ARG Netcast, Episode 13: You Can’t Handle The Truth

argnetcast.jpgIn our last episode before migrating the netcasts to a shiny new web site, we reflect on the many, many emails we received in response to Episode 12. Episode 13 assembles the same panel as last week, which (in case you missed it) includes Jessica Price, Nicko Demeter, Jackie Kerr, Sean C. Stacey, Brooke Thompson and Jonathan Waite. Subscribe to the ARG Netcast feed through FeedBurner or via iTunes.

A Disclaimer, A Discussion
The views expressed in the ARG Netcast do not necessarily represent the views of ARGNet. The opinions offered in the ARG Netcast are those of the panelists, and should not be assumed to be factual reporting for the ARGNet web site. We discuss this for a bit, just to make sure we leave no stone unturned.

Game News

  • A new Nine Inch Nails game is out in the wild (starting at It may or may not be a 42 Entertainment game. Nicko has been playing and talks about what’s in the water. Head over to the Unfiction forums for discussion.
  • The Monster Hunter Club summary from molecularr has been published! Also, The Host movie screening was last Monday and included in-game character yumminess!
  • The Gumshoe interactive radio play has been postponed until Wednesday the 21st of February, due to inclement weather.
  • There’s a new game called The Wyoming Incident making waves at the UF forums. With 32 pages of threads so far, we’ll need some help from helpful listeners in sorting out the details for the next netcast.
  • The Vanishing Point post-game chat finally happened yesterday (Saturday), and Jessica was a moderator. She talks about the chat, and Rob from Neowin sends in a special message for the ARG community.
  • Lost Envelope is a new marketing campaign that Nicko has started… and finished playing, with less-than-awesome results.
  • MeiGeist had a live event in Bristol. At airtime there wasn’t much to report, but Russell_k at Unfiction sent us a link to his summary post. Thanks Russell_k!

ARGFest Update

Rose sent us a lot of information. We’ll reproduce here what we read in the netcast, but you don’t get the witty banter that comes with the spoken words.

1. Thanks to Brian Clark of GMD Studios for sponsoring the cost of the conference room at ARGFest. If not for him, I’m not sure how we would be doing the conference.

2. Thanks to ARGNet along with Gupfee for sponsoring the cost of lanyards and registration materials.

3. Register – please, please register. Rose needs to order breakfast and we need a reliable number of people. A continental breakfast will be served on Saturday before the conference starting around 8:00 am ( but knowing how hotels operate it may be a bit later.)

4. Cruel 2 B Kind – register and read the rules. We want to get at least 25 ARGers out there in the crowd. We are so fortunate that Jane McGonigal is going to be present to run this game for us. Afterwards, we can get some dinner at a place to be announced. Note: Jane is considering changing the location so check in with the website before you go.

5. Speakers – we are very lucky that 42 entertainment has offered to do a round table discussion on developing an ARG. The following list is pretty close to being final:

  • 8:00 Continental Breakfast at the hotel (included with registration)
  • 8:45 – 9:00 Introduction and start of Conference
  • Panel I ~ Developing an ARG
    Moderator: Sean Stacey
    Adrian Hon – ~ Perplex City
    Dave Szulborski ~ Urban Hunt; Catching the Wish
    labfly ~ Sameeeeeees
    Brian Clark ~ Art of the Heist, Who Is Benjamin Stove
    Evan Jones ~ ReGenesis
    Glenn Rubenstein ~Op Aphid
  • Panel II ~ Running an ARG
    Moderator: Kristen Wells
    Kristen Rutherford – one on one interactions with players
    Jackie Kerr – community relations
    Sam Lavigne – what people do and keeping them safe
  • Panel III ~ The whole picture: Roundtable discussion by 42 Entertainment – Team Leaders

Lunch break (on your own) Depending on the number of people we may be able to provide coffee, etc for the afternoon sessions.

Afternoon panels

  • Two-Focus Panel: Defining ARGs and the Future of ARGs
    Moderator – Jonathan Waite
    Sean Stacey, Unfiction – The Sphere of Chaotic Fiction
    Jane McGonigal
    Adrian Hon
    Brian Clark
    Evan Jones
  • Keynote Address: Sean Stewart and Elan Lee

6. Sunday: Exploratorium – to get a group rate we have to collect the cash on Friday and Saturday from everyone so EGo can pick up the tickets.

Listener Email and Comments

These are all in response to Episode 12. Apparently, we said some things.

  • Clairbennet06 didn’t like the tone in which we discussed the Lost Experience.
  • skenmy is put off by our lack of research and in how we labeled Perplexorum ‘suspicious’.
  • Rachel Wild thinks that we were ignorant and that our statements were rubbish.
  • marc commented that we were “incredibly wrong”.
  • Konamouse recommends reading Dave Szulborski’s “Through the Rabbit Hole”
  • Ben thinks that the netcasts are fantastic and would want to hear views from various PMs, something we’re working towards for a near-future netcast
  • Adam Brackin of Deus City wrote in with their side of the story, letting us know how wrong we were. He indicated that DC is a role-playing game and that they have changed the TOS agreement to reflect the changes in policy that this situation has brought on.

Contact us at our special netcast email address, [email protected] with your tips, suggestions, concerns and submissions. Call us on our ARGNet voicemail at 630-274-5425.


  1. Dave

    Geez. You spend a LOT of time justifying yourselves. Take a cue from journalists – you are the ones who control what is published – you only have to publish the letters to the editor, you don’t have to and shouldn’t actually respond directly to them.

  2. KGBrAm

    The disclaimers added to the netcast go a long way to make things easier to understand for the people who might be listening in without the history or background of the ARGN Pannel.

    thank you for that.

  3. European Chris

    And you can’t pronounce babel correctly.

    I thought some of the letters you read out missed the point about netcast 12 re perplexcity. You didn’t say anything about Perplexorum nor did you not congratulate Andy for finding the cube.

    The trouble I had with it was that you couldn’t find anything positive to say about Perplex City in the week it ended and gave a player £100,000. It was all very negative and you were so mealy-mouthed you didn’t just come out and say you didn’t like the game. Man up!

  4. anonymous

    Wow, last week it was insult the PMs, this week its insult all the players who disagree with you “authorities” (I can’t believe you actually said it was your opinion and then stated that you are authorities)

    If you truly believe what you say about this all being your opinion then why not simply make your disclaimer and then go on with your show? Its insulting to the listeners to hear your sarcastic remarks for an hour.

    You have every right to have your opinions but don’t take yourselves so seriously to refuse to publish a dissenting one.

    I for one would have liked to have heard Brackin’s response in its entirety. I’ve been playing DC and have sent suggestions and bugs, they’ve always responded and they’ve always been very helpful. But I suppose that people might form their own opinions, and *gasp* decide that you are wrong.

    And I don’t care what your opinions are, if you post something that is untrue (or even perceived untrue), then you have a responsibility to apologize.

    Also a quick look on shows that both pronunciations of “babel” are correct. So much for your “research”

    You guys are a joke.

  5. MannyReasons
    Note the pronunciations please.

  6. vpisteve

    What, that both pronunciations are correct??
    Note the pronunciations please.

    Posted by: MannyReasons at February 19, 2007 4:55 PM

  7. Pixie

    Dear Anonymous – nice to see you own up to your comments. I have always felt if I was right, or I was wrong, I should at least have the balls to admit it was me.

    As for Brackin’s full letter – did you hear them say how long it was? Also, before they could publish something like that on the ARGN site, perhaps they would need permission.

    I for one am glad they are moving the cast to their own site, if nothing else to keep people from confusing opinions with news {however, how that could have been confused here, I never understood}.

    I do guess I need to go back and re-listen however, since i was in the car listening to the netcast on headphones from my way too quiet laptop – I thought they said it was their opinions and they were not the authorities.

  8. Nicko

    Dear KGBrAm,

    To make it official: I really really liked the PerplexCity ARG. God knows, my bank account didn’t but I rather enjoyed it.

  9. Larry Eisner (Dorkmaster)

    I liked the netcast and have liked the netcasts to this point.

    While I am likely biased for my previously writing for ARGNet (and ARGN before that), I have this to say:

    1) You guys and gals on the panel are a little smug. But that’s not a bad thing. I listen to the netcast for the opinion, as I know I tend to get more fact-based stuff on the online-print-version (whatever that’s called… text?) 🙂

    The point there, is that opinion does indeed involve offending some and bolstering others. Some will share that opinion and some will not.

    Mind you, I do tend to think you guys (at least sound like you sometimes) take stuff too personally as you sound a little heated when talking about some of the notes… (and I understand it’s frusturating when people just “don’t get it” but still, they’re your readership…) But the point is that no one is forcing anyone to listen. If you don’t like the views of the netcasters, don’t listen!

    2) In terms of the whole “authorities” thing. You know what? I’m going to say that, yes. THESE PEOPLE WHO WRITE FOR THIS SITE ARE AUTHORITIES ON ARGS. Do they know everything? No. Do they claim to know everything? No.

    However, they know more than most lay-ARGers, and most have participated in more Behind-The-Scenes work, as puppetmasters, or as support for puppetmasters, or working directly for ARG companies/promotions/etc… that they know the ins and outs of the industry. ARGNet staff has more contact with the people producing the games you and i love (and hate) than most of you reading. That’s the deal. Journalists tend to get that inside info/contact more frequently.

    Have they claimed to be superior human beings because of this? NO WAY. If they do, let me know, and I’ll personally smack them down 🙂

    But seriously, I think they have the right to claim “Authority” in the subject. No one has reported on ARGs longer, more consistently, and with a true care to how the information is presented (quality, with respect to the work and readership) throughout both Jonathan Waite’s leadership as well as back when Steve Peters ran

    3) Finally, in terms of the difference (touched upon in #1) between the text version of ARGNet and the netcasts, I simply submit to you this:

    Listen to ANY online publication’s netcast (that is done with more professionalism than someone’s personal blog), and you will find similar content, nine times out of ten. That is because the podcast/netcast format is generally more informal, more discussion-based (because of the format’s ability to allow that kind of immediate discussion), and therefore more open to opinion than other formats. I love this dichotomy between the more “news-based” text editions, and the more opinion-based audio edition.

    I think everyone on staff will say (whether or not they thought it was their type of game or not) that PerplexCity was done well considering it was the first game of it’s type, scope and form. However, with that said, it’s kind of the “authorities'” duty to say what they would do differently, and what they found satisfying and not. They obviously liked the game, had many weeks of discussion (including a puzzle of the week) of the game, and it’s ups and downs. However, they felt this endgame was awesome for Rand0m, and badly performed by Mind Candy. They have a right to say that. I don’t think it’s dissing MC in general, just the way they did that one hint kinda leaky-thing…

    Point being, industry standard (for gaming netcasts, at least) is that the format is generally the same: text is more news-based, unless listed as opinion, and audio casts (be you of camp ‘net’ or be you of camp ‘pod’) are more opinion and disussion oriented.

    ARGNet has done this wonderfully.

    My only complaints are the audio quality (although I know it’s simply that there’s really no budget for this type of thing, and that it’s very ad-hoc and volunteer-based, so it’s acceptable 🙂 And that I never got a chance to participate prior to my departure.

    I love you all (players and readers included), and lest we not forget, I was super-psyched about Deus City before it came out, and with the initial pre-game (as we all kind of were). So um… yeah. That.

    Keep on keeping on, ARGNETCASTSTUFFZEN!

  10. Lovek

    Maybe consider bringing on a different guest each week who is not considered an “authority”?

    Someone who wouldn’t mind speaking his/her mind even if the experts on the subject matter disagree? (For example, probably not me)

    I’m just saying. if you have someone on the netcast that wrote some of those angry letters, it’d sure be hard to say “both sides” aren’t being accurately portrayed.

  11. konamouse

    Just listened to the first 20 minutes while on my walk and looked funny making my comments outloud as I’m strolling down the street (waving my arms sometimes). I have an opinion and I’m going to share it here.

    4orty2wo has not “recreated” _The Beast_ in every game. In fact, in the past three years, have they ever done the same game model twice? There seems to be something different each time. Nothing in ILB was like LCP, and VPG was not _The Beast_ but we still enjoyed it. But I agree with the panel – 42 respects their audience.

    And let us not forget Dave S’s great works. For those who prefer a more traditional _The Beast_ model, his grassroots efforts have brought many new kids into the ARGverse. He (and his teams) also have great respect for the players. Jas0n and Labfly did the same thing this fall with _Ny Takma_ and _Sammeeeees_. Maybe similar models but different deliveries. And good relationships with their player base. We, as players, felt comfortable trusting these PMs. That is what helps to make a good game. And that is why I was terribly disappointed with _TownshipHeights_ and will not trust Virtuquest enough to play any of their games again.

    Now, I’m saying this as someone who did not see _The Game_ nor play _The Beast_; although I am familiar with the premise of both and use them to explain to friends & family why I’m answering strange phone calls or dragging my husband out into the desert to an old cemetery to take pictures.

    We’re past the infant stage of ARGs and moving into the toddler years. Parents can relate to this analogy: The constant “no no” and “why” from both adults and their children; exploration; mistakes; poopy pants; the thrill of discovery; “ooooohhhh”; and such wonderful memories that can be kept in archives, videos, photos, but never “recreated”.

    I, for one, appreciate this talk-show-chat group and look forward to agreeing & disagreeing with their opinions. Sometimes I want to join the conversation (even though it is days after the fact). And that makes a good net/podcast – it makes you think, have your own opinions, and get your own creative juices flowing. If it was just a fluff piece every week, would we still tune in? No way, too boring.

    Hmmm, this turned out longer than I expected, maybe should have done an email instead 🙂

    ‘squeek’ (my personal catchphrase).

    P.S. Jackie, you should say “ruh roh” this week. Jessica can say “blessings”. I’ll think about the others later.

  12. Jessica

    Thanks, Kona, but I think “blessings” is a little too New-Agey for me. 😉 But it’s a good start…

  13. Lou

    Keep on keepin’ on, folks. While I don’t agree with every opinion the panel presents, I tune in every week because I enjoy the discourse.

    Please people, relax! Quit taking things too seriously. Everyone has the right to their opinion, especially when publishing a talk show-type podcast.

    But of course, I’m an unabashed ARGN fanboy. Especially that Jon Waite guy. He’s sexy.