This article is the first in a series, providing summaries of the panel presentations at ARGFest-o-Con 2008 in Boston.
The first panel discussion featured Evan Jones of Stitch Media as the moderator, Yomi Ayeni (Expanding Universe), Elan Lee (Fourth Wall Studios), Lance Weiler (Seize the Media), and Blair Erickson (Millions of Us). The panel explored the challenges and advantages that arise from cross-media productions.
Blair Erickson started the discussion with a description of an early project, an alternate reality game promoting World Wrestling Entertainment. Recognizing that a major draw of wrestling is the love of a fight, Erickson moved the rivalry between two wrestlers onto virtual worlds, with a game that played out over more than 100,000 threads, with players contributing in support of their favored athlete. The game culminated in Summer Slam, a pay-per-view match between the wrestlers. More recently, Millions of Us developed an ARG for the Sarah Connor Chronicles, which delved deep into the franchise’s mythology.
Yomi Ayeni discussed his work with Violette’s Dream, an ARG running as part of the upcoming video game, Velvet Assassin. The video game is based on the true story of a female soldier in World War II. The alternate reality portion of the game operates under the assumption that the game’s protagonist repurposed Nazi gold to help undercover agents in need. The aim was to make the game as real to life as possible: the first gold bar was found by former ARGNet writer Dee Cook in Fredericksburg, Texas, a town with deep historical ties to Germany. Ayeni described the project as a “fingerprintless” project that runs parallel to the video game.