I love poking at our bits of ARG received wisdom to see how well they hold up under fire. Can you have a great, immersive narrative without puzzles? Entirely on rails? Meant to be played alone and not in a community? Sometimes yes, sometimes not so much.
Along those lines, today I started wondering what it would be like to abandon TINAG entirely. And not just by stepping out from behind the curtain as a creator -- that ship sailed long ago. But we take it for granted that our characters and world must always behave as if they thought they were real. Imagine, if you will, aggressively fictional characters.
Steve Diddle and Martin Aggett got there first, of course, with his Fictional Online Rights for Characters Everywhere. Still, I feel like this is a mode it would be fun to really explore.
Imagine a character who won't simply admit to fictionality if pressed; imagine a villain who would chide you for giving up the hero's secrets. A character who says, "You seem to be having a hard time with this puzzle, why don't you try..."
Better yet, what if they performed more like actors in an elementary school play, offering up their own meta-commentary even as they read out their appointed lines? "Wait, why am I doing this? This is stupid."
I'm not sure it would be a trick that could sustain a particularly long story, and certainly one that wouldn't hold up to persistent use. But once or twice... that could be lots of fun, I think. I'll have to try it sometime.