News from ARGN that an ARG (Alternate Reality Game), Jamie Kane, is currently being beta-tested. The game starts with the death of a popstar. The gameplay involves players interacting with characters through a forum, emails, phone and messenger. The character conversations through messenger are AI. I’ve signed up for the beta-test and have had a chat with a character named Jess. Here are some of my preliminary observations of the chat.
The conversation started off really well but then there were some weird answers. The character kept asking me questions about what I like, TV shows, movies and so on. This fits with the target demographic, teenagers, but I also felt that real conversations aren’t that one-sided. Who wants to know heaps about the other person and not be asked anything themselves? The questions, I assumed, were also an information gathering device.
I was also getting annoyed about the innane chat because I really wanted to get down to business — to figure out why the popstar, Jamie Kane, was dead. Jess just seemed to want to chat and gush over Jamie. I guess this matches the players — they would probably be interested in having a casual chat more than anything else. I also recognised that Jess got upset with me once when I asked again about Jamie. I was also warned that if I didn’t like Jamie she’d kick me off the forum. So, this is a indication of the boundaries, the rules of play. As you can see with the mini transcript below, I tried winning Jess over by playing a fan. I did this because I thought that would be the only way I could get info. But Jess ended the conversation and apparently we will catch up again tomorrow.
JESSICA> Aww, how cute! That’s cool. I was always driving my parentals mad by playing loud music - especially Jamie :D You into anyone else apart from Jamie K?
CHRISTY> No. What happened with Jamie?
JESSICA> Jamie Kane is the best by miles *swoon*! Anyway, Christy what did you like best about him?
CHRISTY> His cute smile.
JESSICA> Well, you know how I feel about him. Looks like we’ve got another massive fan here! Cool…
On the face of it, it seems that the messenger conversations will play a social function more than a plot one. With the other modes of forum and email playing a larger role due to control.
Sign up at the BBCi Jamie Kane beta site and let me know your observations on the bot techniques they use.