Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lost's Alternate Reality Games: Let the Fun Begin Already!

For the last two summers, I’ve resisted getting caught up in the world of Lost alternate reality games. Two years ago, The Lost Experience catapulted to Lostpedia prominence, demanding intense brainpower from Lost viewers. As we all sweated through the hiatus—remember when four months from finale to premiere seemed like a long time?—some people were able to get their fix from the ARG. I was super-bored that summer, answering phones at a company that manufactures cable (coaxial, fiber optic…), but I just couldn’t get into The Lost Experience.

As I said before, TLE “required participants to basically turn internet-searching into a full-time job. There were phone calls and weird website passwords and decoding Navajo and binary code. At some point, you had to call in Marshall Flinkman for an assist.”

It seems obvious to me—and to Darlton—that people willing to take on the challenge of an intricate summer Lost project would probably tune in anyway. It’s fun for the die-hards.

Last year, I had similar trouble with Find 815, the second ARG. I kind of started trying to follow it, but I just couldn’t get into it.

This year, there’s another ARG—one that’s been talked about since the season finale introduced a commercial for Octagon Global Recruiting. With some stunts at Comic-Con, the ARG—the Dharma Initiative Recruiting Project—should have gotten off the ground.

But it’s been over a week since the last clue, and there are a lot of people (including me!) who are starting to get antsy.

Because I’m actually intrigued.

Like Angela on The Office, “I really enjoy being judged.” Tests, form-fillings-out, and the like are my life’s passion. I’ve chosen a career path that will likely involve lots of forms, and I’m quite content. And apparently, “over a number of weeks, you will undergo a series of tests scientifically designed to assess the most appropriate research role for your talents and abilities.” Watch, mine will come back and say that I am best qualified for a role as a form-completer. In the Lost world, I’d imagine that translates to Pearl duty.

My favorite all-Lost-all-the-time blog is DarkUFO’s, which has a whole section devoted to ARG clues. During Comic-Con, this site was aflutter with activity, with new posts, videos, clues, and mysteries flooding in. Since then, I’ve taken the necessary steps to sign myself up for the project, and there’s been zero activity.

A little break between tests gives everyone the opportunity to catch up and spend some time discussing and theorizing, but this is getting ridiculous. The last few ARG-related posts at Dark’s have just been nonsense. Even more nonsensical are the comments, where people take the opportunity to complain about the lag time, berate the nonsense of others’ theories, and do math.

It’s kind of gotten me thinking. These “games” aren’t just something fun to occupy the Lost world during hiatus. They’re practically a necessity. Lost brains in idle are dangerous.

I’ve taken the recruiting quiz over at DharmaWantsYou.com and I’m anxiously awaiting the next step (Volunteer Assessment!). My screen name over there is just plain “Caroline,” so look for me once this thing actually gets going.

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