Back in February, glimmers of an upcoming interactive media experience were hinted at by Javier Grillo-Marxauch, a writer for the worldwide hit television show Lost, who said, "I assure you, there will be a lot of official Lost-sanctioned internet action coming up." Ears perked up from all around the ARG community, where speculation about some of the official and unofficial sites springing up around the internet ran rampant.
Then in early April, the Official Lost Podcast echoed the earlier statement, with writers David Lindelof and Carlton Cuse stating, "We're involved in a project which is going to involve the internet that's going to start in May."
Today, ABC has officially announced that The Lost Experience will take place this summer. According to the AP article, "What is known about the challenge is that it includes the introduction of new characters and the mysterious Hanso Foundation. The first clue requires finding a toll-free number that will be released during the show or commercial breaks." There will be different clues depending on the viewers' geographical locations, including the UK, the USA, and Australia.
The Lost Experience is scheduled to kick off in early May during an episode of Lost. Stay alert!
Editor’s note: For those of you who played Art of the Heist last year, or who are currently enjoying Who Is Benjamin Stove?, you might already know about GMD Studios, the driving force behind some of the biggest Alternate Reality Games to date. Brian Clark, who co-founded the company in 1995, has become a valuable and active member of the ARG community. His energy and creativity have helped in taking the genre to new heights, and Dee Cook was lucky enough to sit down with Brian during the SXSW Interactive festival for a few words.
What is your favorite movie?
My favorite movie? Probably my favorite movie of all time would be Bladerunner. [Ed. Note: Possible spoilers for Bladerunner.]
The director’s cut or the original version?
Oh, definitely the director’s cut. No narration, no Mickey Spillane voice-over with the extra wrinkle that the Bladerunner’s a replicant (Oh, no, spoiler alert! Spoiler alert! I spoiled the movie!)
Did you see the narrated version first?
Do you think that made you appreciate the second one better?
No. I think once they took the voice-over out, it left more to speculation. Peoples’ motivations and machines’ motivations became less clear. We didn’t need to have Harrison Ford tell us about Rutger Hauer dying. We could just watch that scene and not have to say, “Maybe in the end he valued any life, even his own.” I think that the film company underestimated the intelligence of the film-going public.
I read somewhere that Harrison Ford said he did the narration badly deliberately so they’d have to cut it.
Really? That’s a great detail – a little sabotage.
True, but I don’t know whether it’s an urban myth or not.
Yeah, but it’s interesting.
Speaking today at South by Southwest Interactive was a panel on the Cluetrain Manifesto. Published in 1999, Cluetrain.com is a list of 95 points regarding companies, consumers, and the relationship between the two, asking companies to wake up and deal with their customers on a human level rather than treat them as potential sources of profit. The panel, moderated by Henry Copeland (founder of BlogAds, was a discussion of Cluetopia and whether society is getting there.
One of the original writers of Cluetrain, Doc Searls, spoke on the origin of the manifesto. In the midst of the Dotcom madness in 1998, the Cluetrain founders, as they would become known, were discussing the disconnect between what the internet actually was versus what was receiving funding and how the net was playing out in the press, as if it could be an extension of the shopping malls in the real world. The founders would use their theories on marketing in order to filter out clients whose philosophies didn’t mesh with their own; if the clients did not agree with the concept of marketing as a conversation, the founders would decline to work with them. The discussion turned into the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto, which was kicked off by Chris Locke’s statement from the everyday citizen’s point of view, “We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings – and our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it.”
This afternoon’s South by Southwest Interactive panel entitled Serious Games for Learning provided a fascinating look at how immersive gaming is bringing new opportunities into learning environments.
Moderator Jim Brazell from the IC^2 Institute opened the program with a reference to how quickly technology has developed in the last several years. In 1995 there was a Teraflop Challenge, asking supercomputer manufacturers to develop a computer which was capable of teraflop operations (one trillion operations per second). At that time, the cost to upgrade a computer to that capability cost $100 million. Today, the XBox 360 is teraflop-capable and has a MSRP of $299.99. He projects that by 2011, a teraflop computer will cost one dollar.
Danah Boyd moderated a panel consisting of Irina Shklovski, Amanda Williams, and Liz Lawley (stepping in for Jane McGonigal, who was home sick with pneumonia) entitled Designing for Global and Local Social Play this afternoon at South by Southwest Interactive. The panel focused on why play is important and how new technology enables us to collapse the boundaries between local and global play.
Danah brought up the idea that the internet allows people from all over the world to talk to each other. However, those people are connecting to each other by using shared ties, be they geographical groups or on a more social level, such as sharing interests. She likes to modify her environment in a way that allows her to have more fun with it. The environment in which one plays can change the way one interacts with others.
The word “play” has multiple meanings – first is the obvious, recreation and fun-time. It can also mean slop or wiggle room. The two meanings are linked, according to Amanda Williams. You can’t have the first without the second. Recreational play requires the flexibility to push boundaries.
Editor’s note: ARGN is proud to bring coverage of the SXSW Interactive festival taking place this weekend. Staff reporter Dee Cook will be attending the event and sending us reports as she gets them. Check this site often for updates on SXSW and the connections to Alternate Reality Gaming as they happen.
James Surowiecki is a business columnist for The New Yorker and has also written a book entitled The Wisdom of Crowds. In his solo panel today at South by Southwest Interactive, he discussed why large groups of people are smart and why we should trust them.
According to Surowiecki, large groups of people are remarkably intelligent under the right conditions, and their potential has been greatly enhanced in the last decade from the rise of technology – most notably the widespread use of the internet. He gave several examples as proof: in a jellybean contest the crowd as a whole will do better than individuals; at a racetrack the odds very closely resemble a horse’s actual performance; when you search Google, relevant pages are usually closer to the top of the results listed. All of these things are brought about by collective intelligence. It is a mistake, he argues, to rely solely upon experts, who don’t have a good grasp of where their weaknesses and blind spots lie (with the exception of bridge players and weather men).