Tag: head trauma

How Was Your Weekend?

weekend.jpgWhile the weekend represents quiet and solitude for many of you, alternate reality gaming does not stop for days of the week that begin with an S. We received a plethora of ARG tips, tidbits and updates through the past few days, and here are the highlights:

  • Lance Weiler, a recent guest on the ARG Netcast series, has written about Hope is Missing, the ARG that was created to promote the DVD release of his film Head Trauma. His article at The Workbook Project is chock full of details and statistics about the campaign, and is an excellent read for people finding themselves on either side of the Puppetmaster curtain.
  • This year marks the second time that the Trinity University’s Coates Library in San Antonio has run Blood on the Stacks, an alternate reality game that helps new students to get familiar with the school’s library. According to this entry at the SHU – Blogcause07 blog, “anecdotally the library and support staff reported feedback from students of feeling more familiar, less alien in the environment, the library was associated with fun and the staff were more approachable.” This appears to be yet another neat way that people are using ARGs to assist in a social environment.
  • Thanks to a press release we received, we know how survivors of a zombie-apocalypse will find each other — Last Day’s Journal. This is a project that began in 2005 at the hands of Superfreako Productions, a two-brother team that had the idea for a television show dedicated to the concept of a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested world.

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Stage6 wants to help you find Hope

Hope.jpgAlternate reality games that use kidnapping as a theme have been subject to varying amounts of controversy over the years. In November 2006, the adult-themed game The Human Pet was temporarily banned from YouTube for its fictional videos about a sadistic kidnapper. Last June, the CourtTV campaign “Save My Husband” faced a similar backlash after encouraging visitors from Cute Overload to help solve a kidnapping case. Now, a new ARG launched on Stage6 (part of the DivX network) is facing its own share of controversy.

San Francisco resident Hope Wilcott is missing. At least, that’s what visitors to Stage6 thought when a mysterious video appeared on the streaming video network’s front page on October 3rd. Posted by Richard Chambers, a user claiming to be Hope’s fiance, the two videos currently available follow Hope’s quest to find out what is wrong with her mother, and document her subsequent disappearance. The story continues to unfold at Richard’s Blogspot page at HopeIsMissing.Blogspot.com. According to Matt Staggs of Skullring.org, this campaign is run by Lance Weiler as a “Horror 2.0 ARG” serving to promote the DVD release of his film “Head Trauma”. The Head Trauma website notes the campaign will encompass “myspace, xbox, twitter, eyespot, stage 6 and opera” leading up to “live cinema games” in 10 cities on October 20th.[

Following a rather heated debate that took place within the video comments on Stage6, the producers edited the video tags to include “cinematic game” and “arg”. In addition, the header on Richard’s blog now prominently labels the project “an alternate reality game”. However, some video viewers continue to raise concerns that this makes light of real Missing Persons cases and the people affected by it. In a response to similar concerns regarding the Save My Husband campaign, Rachel at Behind the Buzz addresses this reaction as an issue of framing, noting “anyone with the slightest acquaintance with any entertainment, books, TV, films, plays etc know that dramatic situations like this are often used for entertainment. Looking at the top TV shows in the US, such as CSI or Law and Order, they use murder, kidnapping and worse as the premise for their entertainment.”

As long as the team behind “Hope is Missing” can find an acceptable compromise to viewer concerns, the game has the potential to be both successful and engaging if the videos are any indication of what to expect. Indeed, the changes that have already been implemented are likely sufficient to help Studio6 and the game producers weather any criticism sent their way.

So, while you keep your eyes peeled for Hope, remember to think twice before calling the police. After all, if Lonelygirl15 has taught us anything about the line between reality and fiction, it’s that the troubled girl in the weird video may very well be an actress from new Zealand looking to make a name for herself.

Click here for the discussion at UnFiction.
Click here to read more ARGNet coverage on the Head Trauma film.

“I’ll have some nachos–oh, and one creepy guy to follow me home, please.”

invitesm.jpgThe next time you’re at the theater, why don’t you bring home more than a bellyful of popcorn? The horror movie HEAD TRAUMA is promising to follow you out of the theater. Filmmaker Lance Weiler is calling this special, multimedia presentation of his film a “cinema ARG” and admits that he wants to “disturb” people.

The chills will unfold July 14th at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, NY as part of their week-long retrospective on horror films. Bring your cellphone–“This is one of the only films where you’ll be asked to keep your cell phone on during the screening,” says Weiler.