Sunday, May 11, 2008

More on We Tell Stories - or how I lost most of my weekend

Friday afternoon - I want to break up some work thinking, so I decide to check out the second story from We Tell Stories. In livejournal and twitter format, this one drew me in more than the first. The ending is quite a cliffhanger and the comments left by others were full of surprise and dismay - what had happened? where had the characters gone? could they be "brought back"?

I needed to know more. So I started by doing a quick search for details on the story, maybe there was more on a site I hadn't found yet. I found the Unfiction forum for the ARG and was sucked in.

Now, I'm coming to this a bit over a month past when the second story was unfolding. When I got to the forum, there were over 80 pages of discussion. And I started reading it all.

As players posted links to "cloos" and secondary info sites, I followed. I picked up some of the obvious leads. The Google searches and library culling for backstory info I left to those living the moments. For those who are interested, but not ready to read 84 pages of dialogue plus all the ancillary pages, there's a Wiki built to summarize it all.

Most of this deals with the 7th story, which I soooooo over-simplified in my previous post. What I had found at that point was the most obvious tip of a very large iceberg. The game unfolds across the 6 "official" stories - with clues interspersed. And it even crosses into the Real-World with meetups with key characters, where players exchanged hand-made gifts for artifacts containing clues - and a clue hunt at Penguin UK headquarters - and there's a live chat session at the culmination of the game - which was actually just this past Thursday.

Parts of story 7 get deep into a card game and I was never good at holding card point values, potential winning solutions, and all those sorts of things in my head. Smile and nod, Aprille, smile and nod. In other parts, the players are asked to submit stories to a wiki page that will give one character clues on what he needs to do next - quite some good work, there, and quickly done. Talented folk, these players.

All in all, it was quite fun, and just like the players were writing as I finally caught up to them when the game was declared "done", I was a bit sad to see it go. Although it is a brilliant day outside, and my garden deserves some attention.

My favorite bits come from story 7
  • First, from the Caterpillar - "We are playing neither chess nor cards. We are telling a story. A story that is a game, a game that is a story. Games have many rules and stories… have fewer."
  • Second, from a villain, Dr Doom - "stories aren’t just in books, not anymore. They’re everywhere. And the walls between stories and reality are getting thinner and thinner." - Love it.

PS - in the course of this, I found some discussion saying the wiki novel I mentioned last time was considered quite a flop, no rules led to chaos, I guess. I'll check that out another day.

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