Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Mild psychosis

Two new alternate reality games (ARGs) have emerged this month. This collaborative, distributed, cybertextual genre continues.
A note about ARG evolution: ILoveBees looks like it's part of Microsoft's marketing strategy for the new Halo game. And last week The Beast's writer, Sean Stewart, posted a description of his experience under the Microsoft banner. To what degree is ARGing becoming a marketing tool?
The game was freaking pastiche Armageddon: It started from a Spielberg script inflected with Kubrick notions from a Brian Aldiss short story with echoes of Dune and Clockwork Orange, for God's sake. Political tracts. Corporate boasting. Sex-kitten catalogues. Mysterious Oriental Gentlemen. Wistful midlife crises. Suicide notes. Gibsonian cyberpunk. I stole or hot-wired or tweaked up Shakespeare and John Donne and Tim O'Brien, Ovid and Iain Banks and Puccini and Bladerunner. (The A.I. Web Game)

Oblomovka: The secret origins of AOL, Pixar, LucasArts Games and MMORPGs in general. This stuff already sounds like people reminiscing about the golden age of silent movies, even though it was just 1985.
A posting by Andrew Kirmse in Orkut's Lucas Valley High community (a group for current and former LucasArts and Lucasfilm Games people) expressed interest in the history of how Habitat came to be. I started to compose a response and then realized that this would probably be interesting to a wider audience than our little ghetto on Orkut, so I decided to publish it here instead. It also ended up being rather longer than I had counted on. Some of this may be a little rambling, but history is like that.


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