Editor’s note: This article deals with the television show Heroes. If you are not up to date with the most recent episode, and you don’t want to be spoiled by details, you may want to turn back now.
So there I was, watching Heroes on NBC tonight, when I saw a commercial about Rachel. Rachel, as the ad told me, somehow survived the explosion at Pinehearst that marked the end of ‘volume three’ or the series. As curious people often do, I headed over to the Heroes web site at NBC to see what the deal was, hoping for a return to what was formerly known as Heroes 360, which became Heroes Evolutions. I had not had the opportunity to play along with the original experience, and as I’m still a huge Heroes fan, I thought that now would be a good time to jump back into the ARG. While what I found wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, it’s still a pretty cool experience for fans of the show.
Enter the iStory titled The Private. Described on the web site as an “ongoing, interactive story,” players will be given the chance to play along with the choose-your-own-adventure style narrative, as the choices they make will determine the outcome of the story and its characters. This appears to be a game that players can jump into at any time, as all new players start at the first “book” of the series, and progress can be saved in the player profile.
I had a chance to play through the first story tonight — there have been four published to date — and was impressed by both the narrative and the artwork. Within the story, there was a Morse Code puzzle, and while the choices were few and far between, there’s a great deal of potential here for future chapters of the story. Combine this aspect of the Evolutions experience with a web series called The Recruit, a series of graphic novels and season walkthroughs and it appears to be a robust expansion of the universe laid out within the boundaries of the weekly hour-long action show. Again, it may not be the type of interaction the typical ARG player might expect, but it deserves a second (and third, and fourth…) look from anyone who wants to more about Hiro, Peter and Claire the cheerleader.