What’s becoming known as Immersive Fiction seems to be gaining popularity of late. While not really ARGs per se, works of immersive fiction often have enough ARG-ish elements to them to merit a second look, as they might definitely feed the need for those of you waiting around for the “next big game,” (and you know who you are!).
Web-based episodic entertainment is nothing new. There are websites and communities such as EpiGuide dedicated to the genre, and while websoaps and the like have been around for quite a while, some of these episodics have made an effort to become more interactive/immersive.
Past examples of this include Online Caroline, in which you ‘make friends’ with Caroline, a Bridget Jones-ish character who gets caught up in a humorous nefarious plot. The narrative takes the form of emails and pre-recorded webcam vignettes that utilize information you’ve provided about yourself or opinions you’ve given Caroline. She’ll even bug you if you don’t stop by the site for a few days. This database driven personalization made Online Caroline very unique, and resulted in the reader feeling intricately involved in the story. As far as we know, you can still experience Online Caroline for yourself, which takes a minimum of 24 days to play out, and is free.
Looking for something new? A few current examples of Immersive Fiction include Gaelph and The Daughters of Freya. Gaelph is the story of a little girl who, by consequence of some ancient prophesies and circumstance, is exiled from her childhood home. So far, the story has provided some ARG-ish puzzles for the readers to solve in order to continue the story. Gaelph takes place in real time over the next few weeks/months, and is free. (discussion at Unfiction)
The Daughters of Freya by Michael Betcherman and David Diamond is a unique new mystery novel told through emails exchanged between characters in the story delivered straight to your inbox, just as if the they had copied you on the emails they’re sending to each other. The story revolves around Samantha Dempsey, an investigative journalist who gets an assignment to do an article on a Silicon Valley sex-cult, and as with any good mystery, includes sex, murder and intrigue.
Readers receive a few emails at random times every day over the three weeks that it takes for the mystery to unfold. The Daughters of Freya is $7.49, but you can receive the first 3 emails for free.