Photo credit: James Hamilton
The hunt for a serial killer is nothing new in the world of alternate reality games. However when this experience is backed by a major broadcasting company, it invariably spills out of the computer screen and into the real world. The culprit in this case is the Showtime television seriesÂ Dexter. The show follows the life of Dexter Morgan, a forensic expert working for Miami PD who is a serial killer himself. In past years, Showtime has led into the new season ofÂ Dexter by setting upÂ aÂ Dexter-themed newsstandÂ parodying popular magazines, releasing a personalized faux-news report letting viewersÂ give friends the “Dexter treatment”, turning thirteen fountains across the country red with fake blood (with Philadelphia’s Love Park Fountain pictured above), and airing anÂ animated web series providing a look at some of Dexter’s first kills. This year, an alternate reality gameÂ will welcome in the new season of Dexter, which returns September 25th.
As we previously reported at ARGNet, a Dexter-themed SCVNGR mission at Comic-Con led players to a grisly kill room. The players of this experience joined the hunt through their contact, Dee Pratt, a former FBI agent. Her website, SerialHuntress.com, is the first introduction to the now infamous serial killer known as the â€˜Infinity Killer.â€™ Pratt’s interest in the case borders on obsession but that also translates to frequent updates via her YouTube account, SerialHuntress. In a true stroke of genius, she determined that harnessing collective intelligence would be the most effective way of tracking the killer down, and started her venture Justice By All, which also serves as the in-game forum area.
The technologies used for this game range from Facebook and Twitter to international phones that sometimes reveal vital information (but only if you are nice) and require cooperation of the player base to reach certain conclusions by the timelines imposed. The game’s developers have maintained a steady pace that allows everyone to be fully immersed in a cat-and-mouse thrill ride. All in-game characters have responded promptly to player requests, even the character that was supposedly in China, which helps maintain both interest and interaction.