Peeping Toms: Twitter As An ARG?

By Alec Meer on February 11th, 2009 at 6:18 pm.

Oh God, I’m writing a second post about Twitter in as many days. One of you rabid anti-social networking types is totally going to come and kill me for this. (As a side-note, the craziest angry-reader threat I ever received was, in response to an admittedly hurried review of the Star Wars: Empire At War expansion pack, a claim that he was going to find my house, construct a giant wax statue of me outside it, then set fire to the thing. I remain deeply disappointed this never happened).

Anyway, no pimping of RPS-related info-flows this time. Rather, it’s an interesting ad-libbed experiment that verges on being both interactive fiction and alternate-reality gaming.

We are going to see a lot of this kind of thing over the coming years, I fear – it’ll inevitably be the next Second Life, in terms of over-excitable media companies placing disproportionate amounts of attention on it as a promotional tool. For now, it’s fun to watch it play out. Mad Men fans did something similar a little while back, but this seems a little more focused and co-ordinated – very possibly because the show in question’s creators are behind this one. I don’t think we know if it’s them or fans at this stage, but certainly the Peep Show twitterers seem amusingly well-observed reflections of the Channel 4 squirm-comedy‘s magnificently broken cast.

The idea is you follow not just your favourite character, but the whole set of eight – and then watch their interplay between each other in real-time. It’s an add-libbed, unending episode of the show, in other words. Is it technically gaming, and should I post about it? Well, you’ll have your own feelings I’m sure, but I reckon so. It’s a world that exists only on your monitor, while the scope to get involved yourself – to reply to the characters and thus potentially inspire this fast fiction’s next direction – makes into something that’s less like social networking and more like interactive escapism. Yeah, it’s probably primarily a PR stunt for the next season of the show, but for now it’s one with worth: making a game of words out of the latest e-flavour of the month. Of course it’ll likely make little sense if you’re not familiar with the show (and won’t impress you if you find it too sinister or crude), but the characters’ essential templates – uptight geek Mark, morally deficient scuzzball Jez, tormented single mother Sophie… – should be fathomable. You’ll definitely appreciate it if you’re a fan.

To join the game, you need to follow all eight of the folk in the sidebar on this page. Oh – be warned that some of the tweets aren’t fit for innocent/censorious eyes.

OK, no more Twitter now. Probably.

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26 Comments »

  1. Robin says:

    Not really an ARG, is it? More of a … performance in the round sort of a thing.

    Will be cool to see to what degree the players interact with the audience.

  2. chesh says:

    Which of course is not nearly as cool as the Left 4 Dead Twitter bots, though they haven’t been turned on recently.

  3. Elbee says:

    The man in the banner is staring into my soul. Begone, foul demon!

  4. Tei says:

    Back in the old good days, we used to bad IRC@bots for this type of stuff.. You know, interactive bots.

  5. The_B says:

    I enjoy a similar game involving four other twitters, their rappor is very entertaining. Especially their constant attempts to top each others’ Twitter followers. It’s awesome. And interactive as well!

    Their names are something like Kelron, Alex, James and Jon. I think they run a gaming blog or something.

  6. Markoff Chaney says:

    That could be a good experiment (or deconstruction thereof) in observation of consensual co-creation of our holographic “reality”. Maybe I’ll watch someone else watching other people watching others. The real question would be if I’m watching a system that’s watching a system watching a system, am I sufficiently removed from the root system to not have an impact on it’s outcome? I assume that I would have an impact, since I impact who I am observing, and the ripple would spread systemically.

    I really love the film Peeping Tom too. I first found out about it when I was looking up samples from a Clock DVA disc. Talk about observation having an impact…

  7. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Haven’t checked it out, but what you describe seems more like a television programme rather than a game. I mean, there is no possible input from the viewer, except to pick points of view (so to speak).

  8. Dolphan says:

    Hmm-Hmm – you can talk to the characters, so there is viewer input.

  9. skizelo says:

    Wake me when the cats of Achewood start twittering.

  10. Sarin says:

    Seems like too much effort for a laugh.

    Peep Show is awesome though

  11. Deadpan says:

    I use my account ( yourtechsupport ) to disseminate some news to ARG and people testing a related alpha version of a… mmo of indiscriminate nature. The ARG’s first phase completed few weeks back and I get to sprinkle the occasional heads up or random clue. We’re planning Phase II, which will be alot bigger, hopefully ending in invites to the beta version. After that, world domination.

    Now if only they’d budget me some briefcases and salary for actors….

  12. leeder_krenon says:

    twitter is the most pointless thing on the internet. and there is plenty of competition. including this post.

  13. Ben Abraham says:

    For a while now someone (perhaps a really committed fan?) has made twitter profiles for many of the characters from The West Wing. They carry out conversations amongst them and do something similar.

  14. Bhazor says:

    It’s actually pretty funny. Whoever is writing it has the characters down pat.
    “Sorry Nancy but we invented English, and anyone who disagrees is frankly a cretin.”
    “I return from work to find cigarette burns in the hob and Jeremy naked, covered in crisps. And appears to have drawn a face on his penis.”

    “Jesus, I’ve let some Jehovas witnesses in. I’ve read the god delusion, they can’t shit on me about 9 hours ago from Tweetie
    mark, ive turned to god again. turns out you meet more people when your a jehovas witness. about 8 hours ago from Tweetie”

    This might even be enough to make me sign up to the bally thing!

  15. Nervous Little Tit says:

    “This might even be enough to make me sign up to the bally thing!”

    That’s the idea. You get served something popular here and then you sign up and follow RPS as an afterthought, once you’re invested.

    Be careful what you wish for, RPS guys, with your flaunting of past, sub-par stalkerdom.

  16. Heliocentric says:

    If and when i stalk, i do it properly. Less off this microcelebrity, more going through their trash and getting in trouble with the police.

  17. Bobsy says:

    I’d probably get lynched if I ever dared to say that I never really enjoyed Peep Show, and far preferred Mitchell and Webb’s sketch programs.

    (on the radio)

  18. Hunty says:

    I’m a real fan of Peep Show. Surprisingly funny and incisive stuff, this. The Dobby twitter even mentions BoB’s demise in Eve! Geek-cred plus a million.

  19. Cooper says:

    Stop. Please, just stop. I just don’t get this twitter nonsense. Like Facebook before, I just don’t get where people find the time for this stuff.

    Every website the last couple of months has been ‘twitter this’ and ‘twitter that’ and I couldn’t give a flying monkey bollock. I don’t care that people want 24/7 insta-inanity, please stop befouling my internet eyes with it.

    If anything, think of the poor people I share an office with – this is yet another thing I can have a rant about…

  20. Tom says:

    Cooper, spend more than a week or two with twitter and you will understand. Everyone thinks it is stupid at first. Everyone thinks it is stupid for a few days. Then they feel like, and I quote Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker) “…it’s the internet equivilant of popping bubble wrap.’ Try explaining bubble wrap to someone who hasn’t tried it and why it’s good, then make them do it, and you know they’ll convert.

    I would choose twitter over my mobile phone, TV, general browsing internet (other than links sent via twitter), any media – twitter is more customisable and therefore interesting than anything else.

    Interactive peep show seems to be a good idea.

    I’m @tomdavenport by the way.

  21. Constihill says:

    A few hours after starting Beautiful Katamari, someone/something calling itself KatamariDamacy started following me on Twitter… which was pretty freaky.

  22. Benjamin_Barker says:

    This must be a good show. My brother somehow caught it (we are Yanks) and loves it… Yep, if anyone is curious like me it appears all eps are still on YouTube like he said.

  23. Klaus says:

    As a side-note, the craziest angry-reader threat I ever received was, in response to an admittedly hurried review of the Star Wars: Empire At War expansion pack, a claim that he was going to find my house, construct a giant wax statue of me outside it, then set fire to the thing. I remain deeply disappointed this never happened).

    Yet. Remain positive, Alec.

    @Ben Abraham
    That is hilariously sad. I may need get a twitter account.

  24. dunk says:

    Someone needs to make a first-person Peep Show game.

  25. srdha says:

    i gust want to say some thing “great job”

    Update your Twitter randomly according to your intrest Or, from Rss Feed Or, from your own tweet message list Or, Any combination of the above three http://feedmytwitter.com