While the Dionaea house is not the trailhead for an online game, following a few links reminded me how much I love that stuff. I didn't even know it's a whole subgenre called "alternate reality gaming" now, but it seems to have started with that game the Cloudmakers were playing that went with the A.I. movie. I loved that game. I was in the Yahoo group, but I can't claim to have really played with them; once you get into web-techno stuff like viewing HTML sources and coding, you've lost me. I did better with the viral marketing sites Dreamworks put up for The Ring--it didn't form a game per se, but it was a lot of fun tracking new stuff down.
So... I guess what I'm saying is that I'm sort of a passive "player" when it comes to this sort of thing. I love following the stories, though, which is why I liked Dionaea House so much. There are certain kinds of puzzles I can solve (word puzzles, literary references, etc.), but the kind that most web games seem to use... well, once the Enigma code turned up in the original A.I. game, I knew I was in over my head. You know that Graeme Base children's book The Eleventh Hour? I couldn't even solve that--I cracked and read the solution at the back, because I suck. (Also, I was, like, eleven. Shut up.)
Anyway. I think what I love so much about a lot of the games or mysteries you can find online is that they frequently have sort of a psychological horror edge to them. I love Ambrose Bierce and H.P. Lovecraft and all that kind of stuff. (By the way, shoiryu recommends The House of Leaves if you'd like to see this kind of thing done in book form. I read a few reviews of it, and it bears some really, really striking resemblances to the Dionaea site. Like, "I wonder if that site was inspired by the book" striking.) redscorner left a link in the comments on the last entry to an ARG forum, where I noticed an interesting comment--a lot of people are trying to mount their own ARGs, apparently, and they're looking for writers to help. Man. I'm crap with the technological elements, which is why I wouldn't be able to start my own, but writing one would be so much fun.
Also: quizzicalsphinx and elynrae managed to dig up a similar story from a few years ago about spelunkers getting trapped in a cave. The URL: http://www.holyshiite.com/caver/index.html. Heh. The first few pages are a little slow going, as the author seems to be an actual spelunker who talks A LOT about caving itself. It starts to pick up when the cavers bring their dog.
ETA: "I CANNOT believe that we were so willing to get right back into the cave after [plot point deleted]. We were just too eager to discover virgin cave passages. I now think it can be summed up with one word: testosterone!"
Uh... yeah. Remember what I said about Jack and his Freudian cave fixation on Lost the other night? Same goes here.