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  Fans Inspire ARG-Style Play in ‘Lost’  
Posted 2005-10-23 by Tony Walsh
The television show "Lost," which features the trials of a group of plane-crash survivors on a mysterious tropical island, is evolving. Obsessed fan discussions and tributes have motivated Lost's producers to not only tailor the show to appease its hardcore viewers, but add online components in the style of an Alternate Reality Game (ARG).

According to the Boston Globe [free reg. req'd], the Lost creative team is paying close attention to fan interest, operating much in the same way as an ARG team: "Though the writers have communicated with fans from the start, largely through a site called, [Carlton] Cuse says he and [Damon] Lindelof, another executive producer, tend to filter fan reaction through others on their staff. They want to maintain the isolation and freedom that helped lead to last season's success... it was Cuse's idea to set up, a site about the fictional foundation that created the hatch experiment..." Cuse told the Boston Globe that "We're getting a lot of enjoyment and even education out of just spinning off [fan] theories. And the fact that it could come for naught is fine, as long as the show itself does have a satisfying explanation." The Alternate Reality Gaming Network lists all known ARG-like elements for Lost as of mid-October.

Lost is the first instance I'm aware of where Alternate Reality Game elements have been applied to a property post-launch because of interest from fans. It's very encouraging for the budding ARG industry landscape that traditional media producers are willing to delve into the game-form. In the case of Lost, a typically one-way media form has been turned into a two-way conversation with the property's creators. The result has been an increase in fan attention, and growing media buzz. Perhaps Lost will serve as a case-study for similar projects down the road, if the swell of public interest can be quantified. Having been involved with designing game play elements for an ARG based on the ReGenesis TV show last year, I will be watching Lost's progression through the ARG space with interest.
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