Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the NOT lost ARG

Okay so what's the big deal? Why am I bothering these guys? It's the principle of the thing. There's no policing on the Web when it comes to ARGs cuz there's no organization with any legitimate clout that'd bother to enforce anything, and there's no laws against playing ARGs nor should there be, but it's easy for the unenlightened and gullible to be taken in unless someone goes around and blows the whistle. Granted, the guys behind this thing could be completely innocuous and well-intentioned. However, they could also be fiendishly clever and selfishly arrogant.

We have no way of knowing. So many are assuming it's the real thing until proven otherwise, when everyone on the Internet should be thinking precisely the opposite way - take as a given something is not what it claims to be unless you can get confirmation.

What am I talking about? Well last night in Twitter I happened upon some other Tweeple talking about "#TheLostARG" of 2009 which pretends to be the sequel to 2006's The Lost Experience and other less impressive Official attempts by people behind the television series Lost to bring the excitement and storytelling of the series out beyond the confines of conventional television. I was a big fan of The Lost Experience. I even started a petition to get TLE's own Rachel Blake (aka Jamie Silberhartz) a special guest appearance on the TV series itself. Of course, that never beared fruit but you can't hate a guy for trying.

So now there's a handful of Twitter accounts involving people posting Tweets that seem cryptic and vaguely referential to the tv series and a lot of other Tweeple are gobbling this up, presuming without investigating further that this is the new Lost ARG (Alternative Reality Game in case you didn't know). I posted the following to a self-titled "Lost ARG Blog" voicing my dissention to the idea of people "taking sides" or accepting candidacy for a bunch of boys who cried wolf:

PLEASE prove me wrong! I WANT to eat crow on this. The only remote proof I've seen is the youtube account, and that can be faked or hacked. Faked would mean someone inside YouTube itself mighta helped. Not out of the question. Hacked is more likely. They had three years to guess the password.

This is of course an ARG of some sort. People are working up puzzles for others to solve. Theree is NOTHING wrong with that and I applaud it. Perhaps this started as a grass roots thing with a half dozen or so friends and has taken on a life of its own.

I take umbrage w/the fact these guys are passing themselves off as THE LOST ARG when there's no concrete evidence supporting it. Using the Lost trademark w/o any proof is bad form. We have heard nothing from Bad Robot, Hi-ReS!, ABC, Channel 4 in the UK, and of course Lindeloff and Cuse are completely silent. If this were an actual Official Lost ARG, there would be no question. We'd know by now. These guys are using the brand without permission, because otherwise they wouldn't hide the fact. Their silence proves their guilt. There's no pleading the fifth in ARGs.

If they wanted to play with Egyptian hieroglyphs and Morse code and constellations, they didn't have to use the word LOST. They coulda called it anything else. It's bad enough we're not getting anything official from Bad Robot on this for this last season. To see a fanwanking facsimile trying to pass itself off as something professional and official? It's an insult to our intelligence and I'm appalled so many are going along with it.

Please prove me wrong. I WANT to eat crow on this. We need formal confirmation from Bad Robot, or they need to change the name of their little game and stop passing themselves off as THE Lost ARG when they're clearly not.

"So what?" You say. So these guys are posing as a real ARG when they're just fans having fun.? Why make a big deal out of it? You're right, I'd be an idiot to rain on their parade and steal their thunder, IF in fact they're totally harmless. I'm 100% it if they're totally harmless, provided they stop calling themselves THE LOST ARG when they're clearly not.

What if they're not harmless? What if they say they're harmless, but somewhere down the road they introduce a website and tell visitors that if they want to learn more about The Secrets of the Island, they have to fill out a form that gives the people behind this faux ARG personal information? There's already talk of people trying to figure out passwords for accounts. Were this an official project, that kinda thing would be off limits. You never reveal your password to strangers. That's standard protocol online, yet so many people think such standards don't apply to them. There's always exceptions to such rules, and online predators take advantage of such misinformation.

If they're just asking for names and Twitter passwords, that's relatively tame. No permanent damage. What if they ask for addresses? phone numbers? email account passwords? Social security numbers? Credit card information? Okay, maybe you're smart enough to not give them anything like that, but not everyone is as smart as you. Some people would go for it, and a phreak only needs one bank account to wipe clean, and then they've made a profit on the resources it took them to put the whole scam together in the first place.

I am under no illusions that people will listen to me. Most of them won't. I'm a voice crying in the wilderness. I have no power or resources nor have I any way to stop these guys, but if just one person listens to me and thinks twice before they give personal information somewhere down the way, then maybe I've made some small difference.

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