Namaste: LOST Alternative Reality game Affected by Actual Reality

Still watching LOST? I admit, I gave up on series 3 but since the last few episodes LOST got awesome, I cared about the island and it seemed like it was going somewhere.

With the writers’ strike and a longer gap between series 4 and 5 the LOST creators Damon & Carlton along with ABC decided to capitalise on the loyal and involved fan base and crate an integrated Alternative Reality game that would fill the gap and lead in to the series and alongside it, giving fans even more LOST to get lost in!

I’m a geek - I love 360 scheduling and think alternative reality games are awesome - I played the Nokia Game and the original Channel 4 LOST mini ARG with the first season. So, I obviously signed myself up for this.

It started in June at the end of season 4 with an advert for Octagon Global Recruitment working for the Dharma Initative, sign up, get an email and do a test.

This was the first sign that te ARG had a budget, the advert was well made, the website was expensive and it was ready for the 100,000+ people that signed up.

LOST & ABC then did a big stunt at Comic-Con to draw attention to the game, something Dharma called a ‘Security Breach’.


As many of you may be aware there have been a number of security breaches in recent days related to the nature of the Dharma Initiative’s latest research.

Apart from the leak of a sensitive internal communication there was also the unauthorized release of confidential video documentation during a sponsored panel discussion with the makers of the TV show “LOST” at Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego. Consequently, the person responsible for this breach, a promising recruit by the name of Dan Bronson, has been expelled from the volunteer program and had his Dharma Initiative membership permanently revoked. Furthermore, the Dharma Initiative has withdrawn their sponsorship from “LOST”.

The Dharma Initiative must stress that the video material leaked at Comic-Con 2008 was viewed entirely out of context. Furthermore, the way in which the material was presented utterly distorted its significance and credibility as scientific data.

The Dharma Initiative is extremely disappointed with this outcome and has ordered a security audit of all departments. As part of this audit the DharmaWantsYou recruiting website will undergo a security upgrade in the next few days.

Upon completion of this upgrade a date will be announced for the official commencement of Volunteer Assessments.

All recruits are reminded that the unauthorized release of confidential information pertaining to the details of your activities within the Dharma Initiative will result in instant dismissal from the volunteer program.

Hans Van Eeghen
Head of Recruiting
The Dharma Initiative

Fun huh! there were a series of tests and mini orienteering games to make you believe you were getting ready to work for Dharma. The emails lasted until November 18 when I was told that my ‘evaluation report’ was ready to download (I’m a Carpenter) and this…

Sadly, our benefactors were not immune to this crisis. In fact, unconfirmed reports suggest that much of the money designated for the work of the new Dharma Initiative was tied up in highly leveraged mortgage derivatives. This, however, cannot be confirmed because, I am sorry to report, the principals representing the benefactors - my employers - have gone missing. Based on bills still coming into our office we believe they are somewhere in South America.

This stunning reversal of fortune has forced us to abandon our ambitious plans. In fact, absent this funding, the Dharma Initiative was forced to make the only sensible decision we had available: we sold the Dharma Initiative to the television show LOST.

Boo. Alternative reality ends!

Today I got an email from the creators of LOST letting me into a secret site with selected content where they had a video letting us know that there was going to be an awesome game but… Global Economic Meltdown.

They both seem very very disheartened with the situation and were very very apologetic.

This is a big shame as LOST viewers would have taken this game to heart and it would be interesting to see how it worked with the show and the storyline. Boo.

Other shows have worked well with this - the best of which was ReGenesis on Canadian television where viewers became recruits and helped in actual storylines of the show a week before the storyline was transmitted so they became a part of the show.

Torchwood had its own ARG during series 2 which was fun and engaging using actual castmembers and its own story and sattellite websites.

Other ARGs are on and they seem keen on doing them, I would, however have like to have seen a massive and commercial broadcaster create something this interactive. Oh well.

Thoughts… do you play ARGs (perplexity, Heroes Online etc.), would you?

About the Author


David is a Twenty Five year old Boy who loves Design, Comedy, Disney and Doctor Who. He works as a Graphic Designer and sometimes stands up in front of people and tries to make them laugh. You can find him on Twitter @thisisdavid and at
  • Blackett
    Its great and fantastic that there are these worlds created by the producers aroud a media text, to me that says value for money.

    But it also frustrates me, I am rather lazy and I want to be given all the information and I feel as though there is all this extra stuff that I am not part of but I want to know so I sit and hope that if there is anything of note learned through taking part in these virtual worlds that another individual will feel proactive enough to put it up on wikipedia for me.
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