Alternate Reality Games (ARGs for short) have been popping up everywhere.
But picture this, you come across a cool one, only to find out it’s over. Done. You missed everything. All you’re left with is second hand info and images if you’re lucky. It’s an unfortunate truth for many potential players.
Set times are a sort of staple in the genre. There’s a definitive start date and a definitive end. Events occur at set times and players don’t have the luxury of completing them once that time frame has passed. This isn’t a bad thing per say, just inconvenient to those players who start late. They don’t really get the full experience.
But, change may be on the horizon.
Dear readers, I would like to turn your attention toward a game known as the Black Watchmen.
Seems cool enough right? But what makes it such a game changer? (no pun intended.) The answer is right on the homepage. One word.
Yes, the Black Watchmen is a PARG not an ARG. And according to it’s creators, the first to be made. What exactly does this really entail ? What makes it different?
Well, The Black Watchmen homepage explains it like this:
“A Permanent Alternate Reality Game (PARG) uses the real world as its platform, blending a fictional narrative into real world locations and history. In a cross-media, immersive environment, players collaborate online to find virtual clues, solve puzzles and complete missions to advance the narrative. It can be played at any time and is not restricted to a short campaign like traditional ARGs”
In simpler terms, it’s an ARG with no set start or end times. With a PARG this issue of joining in late is virtually nonexistent. In the black watchmen a player starts their journey by downloading the game client. This still gives the game a solid beginning for the player to jump from while still allowing them the freedom to start whenever they desire. All without missing out.
I’m not saying this is the end all be all for ARGs, that this is the definite direction the genre should move in. There are perks to the old way. But the permanent concept is definitely worth exploring more.