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Alternate reality game genre as an internet meme ?

Last posted Nov 18, 2009 at 06:32PM EST. Added Nov 17, 2009 at 07:21PM EST
9 posts from 4 users

That is something I’m wondering, and considering to make an entry on, since I learned a little more about the slenderman entry.

I won’t lie: That slenderman thing that became an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) with the Marble Hornet videos is, to me, interesting. Well, I find all those mysteries and speculations about what the climax will be entertaining.

That’s when I stumbled accross the definition of an ARG and something struck me:

An alternate reality game (ARG), is an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform, often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell a story that may be affected by participants’ ideas or actions.

The form is defined by intense player involvement with a story that takes place in real-time and evolves according to participants’ responses, and characters that are actively controlled by the game’s designers, as opposed to being controlled by artificial intelligence as in a computer or console video game. Players interact directly with characters in the game, solve plot-based challenges and puzzles, and often work together with a community to analyze the story and coordinate real-life and online activities. ARGs generally use multimedia, such as telephones, email and mail but rely on the Internet as the central binding medium.

That theme was already mentionned by Chris in that topic when talking about “This is my Milwaukee”.

From what I saw, this gaming system got increasingly popular since its debuts around 1996 and there have been many groups playing that game throughout the world.

So, does a gaming system that relies on internet to influence what will be going further on in real life qualify as an internet meme ?
Can a genre be a meme too ?

Nov 17, 2009 at 07:21PM EST

Not completely sure, but this genre itself is doubtful. Genres as a whole, may be memes on occasion, maybe. Slenderman is also a meme.

Could be a bit more specific about the VRG. Is it like Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties IRL?

Nov 17, 2009 at 08:38PM EST

I love ARG’s but here’s where I run into a problem…

A meme is supposed to be thought of as contagious media that is shaped and formed by anyone who choses to add to it.

ARG’s are planned and coordinated. I wouldn’t call ARG’s a meme.

Nov 17, 2009 at 11:32PM EST

Quite true. It seems that’s why Slenderman is a meme and ARG’s aren’t.

Nov 17, 2009 at 11:37PM EST

Ok, I understand. Thanks Chris.
So, at the very least, ARGs can hardly be compared to astroturfed things, in that kind of situation, I think ?

Nov 17, 2009 at 11:54PM EST

Umm, that is astroturfing, I think.
It was planned, and you can’t plan a meme. Anything astroturfed would be deadpooled. And this seems to fall under that category.

Nov 17, 2009 at 11:58PM EST

Well, in the end, it doesn’t really matter, actually.
Thanks for your answers.

Nov 18, 2009 at 12:03AM EST


I would say that ARGs aren’t a meme but some individual ARGs could qualify as notable. ‘I Love Bees’ in particular had a cultural notability beyond Halo.

Nov 18, 2009 at 06:27PM EST

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