In a move that, upon further reflection, makes perfect sense, MSN has launched a stealth “search opera” to help promote their new search engine. A search opera, according to Sean Stewart (author behind The Beast and I Love Bees), is just another term for an Alternate Reality Game. In this instance, having a search opera to accompany a search engine launch seems to be a pretty good fit! Sean has summed it up this way:
“Essentially, a search opera is a story treated as a scavenger hunt and a jigsaw puzzle rolled into one. What’s particularly nice about the search opera is that for a decade now people have been looking for a way to use the internet as an artistic medium. The net wants to be interactive, and it wants to be social. A search opera allows a collective audience to have an artistic experience while searching and gossiping and decoding and speculating: in short, while doing the things that the net was really born to do.”
The MSN Search Opera (ARG) centers around a guy named Cy and his conspiracy website. Following the links on Cy’s site and clues garnered by entering specific keywords into the MSN search engine yields videos (some of which are pretty funny), more characters, their journals, and a story that will develop over upcoming weeks.
And yes, I admit that I’ve already downloaded and assembled a hypnodragon of my very own, which my daughter thinks is gleefully amazing.
Discussion on unfiction.