e3entrancethumb.jpgGreetings from sunny Los Angeles! This year’s E3 is proving to be a landmark occasion in the world of Alternate Reality Gaming. Not only is there a veritable ARG Development Team (Puppetmaster) Summit going on, with representatives from five different teams in attendance, but this whole ARG thing is creating quite a stir, especially on the exhibition floor.

The folks from Mind Candy have a great Perplex City exhibit on a main aisle, which is attracting all sorts of attention. Adding to the strong ARG presence, representatives from 4orty2wo Entertainment (I Love Bees), Xenophile Media (Regenesis), GMD Studios (Art of the Heist), and Karetao (Metacortechs) are here as well, making this the largest gathering of ARG Puppetmasters in history.

In addition, it seems there are some ARG street teams at work in and around the convention center. Attendees have spotted numerous Perplex City stickers all over the place, as well as…Project Gamelight cards. According to the ARG developers we talked to, this year is different than years past, in that when Alternate Reality Games are mentioned, there’s most often now a light of recognition as opposed to a blank stare.

As if this all wasn’t enough, the Audi ARG “The Art of the Heist” treated unsuspecting expo attendees (as well as security personnel) to quite a bit of excitement and confusion on the expo floor. I was privileged to be a part of the E3 player team who helped Heist character Ian track another character from the game, Virgil Tatum (along with a couple scary-looking bodyguards) as he made the rounds on the exhibition floor. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds, as the hall was exceptionally noisy and crowded, and we actually lost them on numerous occasions.

Once we nailed down his location, Ian was brought in, whereupon he and Virgil (and the bodyguards) had a rather vocal argument, followed by a physical altercation, much to the shock of those nearby. It was an amazing site to behold: Ian and Virgil duking it out right there next to the display for Magic: The Gathering Online.

virgilperplexthumb.jpgIan was pretty shaken up, as well as physically hurt, but apparently Virgil was in good enough shape to stop by later to visit the Perplex City display! He seemed very interested in this whole concept of Alternate Reality Gaming.

…and the entire ARG world promptly imploded in upon itself.

More to come…