Saturday, November 29, 2008

When New Was Old (ARGs and CCC)

ARGs, Alternate Reality Games, and CCC, Community Created Content. We sit down this week with long-time computer enthusiast and writer (from laser printers, to Word, to flight sims), and bigtime PC fanboy (i.e., not a Mac fan, oh, the horror!) turned TV reviewer (not the shows, the TVs), Alfred Poor (a.k.a., Uncle Alfred).

Well ok no we don't do that. This recounts two conversations I've had with him recently, one on a 34' boat, and one just two days ago on Thanksgiving. But you can imagine it was one thematic sit-down.

CCC: I was explaining Spore to Uncle Alfred, and he then told me part of the story of one of the early flight sims, Flight Simulator, which would later be bought by Microsoft. But even before the Microsoft purchase, there was a community of flight sim users who would create and share content: airplanes and airports. So, years before it became a big thing, CCC had already been out there, been tested, and succeeded.

ARGs: Somehow this holiday, The Beatles came up. Alfred recounted the whole "Paul is dead!" thing, and how he followed it. Lyrics that had been placed in reverse on a track (so, spin the vinyl backwards to hear the actual words). Various other lyrics that indicated that Paul was dead and had been replaced by someone named Billy Shears. Barefoot on the Abbey Road cover. A phone number in reverse in some album art, which he called and was told "Mr. Shears is not available."

It seems impossible to tell if it was intentional, or if the band realized fans were taking interpretation way too far and decided to run with it, but it all seems very ARG-like.