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posted Mar 27, 2015, 4:21 PM by Jacob Evans   [ updated Mar 27, 2015, 4:58 PM ]
Hey folks,

Not much news this week... update-wise, we've got two posts in the story section: First up, the intro to my main story, Activation, a science fiction tale involving the post-apocalypse, artificial intelligence, crazy survivalists, virtual reality, and a sort of cyberpunk WW1.

After that, we've got the first section of a short, episodic comedy piece called An Untimely Awakening -- The Very Late Richard Nixon Assassination Plot, whose title is perhaps somewhat more descriptive, wherein a seventy-some year old, cold-war-era soviet sleeper agent accidentally activates himself and sets out to assassinate an actor who bears a striking resemblance to the late Richard Nixon.

In other news: I'm still trying to get comments up and running... my old system was a sort of jury-rigged mix of spreadsheets and forms a helpful soul created for google sites. It was functional, but hard to scale and lacking many of the features a formal comment system would include, chiefly the ability to take the contents with me to a new site when I switch to a more permanent hosting solution. Back when I was preparing to relaunch I'd settled on Disqus (since damn near everyone uses them and because they'd recently created a (somewhat ugly) google 'gadget,' but it's being finicky now, so it might be a little while before you can leave feedback on most of the new content. But I am working on it.

Oh, and if, like me, you enjoy reading about/participating in ARGs, but have been kind of disappointed at the struggle small-scale, hobby-style games seem to have with drawing in and engaging an audience, keeping pace, and providing the kind of motivation large-scale, corporate-sponsored marketing ARGs manage to, then take a look at -- they're doing some very cool things in building a new sort of community-centric ARG, using the global support structure, and small-scale/personalized gaming group style of something like D&D. I write science fiction (including a story that involves something eerily similar to what they're trying to make) so I tend to dream a little big, but personally, it's my hope that this will create something new the way The Beast created modern ARGs. At the very least, they're doing something different, and that seems like a good first step when everyone else fails at something.

If you were confused by that last paragraph, and don't know what an ARG is, it's basically an online and in-real-life scavenger hunt with a story, often involving riddles, puzzles, and various kinds of technology. The big ones (Nine Inch Nail's Year One, iLoveBees, Portal's first ARG and their Potato Fools ARG) and of course, The Beast) all read like a sort of cyberpunk Indiana-Jones/ Da Vinchi Code-style action/archaeology serial with people racing to hunt down clues buried in lost technology or bizarre riddles (except there's thousands of protagonists all working together). If you'd like to read more about them, unforum is a good starting point.