Category Archives: Alternate Reality Game

Augmented Reality Games, Interactive Narrative and the Documentary TV Series Hellier

Augmented Reality Games, Interactive Narrative and the Documentary TV Series Hellier Preview of presentation to be given by David Sweeney (@dktrdm Twitter), The Glasgow School of Art Fri, August 6, 2021 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM PDT https://interactivefilm.blogspot.com/2021/07/augmented-reality-games-interactive.html Interactive Film and Media Conference 2021 Panel 5. Players in Interactive Films and Games About this event This virtual edition of the Interactive Film and Media conference on ‘new narratives, racialization, global crises, and social engagement’ is dedicated to the development, analysis, and research processing of the digital experience that is transforming our contemporary world vision through the immense range of storytelling practices, including visual arts, cinema, digital/graphic/interactive narratives, virtual reality, and games. The purpose of this conference is to bring together researchers and practitioners working in diverse disciplinary areas to establish an interdisciplinary framework for research on contemporary narratives, including case studies of the multimodal narratives across media and cultures. The conference will convene entirely online and will be hosted by several universities. The organizers believe that now is the right moment to evaluate the saturation and fragmentation of media during the pandemic experience of the last year, as well as to discuss new online media interactivities in a virtual environment. FREE ZOOM PRESENTATION, REGISTER HERE

We the Sheeple: Episode 13: Ong’s Hat

We the Sheeple

Hats are neat. Where would a high-class Kentucky woman be on derby day with out her hat? How many fly ball would outfielders have missed without their trusty baseball caps blocking the sun? How would we have opened a gateway to other dimensions if not for Ong’s Hat? I reiterate, hats are neat.

On this episode we’re talking about Ong’s Hat, one of the early Internet’s oddest legends. Who’d have though all you need to travel to other dimensions are a couple of Ivy League dropouts, a dash of eastern spiritualism and an egg? I’d have guessed you’d need at least an alien or two.

LINK: https://anchor.fm/the-shepard

The Math of Hunting Lions

Bibliography of papers on math & physics methods of hunting lions in the Sahara Desert.

The fascinating history of identity and document spoofing by esteemed mathematicians with a wonderful sense of humor. I cited this in the book, Ong’s Hat: The Beginning.

The material was written up by R. P. Boas and F. Smithies [Smithies 2002, personal communication] and appeared in [Pétard 1938]. Part of JWT’s assistance was in keeping the nonexistence of the nominal author, H. Pétard and of Pondiczery quiet when the Monthly enquired about the paper’s author. The full identification of Pondiczery was Ersatz Stanislas Pondiczery at the Royal Institute of Poldavia. The hope was that someday a document could be signed ESP RIP [Aspray & Tucker 1985]).

…Albert Tucker: Was it that group that used the pseudonym “Pondiczery”?

Tukey: Yes, but with a somewhat broader reference.

Aspray: For what purpose?

Tukey: Well, the hope was that at some point Ersatz Stanislaus Pondiczery at the Royal Institute of Poldavia was going to be able to sign something ESP RIP. Then there’s the wedding invitation done by the Bourbakis. It was for the marriage of Betty Bourbaki and Pondiczery. It was a formal wedding invitation with a long Latin sentence, most of which was mathematical jokes, three quarters of which you could probably decipher. Pondiczery even wrote a paper under a pseudonym, namely “The Mathematical Theory of Big Game Hunting” by H. Pétard, which appeared in the Monthly. There were also a few other papers by Pondiczery.

Tukey: Somebody with a high principle. Pondiczery’s official residence was in Ong’s Hat, New Jersey3⁠, which is a wide place in the road going southeast from Pemberton, but it does appear on some road maps. There is a gas station that has a sign out about Ong’s Hat.

Aspray: But no sign for Pondiczery?

Tukey: No sign for Pondiczery. Spelled c-z-e-r-y, by the way. Not like the area of India, Pondicherry, which is spelled c-h. Anyway, this was a good group, and it enjoyed its existence. I learned a lot from dinner table conversations.

READ MORE HEREhttps://www.gwern.net/notes/Lions

QAnon, Ong’s Hat, and Robert Anton Wilson: Joseph Matheny discusses ARGs and conspiracy theories in the Internet era

When the QAnon movement began garnering more widespread attention a couple of years ago, a number of game designers pointed out the similarities between the ‘Q drops’ – and the associated community puzzle solving in regards to those – and the techniques used in alternate reality games (ARGs) (see here and here, for example). Not necessarily that it was an ARG, but that it (knowingly, or unknowingly) used the methods found in ARGs to hook in new players, and to blur the boundaries between reality and fiction.

So I was fascinated to listen to a recent interview with Joseph Matheny, creator of the now-legendary Ong’s Hat – described by many as the world’s first ARG – in which he discussed QAnon from his own viewpoint (see video embedded below). Matheny notes that he feels obligated to talk publicly about QAnon and Ong’s Hat, because “they’re using my methods and I don’t like that”, and also because people have been comparing the two, which upset him. “I mean…it follows the formula,” Matheny says, “but content-wise, and intention-wise, it’s definitely nothing like it.”

When the QAnon movement began garnering more widespread attention a couple of years ago, a number of game designers pointed out the similarities between the ‘Q drops’ – and the associated community puzzle solving in regards to those – and the techniques used in alternate reality games (ARGs) (see here and here, for example). Not necessarily that it was an ARG, but that it (knowingly, or unknowingly) used the methods found in ARGs to hook in new players, and to blur the boundaries between reality and fiction.

So I was fascinated to listen to a recent interview with Joseph Matheny, creator of the now-legendary Ong’s Hat – described by many as the world’s first ARG – in which he discussed QAnon from his own viewpoint (see video embedded below). Matheny notes that he feels obligated to talk publicly about QAnon and Ong’s Hat, because “they’re using my methods and I don’t like that”, and also because people have been comparing the two, which upset him. “I mean…it follows the formula,” Matheny says, “but content-wise, and intention-wise, it’s definitely nothing like it.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

If QAnon Is a Game, How Do You Stop Playing?

This is Part II of our look at QAnon. Click here for Part I. As part of the NYU/StartEd New Media Accelerator, we are joining with faculty from the NYU Carter Journalism Institute to talk about QAnon Friday, Feb. 19 on Clubhouse. Join us!

The U.S. Capitol was just another part of the gameboard. (📷: LA Times)

Ever hear of Ong’s Hat? Not the charming little town in New Jersey that we all know and love, but the internet conspiracy. Actually, Ong’s Hat is most likely the first internet conspiracy, which is interesting because it started well before the internet was even in the hands of the average citizen. Today, many credit the sprawling, transmedia experiment — and its foundational documents known as The Incunabla Papers — as the first Alternative Reality Game (ARG), creating the template for massive experiential mysteries underwritten by sources as unlikely as Brigham Young University, Microsoft, and the rock band Twenty-One Pilots. Ong’s Hat was a much less coordinated affair, beginning as crude Xeroxed pamphlets, then skipping around on zines delivered in the mail, radio, bulletin boards, CD-ROM, and back to the internet. While the ghost town that gave the game its name is real, the science fiction tale that lurched around for years, involving Princeton scientists, quantum theory, multi-dimensional travel, and much more, is a work of collaborative fiction by a small group of outsiders and pranksters. But this long-forgotten experiment has become relevant again because it gives us clues into what’s going on with some of the most politically and socially radicalized people in the world.

The January 6 deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol was energized by many people who follow QAnon to varying degrees. Last month, we wrote that understanding the movement in religious or cultish terms was a seductive mistake, and that it’s best understood as an ARG that has a found purchase with huge swaths of alienated and postmodern Americans. While most games are harmless, Ong’s Hat turned quite dark before its chief storyteller shut it down, and we’d argue that the real-world violence coming from QAnon disciples is following that same arc. Hopefully, there are some lessons in previous experiments like Ong’s Hat that can help us blunt the destructive force of this movement, avoid more violence, and bring people back to a shared reality and basic set of facts. READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE: https://medium.com/caseworx/if-qanon-is-a-game-how-do-you-stop-playing-1489a388de75

Coming Soon: Highly Strange

We’re producing our first original on high strangeness. In it we explore the psyche of “strange” through the stories of three people in highly strange situations.

Season One – “Information Golem” looks at the life of Joseph Matheny as he dreams up what perhaps becomes the world’s first online ARG (Alternative Reality Game) known as Ong’s Hat. Launched in the 90’s as an innocent social experiment around story and information, things quickly went left of field. The oddities that surrounded Ong’s Hat are curiosities Joseph still struggles to understand to this day. Joseph has gotten alot of attention lately from the press because of the Quanon craziness and White House uprising. More recently he was featured on Slate Magazine’s Decoder Ring series. Also there’s news of a upcoming Netflix feature on conspiracy creation he’ll appear in. His story touches on the issues that seem to dovetail at the volcanic crossroads where personality and mental health meets randomness and free information. Lots of unruly yet relevant questions get born there.

Listen to “Highly Strange” on Spreaker.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/41996383

 

The Mystery of Ong’s Hat – 3V Off The Books

Today the gang is diving into one of the OG internet conspiracy theories. The mystery of Ong’s Hat. But the real mystery is why did the gang decide to record this drunk? The world may never know.

LINK TO SHOW: https://soundcloud.com/3vpodcast/the-mystery-of-ongs-hat-3v-off-the-books

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Thanks for listening! If you liked this episode be sure to leave us a five star (or not) review! Also if you have any feedback or ideas for future episodes be sure to hit us up! Thanks again and have a kickass day!paranormalPodcasttrue crime3v podcaongsinternet mysteryongmysteryComedydrunkconstheoryconspiracy theoryThe Mystery of Ong’s Hat – 3V Off The Books by 3V Podcast is licensed under a  Creative Commons License.

Ong’s Hat and the construction of a suspicious model reader

It’s refreshing to see someone make an attempt to understand what I was trying to do with Ong’s Hat and it’s encouraging to see them get it mostly right. Too many so-called journalists have focused on the more sensationalist aspects of my attempt, in the early days of the Internet, at an avant-garde art installation that was not constrained by space and time.

In this paper, I have brought together concepts from media studies and semiotics of interpretation in an attempt to analyze a complex media phenomenon and its unforeseen persuasive power. This analysis could be built upon to analyze similar phenomena such as conspiracy theories and fake news.

Link to the full paper: https://letreraria.com/2019/01/13/ongs-hat-and-the-construction-of-a-suspicious-model-reader/