It started with an all-call at NBC for short audition videos of unique teams of three willing to put themselves on the line using their brains and stamina. From the submissions, NBC picked ten teams that would be emerged into a part-reality show, part-ARG, hunt for treasure. Teams receive directional messages via video and text messages to their cell phones, while driving, flying, sailing, riding, hiking, and climbing their way to the clues and, ultimately, the treasure. The game itself has hints of the movie National Treasure (with the music having a VERY familiar undertone to the movie’s score), and it educates the viewers and the participants in the mysteries surrounding the American Revolution and the initial creation of the United States.
This is the second endeavor of a TV network to place participants in an ARG-like situation, rather than running an ARG parallel to the show as in Push, NV, following Fox’s cancelled Murder in Small Town X. Will this show be more successful? So far they have managed something that seems to be important to current, large-scale ARGs: corporate sponsorship. The fact that companies bought into this plan gives hope that the ARG’s are not only the future of gaming, but the future of entertainment for the masses, be they participant or spectator.
The series comes to an end next week, airing live Monday, August 21 at 9pm on NBC. From the original 10 teams, three remain: Air Force, the Geniuses, and the Southie Boys. Tune in to watch the exciting conclusion of the hunt.