Doug Rushkoff’s New Alternate Reality Game

Douglas Rushkoff, longtime friend and collaborator of disinformation, writes about his new videogame Exoriare at BoingBoing:

I’ve written and even taught a whole lot about interactive narrative over the years, but rarely have the chance to play with this stuff. So last year, when a Canadian games company called to see if I’d be interested in collaborating with them on developing stories for a giant, multi-dimensional gaming universe, I jumped. It was like I was being given the chance to live out Jack Kirby’s dream of world-building with Robert Anton Wilson’s vision of multiple and overlapping perspectives.

The early results are finally making it online as the preview of a graphic novel, which spills out into the trailhead of at least one Alternate Reality Game, and also comprises the back story of the coming videogame series. This is a big big universe – a giant war for the future of humanity, of course – with maybe one overall timeline but many different pathways through the material. So people might follow my characters through a series of graphic novels, and learn something about them that they can then use in the games, or an artifact they find in the game might help them decode something in the comics. And even the ARG that people are beginning to play right now – through which they are “finding the others,” and forging coalitions with other gamers in their own parts of the world to solve certain challenges – is a set-up for the bigger game, where these larger groups will be responsible for various aspects of the coming war.

The object of the game right now is for the players to build the “Darknet,” an alternative network through which a global resistance can operate, and people can begin to piece together why NASA scientists are being rounded up and what the hell happened over the skies in Los Angeles…

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  • Joe

    This sounds brilliant. Lets distract ourselves from actual reality and the murders of all the bio-weapons experts all over the world. Lets form a 'global resistance' as part of this game, no need to do that sort of thing in real life.

    What a shame that such an intelligent, brilliant guy would be involved in subverting our minds to this pointless pursuit of saving an imagined world.

    • Tillinghast

      Lighten up, for fucks sake…geez.

  • dizzy

    did you ever think that maybe 'reality' is encoded in the game and that the building of the 'darknet' might in actuality be a way for subversive groups to gather and discuss the moves needed to save the human race from bio weapons experts and murderers. Just a thought. Not to mention if you go through your life with such a serious demeanor with no joy at all, whats the point? I think douglas has done more for humanity than most Nobel peace winners and if he wants to take a break and make a game, who are we to lecture him? People are going to play these games whether we like it or not, so why not subversively teach them the wicked ways of the world without them even knowing it? Expose people to words and concepts that wouldn't normally occur in their world. Just a thought. Testament ( a comic book put out by Vertigo comics written by rushkoff) is a perfect example of subversive literature hidden in a main stream outlet that isnt taken seriously by a majority of people. And yet the ideas expressed in these pages can be mind altering material. Not everything has to be deadly serious, especially when that mindset is one of the reasons we are all in the predicament we are in today…

  • Tillinghast

    Lighten up, for fucks sake…geez.

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