About two months back, I was watching the Conan O’Brien show on a whim, when I was treated to his story about hornymanatee.com. As Conan related to his audience, he had used the URL as part of a joke on a Monday night, but when the standards department of NBC got wind of the situation, things got complicated. Conan was told that if a web site URL is used on-air and doesn’t already exist, then NBC may be liable for the site’s content, which means that they must go out and purchase the URL themselves. So, in summary, NBC is the proud owner of a fake manatee porn site because of an ad-libbed joke.
As fans of alternate reality gaming already know, assets of any ARG must be secured before a game utilizes the asset in a live situation. If a game is going to use a particular email address, then the creative powers behind the game must secure that email address well in advance of the game being launched, and the same goes for web site URLs, phone numbers, addresses, and so on. At ARGFest 07 in San Francisco, Evan Jones commented about this type of situation, recounting a story about how a dot-com email address used in the ReGenesis show had originally been written into the script as a dot-ca address. A well-meaning editor thought “dot-com” sounded better and changed the script without notifying the extended reality creators. Fortunately for the creative team behind the ARG, the dot-com site was registered by someone on their team ahead of time, and everything worked out.
Fast forward to this week, in which a similar situation has unfolded.
It’s been a crazy month for the guys at Xenophile media. It started off back in March at the 10th Annual SXSW Interactive Awards when Occular Effect (The Fallen Alternate Reality Game) won the award in the Experimental category. But it was not about to stop there. The nominations were just beginning to roll in. Fallen was nominated for a Banff World Television Award and Regenesis was nominated for both an Interactive Emmy (pdf) and a CNMA Award. The CNMA and Banff World Television awards will be announced in the next few months, but last night the Interactive Emmy went to(pdf)… Xenophile Media for Regenesis Extended Reality Game!
Clearly, they’re going to need to build themselves a bigger trophy case. But the real question is, how are they ever going to get any work done with all this celebrating? We want more!
Congratulations are in order for Canadian production Xenophile Media as they captured the 2006 Gemini Award for Best Cross Platform Project at last week’s ceremonies in Toronto, Canada. Their ARG, the ReGenesis Extended Reality, won for the first time in the prize category, awarded to the “interactive project that best “enhances the users’ enjoyment of the television program/series through such platforms as mobile, the Web and other portable devices”,” according to a press release. ReGenesis is a Canadian bio-lab drama available in Canada and in syndication worldwide.
Shaftesbury Films, who produce the television series, has been forward-thinking in its attempts to connect to its audience, partnering with Xenophile to manage the alternate reality gaming model which has delivered real-time content that is directly related to the weekly series for both of the show’s seasons. In the second season’s Extended Reality, players were treated to hours of video clips which broadened the overall storyline of the show, and the show reciprocated (in a fine bit of pre-filmed trickery) by acknowledging the efforts of the players as they attempted to aid the scientists working at NorBAC labs in Ontario.
You can watch the Gemini awards gala will be broadcast on Canadian network Global on November 4th at 6:30 pm PST / 9:30 pm EST. The Gemini Industry Awards, which were awarded over a three night span, will be broadcast on Rogers Television in the Toronto area, so if you want to see the Xenophile folks accepting their awards, you’ll want to tune in on for the second of the three nights, dubbed the “Gemini Lifestyle, Children’s and Youth,” which will be shown at 6:00 pm EST on November 17th.
The ReGenesis extended-reality game found itself back in the mainstream spotlight two weeks ago when Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur interviewed Evan Jones, creative director of Xenophile Media, the force behind the Alternate Reality Game that runs concurrent with the television series. In the podcast interview, Jones outlined how the game works and talked with the hosts about ARG, the ‘collective effort’ and the interactivity of the game (as previously reported here). You can download the episode through iTunes or at the Inside the Net podcast website.
Inside the Net is part of the popular TWiT.tv network of audio and video podcasts. Laporte and MacArthur are both hosts of Call For Help, a regular television series on G4techTV in Canada and the How-To channel in Australia.
When ReGenesis hit the airwaves last year, people were not sure what to expect with the “extended reality” that was built for the show. After all, this was the first time that a Canadian-made television series had attempted to try anything as large in scale as an Internet-based companion adventure. The end result, to the delight of many fans, was an interesting and immersive experience that showcased the talents of the team at Xenophile Media, creators of the game. Tonight, season two of ReGenesis will debut on The Movie Network/Movie Central, and with it comes a new extended reality game. This season, the game will hit the ground running, starting with tonight’s episode. Players will be able to participate on many different levels, and the worldwide audience will have greater access to key game elements, making it more accessible to people who are unable to view the series on television.
ReGenesis, a well-received series being shown in Canada, has some exciting news for many, and some really exciting news for one person in particular. The big news for the masses is that the second season of ReGenesis is currently being filmed and will be ready for public consumption in 2006. With the sophomore season comes a brand new “extended reality” to compliment the story that takes place on-screen. While this is definitely great news for fans of the show, there’s more — one lucky Canadian is going to win the chance to have a walk-on role on the series! The folks at Xenophile Media have given players registered with the extended reality a chance to be flown in to Toronto and put on the set of the series. To enter, (1) be Canadian, and (2) go to the official contest website.
It seems that the fun just never stops with the hit Canadian television series. First, they debut the series on a prominent movie network and get people involved through its own ARG-style “extended reality”. Then, they re-run the series on a national network (and reset the extended reality for replay) during this fall TV season. Tack on the fact that they had one of the 10 most popular websites in a recent award show category, and one might say it was a pretty good year for ReGenesis and the team over at Xenophile. We hope that the second season is just as exciting as the first season was, and that the new extended reality brings in even more people to its wonderful world.