Until a few months ago, I was completely unaware that there existed Alternate Reality Games (ARGs). These aren’t virtual reality games like World of Warcraft where all your actions are guided through an avatar. In an Alternate Reality Game, the player plays herself, and behaves as if the events specified in the game actually happened.
Here’s a better description of Alternate Reality Games: http://www.giantmice.com/arg-quickstart/
Perhaps some of you know that I’m an enthusiastic Esperantist. This statement will generate one of two responses from most people I meet:
1. What’s an Esperantist?
2. Why the hell do you speak a dead language? What’s wrong with English as a lingua franca?
My response to the first question is bound to be longwinded and pedantic, so it’s best that I simply refer you to the appropriate Wikipedia entries. But the rest of this blog entry will probably obviate the answer, so hang in there.
My response to the second question is to assume that you’re one of those ugly Americans who have been bamboozled into thinking that everybody else in the universe really does understand English provided that you speak it slow and loud enough. After all, if English was good enough for the Prophet Amos and the Apostle Paul, then it’s good enough for you, right? Far be it from me to disabuse you of your delusion. Feel free to think of me as a naive altruist, then go away.
In early April, another esperantist pointed me to an ARG called Trovu la Ringon Perditan. (Find the Lost Ring.) I started exploring the game and quickly decided that I could easily lose myself in it, and I already obsess on far too many things, so I put it aside.
The game uses Esperanto as it was intended, a universal bridge language between cultures. Apocryphal stories suggest that this game is responsible for many people starting online Esperanto classes, so I have a duty to support it.
Then other acquaintances started sending me links to the game.
You know what it’s like when you’re sitting in your office and somebody walks in and says, “Hey! Pelita brought doughnuts! Get ’em while they’re still warm!”
And you think to yourself, “I’ll be good. No doughnuts for me. I am strong. I can resist.” So you tell the person “Thank you!” and go back to work.
Then another person informs you of the doughnuts. But you remain steadfast. Doughnuts are evil! You’ll have to bicycle for days in order to burn off all those calories!
Then somebody brings you a doughnut and puts it on your desk.