Before I attempt to answer your question, I'll try and explain why it's a hard one to answer.
ARGs are mainly about discovery--therefore, it's extremely difficult to tell what the game will be about or even what gameplay will be like. As an example, check out the "trailhead" for the most recent ARG to start, Tom Tooman (Click Here for the link
). Not a lot of information there...just a slightly perplexing puzzle. Who knows what that game's about, who's behind it, or what the subject matter will be.
Even with something established like "The Dark Knight" project, there's a lot of uncertainty. The first phase of the game (IBelieveinHarveyDent) involved sending in email addresses to "unlock" pixels of the Joker. We learn the campaign is run by 42Entertainment, and get told to wait until December. Then nothing really happened until the ridiculously cool ComiCon event.
Now that the disclaimers are out of the way---
Check the News & Rumors Section
The best way to get what you're asking for is to frequently check the "News & Rumors" section for new games that seem interesting. Your mileage may vary on those games, but it's a way to guarantee small playing communities and "getting in on the ground floor". You can also check ARGN.com and the netcast for summaries.
Why So Serious / I Believe in Harvey Dent
From what we've seen, we're dealing with a very dark plot. Not much has happened so far (VERY easy to catch up), and there's the promise of much more in the coming months. Main disadvantage for you is there are/will be a bunch of players. However, it's proven to be highly interactive so far.
Again, this probably has a fairly large player-base since it was just linked on BoingBoing. MTV show has some frames with stuff that leads to websites...very low interaction (almost none), although the puzzles are accessible without being insulting. No real story yet, if any will develop at all. This is extremely dark / scary, but that's probably just a function of the show (cross between Punk'd and Scare Tactics)
Prophecy of the Stars
Smaller community, and this hasn't been around for as long as you'd imagine--there's a wiki to get you caught up (Click Here
) and the story seems fairly dark while fitting with your conspiracy / alien requests. From what you described, I'd assume this would be your best bet.
Here's some quick summaries of older stuff even though you'd rather shy away from them--as far as I can recall, all of these have rather extensive wikis to help catch up new players. The summaries might not be really accurate, but I'm sure somebody'll correct me if I'm too far off base.
-Halo Promotion, dealing with a bunch of the mythos' backstory
- JJ Abrams is doing something. With a movie. And there's a lot of speculation going on.
- Sequel to a very popular ARG from a while back with a rabid community of fans, there's this ancient ceremony of doom they're trying to stop
- Part mysticism, part politics, people from the present can communicate with a city 30 years in the future.
- Bunch of people are being killed by some guy they talk to online. Decent production value videos.
The Human Pet
- Real sicko has some guy kidnapped and makes players do puzzles/games for the guy's survival.
- Lovecraft goes cyberpunk as tech gurus start to have freaky dreams and get mailed strange packages.
- Uh, no clue. Probably something to do with Science?
If you really don't want to get into the longer running stuff, and none of the stuff I or others suggests catches your fancy, play the waiting game. It may take a few months for something right for you to show up, but there's been a lot of stuff coming out recently, so chances are good something will come along.
Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 3:17 am