Images courtesy of No Mimes Media
Last week, I got a phone call from Felicia Day . . . and you can too.
It all started with an interview with No Mimes Media by Jenni Powell posted on Tubefilter, a news site dedicated to web television. While Tubefilter’s primary focus is web television, alternate reality games and transmedia tactics have been successfully utilized in the space since the early days of YouTube, when lonelygirl15 became one of the biggest breakaway hits for scripted web television.
In the article, Powell mentioned that she recently “had the pleasure to collaborate with No Mimes Media” on a project. And in response to Powell’s final interview question asking where someone could find an ARG to play, No Mimes Media cryptically replied that “you never know, a rabbithole might even be on this very page somewhere, if you look carefully enough!” Sure enough, below that comment was an advertisement for Webishades.
Webishades, it seems, are an amazing new form of sunglasses that let you watch web television on the go. The campy website behind the product fully embraces the aesthetic atrocity that typifies many infomercial pages, while featuring images of the cast and crew from popular web series donning the signature red sunglasses. By following a sequence of clues, players hop seamlessly across websites, email, Facebook, Twitter, and phone trees, punctuated by an automated call from Felicia Day herself.
This experience was highly reminiscent of another one of No Mimes Media’s projects, Mime Academy. Mime Academy was a comedic storytelling experience presented at ARGFest and South by Southwest that billed itself as a “10 Minute ARG” for its ability to tell a cohesive interactive story in a limited amount of time. Webishades succeeds admirably at replicating the condensed feeling of interactivity that made Mime Academy such a powerful exemplar for the potential of alternate reality games.