing details about the upcoming Silent Hill movie based on the horror-themed videogame series of the same name. According to the article, the French/Canadian co-production will star Radha Mitchell, who formerly co-starred with Vin Diesel in Pitch Black and recently starred in Finding Neverland. Mitchell will reportedly star as "Rose," a woman seeking her daughter in the terrifying town of Silent Hill. Principal photography on the movie starts today in Toronto. The film was written by Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction), will be directed by Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf).

Further Reading:
-- Clickable Culture: Reader commentary on the Silent Hill movie
-- Clickable Culture: "Silent Hill 4: The Room"
-- Clickable Culture: "Silent Hill 3"
Posted 2005-04-08 by Tony Walsh
Having recently installed a wireless network at home, I've become aware of a number of signals from nearby WiFi transmitters, some as distant as a city block away. The name chosen for the each transmitter is generally related to (or exactly) the name of the originating business or residence. At first, I found it intriguing to occasionally poll the airwaves to see what network names would pop up. Then, I found it boring. Finally, I hit upon a (probably unoriginal) idea: Why not use network names for nefarious purposes?

Continue reading: AirPortCasting
  ARGs: The Buzz Doesn’t Drive Itself  
Posted 2005-03-21 by Tony Walsh
ClickZ's Sean Carton attempts to explain Alternate Reality Gaming to mainstream marketers in his latest Leading Edge column entitled "Alternate Reality Gaming and You." Carton says he's "covered games and advertising a lot lately," as if frequency coverage is somehow related to quality of coverage. Of course, it's not, as evidenced in his goofy advergaming column about Everquest II's /pizza tie-in.

Carton's "big picture" is flawed. It's true that Alternate Reality Gaming can be a more complex form of viral/buzz marketing, and that although this "fringe" form of media is ripe for exploitation, there are certain pitfalls to consider. But hazards such as ethics and brand-integration are only the least of the challenges to an ARG's success.

Carton fails to recognize the core value-proposition of an ARG: Inspirational game-play. Buzz works both ways. A bad game will fail, and either no buzz or bad buz will be generated. A good game has a better chance of success, and the viral message that is produced will be a positive one. If you want to use an ARG as a marketing vehicle, you're barking up the wrong tree if you think that your brand is the best thing about the experience. Successful ARGs are designed by gamers, not marketers.
  Marketing Alternate Reality  
Posted 2005-03-01 by Tony Walsh
There's a new Alternate Reality Game on the block, and is following in the hypesteps of A.I.' s "The Beast" and Halo 2's "Haunted Apiary" This time around, the mainstream media's taking a distanced look at "Perplex City" specifically and ARGs in general. CNET calls ARGs "one of the most powerful guerrilla marketing mechanisms ever invented."

Having researched ARGs in the past, and based on my experiences working on Regenesis late last year, I'd wager the marketing clout of an isn't nearly as heavy as is being suggested. The main reason ARGs have been good marketing tools to date is by virtue of the fact that they are a new and growing phenomenon in the eyes of general public. They are imminently hype-worthy as a cutting-edge, cross-media form of entertainment. I argue that the press surrounding ARGs is a more powerful marketing tool than an ARG itself. Once we see more ARGs, that hype is going to die down, and the game play of ARGs will change. Game play will change because currently there isn't much direct marketing going on in ARGs. When the hype dies down, the in-game marketing will need to increase in order to make up for the shortfall.
  ARGN Regenesis Chat Transcript  
Posted 2005-02-01 by Tony Walsh
The Alternate Reality Gaming Network hosted a 2-hour IRC chat with the Regenesis ARG team last night, which included Associate Producer (and Puppetmaster) Evan Jones, Technical Director Martin Best, Game Designer Tony Walsh, as well as cast members Maxim Roy (Caroline Morrison) and Mishu Vellani (Hira Khan). About 40 hardcore ARG players were in attendance for the chat, which revealed a few inside details about what it's like to run an "Extended" Reality Game.

A transcript of the chat follows.

Continue reading: ARGN Regenesis Chat Transcript
  ReGenesis ARG Concludes  
Posted 2005-01-30 by Tony Walsh
Canada's Xenophile Media created a byzantine Alternate Reality Game for the television show ReGenesis, which concluded its first season last week. I was hired last October to assist with the game design, and was finally able to leverage my three decades of accumulated Nerdism. ARG design is a little like designing a giant, puzzle-based roleplaying game, so my tabletop and live-action gaming experience proved valuable in putting together plans for game play. I haven't followed the project since my contract was up in December, but, a semi-fictitious web site integral to game play, should have a break-down of everything that ended up going down.

The Alternate Reality Gaming Network will be hosting an IRC chat with the ReGenesis ARG game play designers--that'd be Associate Producer (and Puppetmaster) Evan Jones, and myself. Details available at the ARGN site. Hopefully a transcript will be posted post-chat.
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... Hope it helps someone... Dino...
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in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?

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in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy? get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?

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in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?

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in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock

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