August 10, 2005

YA Game, Drama, Mystery from the Beeb

by Nick Montfort · , 1:17 am

“Jamie Kane is the new online adventure from It’s part game, part drama, part murder mystery…” The alternate reality game went live this weekend. You know, for kids. Mysteriously, some people have not been able to sign up for it. Unmysteriously, I’m not likely to have the time to try, but I’d be interested to know if anyone checks it out and wants to share their reaction – particularly those in the UK who can benefit from the mobile-phone-based aspects and the full alternation of reality.

Did you know that every time you launch an alternate reality game, God kills some luckless sucker?

5 Responses to “YA Game, Drama, Mystery from the Beeb”

  1. jill/txt » me and jamie kane Says:

    […] on it today, but I suspect Jess or someone else might send me another email tomorrow. (via GrandTextAuto) Filed under:networked literature — Jill @ […]

  2. Christy Dena Says:

    I haven’t played this revised version, but I played the beta version. I really enjoyed the ‘conversations’ with the characters — bots. They were well done, with appropriate responses (easy to achieve with teens putting in a bunch of symbols rather than words). I just found it hard to stay motivated to care about the supposed crime (which may be an age issue), so I didn’t finish it. Also (this may have changed in the final version), if you load a page out of order you lose access to the previous page. We had a bit of discussion about it at WRT.

  3. nick Says:

    I knew that TV announcement looked familiar … since I overlook giant flaming coffee cups stuck on the Grand Text Auto logo I guess it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that I missed the WRT conversation about the beta, which is definitely worth checking out. Particularly interesting is the discussion of bots collecting survey data, and the specific discussions of two boths and transcripts from interactions with them. The way the bots are embedded with other Web resources and media is also interesting – as seen in Online Caroline, I suppose, but here there are several characters to directly converse with.

    It does seem to be like the pressure to get the bottom of a mystery is at odds with bots not understanding or answering basic questions that are relevant to the game.

    CHRISTY> Good. Do you think David is dead and not Jamie?
    GRETA> oh poo. fing is Christy i was fibin wen i sed i wanted to chek yor membership detales. I need to ask yoo a favour.

    The Starship Titanic bots dealt with this by being malfunctioning robots disconnected from the reality – and there was also no obvious murder mystery to ask about. I didn’t think that was wildly effective, but I think I prefer it to injecting misspellings and jargon and then just ignoring the jaw-dropping, relevant questions that people ask.

  4. Christy Dena Says:

    I agree entirely. Isn’t being able to converse in-character one of the most important characteristics of a bot? Even the recent ‘Gamers Manifesto‘ that Jeremy pointed out has a plea for games to be designed so that we do actually solve mysteries:

    Why isn’t a there a spy game where we actually get to be a real spy rather than a hallway-roving kill machine? You know, where we actually have to talk to contacts and extract information and tap phones and piece together clues, a game full of exotic locales and deception and backstabbing and subplots? A game where a gun is used as often as a real spy would use it (that is, almost never)?

    Where’s the game where we play a salty Southern lawyer who has to piece together evidence to exonerate a black man falsely accused of murder, breaking down witnesses and spotting inconsistencies in testimony?

    Indeed, I was terribly disappointed with the Art Heist ARG because of this – I thought that I’d be having to employ art fraud skills, explore art history, read up on real art fraud and so on. This ARG is hugely successfully (but once again I didn’t have the time or inclination to keep up the effort to stay involved). But the lack of exploration of the themes really puts me off. I think that if I’m going to interact and be a sleuth of sorts, that I will have to know and do things that experts in the area being explored (art for example or murder) would do. It seems many games stop short of giving the interactor a ‘role’ or motivation and don’t persist the theme from there.

  5. WRT: Writer Response Theory » Blog Archive » Caught in the Headlights Says:

    […] olding my hand. Jamie and I were immersed in a conversation that last a few days, and then another joined in a few months after. Besides that, we’ve […]

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