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Peeping Toms: Twitter As An ARG?

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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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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