Last Call Poker

Looks like a new ARG running at Last Call Poker. The mood, writing voice, and even some of the font choices so far evoke rumours about who's responsible, but of course it's all speculation. It does seem to have a sort of... comfortable familiarity, though. Time will tell. :)

If it is a professional effort, I'm going to be keeping an eye out for the business model, as I'm sure will many others. My heart, though, is mostly in looking at some of the bold creative choices they're making out of the gate. For starters, it looks like they're starting to shed some of the established precedent around what is and isn't acceptable fodder under "suspension of disbelief."

I took particular notice of a fairly long (by ARG standards) block of narrative prose written in third-person omniscient. This is something I'm a bit surprised to see -- a block of prose about a character who isn't the narrator, but that outright states what that character is thinking and feeling. It's like a transplanted section of novel, and it'll be interesting to see how that plays out over the course of the story. Under traditional This Is Not a Game canon, you have to stick to a pretty rigidly-defined framework for *how* each piece of information reaches the player, for why each puzzle is set. Most communication is first-person, some second-person thrown in. Third-person begs the questions of: Who's telling me this, and why, and how do they KNOW all of this stuff? It may be that Last Call has an answer to these questions waiting in the wings, but I'm a lot more interested in the possibility that they're trying out something new.

If we've grown as a medium such that that kind of contrivance is no longer necessary, and throwing in some third-person narrative from time to time doesn't break suspension of disbelief, well, that throws the doors wide open for what you can and can't do in an ARG. Working within the narrow cell of plausibility is by far the most troublesome creative challenge of immersive storytelling. Now we just have to see if the audience is ready for that.

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