The latest Escapist Magazine has a short article on the interactivity surrounding Nine Inch Nail’s latest masterpiece: Year Zero.
Those who don’t know WTF I’m talking about can take a look through these old posts or you can go here for the latest, a sighting of the mysterious force called ‘The Presence’ this time sighted over Minneapolis: http://www.hourofarrival.net/
Or you can dive headfirst into the maelstrom at ninwiki.com
The excitement surrounding Year Zero has died down since the album’s release in April, but it is picking up buzz again with the upcoming release of the Remix album. The second half of the Year Zero album is due out sometime next year.
The article in the Escapist (aside from calling Year Zero a “Dark and Noisy work”), defines the marketing campaign surrounding Year Zero as an ARG, short for Alternate Reality Game. The ‘game’ is free to play, and anyone with an Internet connection and some time (*lots* of time) can jump in and play. Clues are left in different formats in different places (e-mail, voice mail, websites, secret meetings in public places, secret codes left in plain sight…) but now-a-days, the internet is the perfect place for ARGs.
In the case of Year Zero, the ‘prize’ was a secret concert. You can read more about the Year Zero ARG here.
No doubt, the term ARG can be applied to other social events; from serial killers leaving clues for the police, or my sister and I trying to schedule a time to get together for lunch. We leave each other e-mail and voice mail clues as to when a good time and place would be, and try to ‘solve the puzzle’ as it were.
I’m hoping more artists and entertainers will generate this level of interactivity with their fans.