Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada

ARG Questions

1. The ARG #NOFILTER is a great example of how ARGs can function satirically — not an alternate reality so much as an amplified one, weaving in a supernatural narrative but mostly concerned with pointing out the absurdity of contemporary online habits. How else might ARGs and “gamification” in general be used as a tool to encourage self-awareness and thoughtful appraisal of one’s life in ways that other media cannot?

2. The Motherboard article on the Jejune Institute asks whether this ARG is more like a cult than a game. This question makes me think of our discussion about Why So Serious, and the fearful reaction seeing hordes of (mostly) men taking to the streets after being riled up on the internet. Going off of some of the discussions we’ve been having all semester around the ethics of future cinema practices, what are some of the ethical considerations that should be taken into account when designing ARGs? What are the potentials for damaging or dangerous outcomes? How can players discern if they are participating in the creation of a malicious alternative reality, when it is so often hard to see the entirety of its network when you’re in the midst of it?

3. There seems to be a growth from the earlier ARGs discussed in the Kim et al article, to those discussed on ARG Net. The ARGs that Kim et al deal with are all tied to larger properties, used to create multi-layered narratives but also as immersive advertising campaigns (as they say in their conclusion: “Currently, ARGs are dominated by their marketing purpose and tightly linked to product release. The pace and flow are tied to the product release, and data capture is only intended to guide the team of storymasters as hype reaches a critical stage. Researchers need to work with designers or create their own games to capture full sets of usable data.”) In contrast, it seems that some of the more contemporary ARGs we see on ARG net are less likely to be tied to existing narratives–like BeeMe or Tessera–and more likely to be tied to immersive theatre practices or educational takeaways. Does this indicate that ARGs have taken the opposite trajectory of many “alternative” media practices– from the mainstream to the margins, so to speak? Or does this blog just use a much looser definition of ARG than Kim et al?

4. What do we think of Jeff Hull’s assertion that “You can describe anything as a game. A court of law is a game. An election cycle is a game. Life itself is a game” and that Jejune institute is instead an “experience”? He goes on to say: “So if we can create a new story, through real-world narrative experiences, then we are creating reality…” in reference to the new Jejune ARG. Do we think that this is true, or even possible? Could an ARG, like an AI, become so good that it is indistinguishable from reality?

Wed, November 21 2018 » Future Cinema