Wow, October already? Thankfully, not much has happened in the past couple of weeks that would be noteworthy for reporting here. I wonder what’s going on in the world of alternate reality gaming lately? Let me just check this… email inbox I have over here… and… oh. Wow. Really? All of that happened in the last 14 days? Huh. (Yes, I’m a little late on reporting a few recent developments, so let me jump right into it.)

TLE_end.jpgThe Lost Experience, the three (or five, depending on the source) stage ARG which began in early May with mysterious television advertisements, concluded on September 24th with a live radio transmission. In the weeks leading up to the end of the game, players were encouraged to visit real world locations for Apollo Bars, chocolate treats that held special codes on their wrappers which were supposed to lead players to the last section of the game, but instead, were simply, “attached to a time function, so the amount of codes entered were just a function of time until the end,” according to Ryan, a TLE player. Codes that did work, however, were found on various web sites, in magazines and through advertisements, and those codes led to video snippets when, reassembled in the correct order, gave players answers about the TV show’s mythology, including the importance of “the numbers” within the context of the show. Overall, the experience was appreciated by the majority of its participants, but some felt that the interactivity waned in the latter stages of the game, leading to a drop in interest. There are rumors about another TLE installment to begin later this year, when the TV show takes a short hiatus in the U.S. and Canada, so keep your eyes and ears open if you are Lost fan.

ctw_comic2.jpgCatching The Wish, the sequel to Chasing The Wish that launched on May 24th, ended successfully on September 28th. As was the case with the original, the sequel focused on the theme of wishes and the consequences of having wishes granted. The end of the game was a bit confusing — players were unsure whether the game was ending or not — but very dramatic, as many of the web sites that were used for the purposes of the game have now reverted back to their initial states, before CTW1 came out. Will there be another CTW game in the near future? Start your wishing now.

Three “new” grassroots games have appeared lately to help to fill the void left behind by the two vacating campaigns, each launching in a very distinct manner. AV, which seemingly resurrected from the ashes of ARG folklore (originally started in April 2003), launched through an email sent to unFiction community members by Jochen Peiper, who just happens to be a dead historical figure. The game led players to a video which was described as “gruesome” for its potentially disturbing content, and since then, has existed primarily through emails and Instant Messaging chats. The game has a strong enough following, and we have recently added it to our What’s Hot scoreboard, so if you have a strong stomach and a penchant for gory horror films, this one may be right up your alley.

Sammeeeees, a game not afraid to use vowels liberally, had a unique launch on October 2nd when unFiction Inc. owner Sean Stacey received wooden jewelry boxes in the mail, each containing a message and a flower petal. As others helped out in trying to figure out what could be behind such mysterious gifts, the trail led to various blogs, message boards and Flickr galleries. Only a week into game play, this one looks to be a fan favorite and we will keep an eye on it from here to see where it goes.

The End is what we’re going to call the third new game to show up, which was launched on September 30th both through email and through a viral Digg entry. The trailhead site is heavy on the visuals and there are audio clips to be found as well. Rumors are connecting the game to the last installment of the Series of Unfortunate Events book series, but nothing has been officially confirmed by anyone yet.

So, add to that the fact that EDOC clothes are appearing on big name television shows, Cathy’s Book is hitting bookshelves (yes, I reserved my copy) and PICNIC ’06 and the Come Out And Play events were rousing successes (thanks for the multitude of articles, Sean, Marie & Brooke) and it’s been an intense few weeks in ARGland. Remember, if you have a game tip or suggestion, you can always contact us through the site (now with ARGtastic voicemail!).