Editor’s Note: The original byline for this article had to be changed, as have some details in this article. Please see this article for an explanation.
If you’ve been playing indie ARGs for more than a couple days you’ve probably experienced a game that started off with a bang but ended with a whimper and a quiet death rattle. Most of us take a few moments to grieve the loss of the imploded game but quickly get over it and start looking for the start of another game. As someone who is drawn to the idea of creating my own games, I dwell over the loss of a game a little longer and crave a eulogy that helps me understand why the game didn’t reach it’s full potential. One of the biggest challenges in analyzing a failed game is that the creators of failed games rarely come forward afterward to share the behind-the-scenes missteps so that the rest of us can learn from their mistakes. So, with that said, I’d like to share why I stopped playing a recently staged game Tyler Greek (also named PHH Interception) and invite the creators of the game (and anyone else in the community who’s interested) to join the discussion.
Tyler Greek was the story’s protagonist who led a group of paramilitary soldiers in an alternate timeline where the TR Corporation unleashed an army of “super soldiers” on the world and destroyed most of the major US cities. Tyler, along with his tech support guy Jacob, were trying to provide humanitarian supplies for survivors and planning a counter-offensive against the TR Corporation minions.
The story was introduced and played out primarily on Twitter, YouTube, and through instant messenger chat clients like Skype and MSN Messenger. There was an attempt to deliver story elements on a TR Corporation website and on Tyler’s MySpace page along with some leaked documents which filled in some of the backstory, but those delivery mechanisms went stale soon after they were discovered.