I love the idea of ARGs. I am terrible at actually playing ARGs. Alternative Reality Games are real-world-set adventures in which players must combine clues from fictional content with those of real life, to solve puzzles, make exciting discoveries, and usually uncover a mystery. And generally, you have to have worked at Bletchley Park to be able to get past the first few stages. Which is why I’m rather intrigued by Forever Has Fallen, a podcast-driven ARG that is designed to be much more accessible. And considering it is, I figured it might be fun for us all to play together.
The game begins when you visit this apparent social media site. The Forever Social purports to be a Black Mirror/Life After-esque service that will continue to update your social media after you’re dead. Using AI that’s learned from all your previous posting, it’ll keep Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any future services that might supersede them filled with the sorts of things you might have posted were you still alive. Which is a gruesome and fun idea, and one well enough put together to have fooled some media outlets into thinking it’s real. Media outlets that didn’t bother filling in the form before writing about it, obviously – in fact they based it entirely on a press release.
Once you’ve applied, you get access to the podcast, Forever Has Fallen. Each episode is a very well produced fiction drama, that contains a series of clues that are entered into the game’s site. As you listen and solve, the story starts opening up, exploring the demise of a social media network and the people involved.
But the reality is, whenever I set out to do these things on my own, I get so far, get stuck, and then get frustrated. Then it occurred to me, there’s a great group of people here! We can do this together!
Forever Has Fallen stands out in the world of ARGs for not being an elaborate commercial. It is a self-contained game and podcast, and as such monetises by asking you to… pay! Goodness gracious, imagine it. Each episode costs around $4, which goes down if you buy a few at once. Which seems extremely fair.
BUT, I’ve not played it yet. That’s the big caveat here. I want to do this as a team, and I just like the look of it, and especially that it’s not going to end in an advert for a new flavour beer or something. It might turn out to be crap, but having listened to the excellent quality of the podcast, and poked around a few of the sites they’ve built, everything points to otherwise.
So if you’re up for it, let me give you a shortcut to getting started, and just put the word “FUBAR” into the box at the top of the Forever Social site. It immediately breaks its own frame at that point, to explain what it’s about. And then join our Discord. There’s a new room in there just for discussion of this, and let’s see how it goes.
- Forever Has Fallen
- Official Site