Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

[PATV] Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - Extra Credits Season 4, Ep. 12: ARGs (part 1)

GethGeth LegionPerseus VeilRegistered User, Super Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
edited May 2012 in The Penny Arcade Hub
Extra Credits Season 4, Ep. 12: ARGs (part 1)
http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/args-part-1
This week, we begin a two-part discussion on ARGs, starting with Alternate Reality Games.

Come discuss this topic in the forums!

Posts

  • facetiousfacetious a wit so dry it shits sandRegistered User regular
    This is awesome. Can't wait for part 2!

    "I am not young enough to know everything." - Oscar Wilde
    Real strong, facetious.

    Steam: Chagrin LoL: Bonhomie
  • teknoarcanistteknoarcanist Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    I've never been able to get into the idea of designing an ARG. There seems to be this huge content problem -- in that, you have one of two options:
    1) Live "actors" creating and corresponding with players in realtime
    2) A "trail of breadcrumbs" approach which, when built out and actually written into a story, almost always turns into a scenario where someone else did all the interesting stuff first, and you're just trying to piece together their journals on it or some nonsense.
    One is way too resource-intensive, and kills the game's ability to last into the future, and the other is just boring. And if the game does the breadcrumb thing but responds to players' discoveries over the course of the game, it can actually sabotage itself, such that no one will ever be able to play the game from start to finish again, because all the TOP SECRET .wav files or whatever have already been unlocked.
    Just my opinion, but in my mind, I can't think of ARG's as anything more than this weird little design dead-end. They don't have the focus or framing devices of a good puzzle game, they don't have the experimentation and reward of a good adventure game, so in the end, the best you're going to get is a scaled-up version of those little elementary school internet scavenger hunts, but with really good voice acting and edgy web design.
    And the "obtuse" puzzles the video is praising for uniting players, I see as completely god awful and unforgivable. They're the biggest hurdle for me in why I can't give ARG's the time of day. An obtuse puzzle is one where the designer completely forgot about the fact that someone would actually have to play this shit, and just made a puzzle he thought was terribly clever. It's like someone asking you a riddle, but in a foreign language, and whispering the riddle really quickly from twelve feet away so you have absolutely nothing to go on.

    teknoarcanist on
  • KoopahTroopahKoopahTroopah Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Surprised they didn't include The Dark Knight ARG. I actually participated in that, the Portal, and the Year Zero ones. Incredibly gripping stuff.

    KoopahTroopah on
  • FramlingFramling Registered User regular
    I think the first ARG I ever heard about was the Beast, which Wikipedia says is the first one. My involvement went something like this:
    • Heard about it on The ScreenSavers.
    • Read stuff that had been figured out so far.
    • Determined that, as cool as the whole thing was, it was growing faster than I would ever be able to keep up.
    And thus I determined that ARGs, while totally awesome, were Not For Me.

    you're = you are
    your = belonging to you

    their = belonging to them
    there = not here
    they're = they are
  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    I've never been able to get into the idea of designing an ARG. There seems to be this huge content problem -- in that, you have one of two options:
    1) Live "actors" creating and corresponding with players in realtime
    2) A "trail of breadcrumbs" approach which, when built out and actually written into a story, almost always turns into a scenario where someone else did all the interesting stuff first, and you're just trying to piece together their journals on it or some nonsense.
    One is way too resource-intensive, and kills the game's ability to last into the future, and the other is just boring. And if the game does the breadcrumb thing but responds to players' discoveries over the course of the game, it can actually sabotage itself, such that no one will ever be able to play the game from start to finish again, because all the TOP SECRET .wav files or whatever have already been unlocked.
    Just my opinion, but in my mind, I can't think of ARG's as anything more than this weird little design dead-end. They don't have the focus or framing devices of a good puzzle game, they don't have the experimentation and reward of a good adventure game, so in the end, the best you're going to get is a scaled-up version of those little elementary school internet scavenger hunts, but with really good voice acting and edgy web design.
    And the "obtuse" puzzles the video is praising for uniting players, I see as completely god awful and unforgivable. They're the biggest hurdle for me in why I can't give ARG's the time of day. An obtuse puzzle is one where the designer completely forgot about the fact that someone would actually have to play this shit, and just made a puzzle he thought was terribly clever. It's like someone asking you a riddle, but in a foreign language, and whispering the riddle really quickly from twelve feet away so you have absolutely nothing to go on.

    ARGs aren't meant to be replayed, so expecting as much from them means you're starting off on the wrong foot. Also expecting to be a one-man army and be able to solve everything yourself is again not how they're designed. Basically you're complaining that you want this bagel to be a donut and it's bad because it's not one.

    Opty on
  • Zachary AmaranthZachary Amaranth Registered User regular
    I absolutely love ARGs, though I've participated in a few where they utterly failed to deliver on time. That's disappointing.

  • GlyphGryphGlyphGryph Registered User regular
    Do the smaller games like HvZ and Assassin still count as ARGs? They aren't the website puzzle style described here, but they do mention them, and they seem to fit the concept of an Alternate Reality game - one played over the real world. For those who aren't a fan of internet-based ARGs, they provide for a much more personal experience, and plenty of variants have puzzle stuff that is more competitive (and thus individual-oriented).

Sign In or Register to comment.