October 30th, 2004

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The Dionaea house

Y'all have to read this. I can't say if it's real or not--I think I admire it more as a work of fiction, actually. But it's just right for Halloween: the search for a man who disappeared while investigating an old friend who went crazy. Make sure you read the "updates" page once you've finished with the main site--a really interesting LJ is involved. (The LJ is another reason I think it's a work of fiction--it's nicely done, but it's rather convenient that the girl would start the LJ right before the creepy stuff started happening, and it would end within ten entries. A real journal would be--well, it would be someone like you or me, with several months of entries, probably a good number of friends commenting, and then the weird shit starting. But that's way, way involved for someone to just create.) You'll notice that the updates page has updated regularly and it was last updated... yesterday. I have hopes that we might get another update this weekend.

ETA: I've just gotten word that it will be updated soon. Let's not say anything more about that. ;)

msauvage purple

(no subject)

Ahhh, the Halloween candy has been set out. I grabbed a handful and just now ate a mini Crunch bar (yum) and picked up the second one and was like, "Wait, why is this one divided into two big chun--AHHH CARAMEL WTF." It's not bad; it just seems like gilding the lily a bit.

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.
msauvage purple

I am so high on Halloween candy right now

You know... one of the flaws in the Ted the Caver story is the author's mention of "cave myths" and "the hodag." Now, I'm pretty up on my international folklore and mythology, but I didn't even remember having heard of this one in the mistiest of misty pasts. So who's my daddy? Wikipedia, of course. And I gotta tell you... the cave story loses major creepy points with me for invoking the hodag. Because not only is a fictional monster (because, really, the skeptics among you could argue that most if not all monsters are fictional), it's also a hoax, and it's not just a hoax, it's a nineteenth-century Wisconsin hoax. Not to mention that it looks like a bad day at Old Man Harryhausen's farm. And let's not even get started on the name "hodag." Actually, let's, because that's my favorite part. I'm reading this Wikipedia entry and Stereotypically Urban Cleo pops into my head--let's call her C. Jo--is all like, "Daaaamn, girl, what's that shit? That shit is wack." (Not only is C. to Tha J. O. stereotypical, she's also incredibly passé.) "That," I say, "is the hodag." "You just call me a ho, bitch?" says Cizzle to the J. Izzle. "IMA CUTCHOO." Fortunately, I have a taser, so I win. (It's a little game we play sometimes, Rock-Taser-Switchblades. Try it, it's fun.) "Look, I'm not talking about you," I say, while the last of the electricity frizzles out of C. Jo's hair. "I'm talkin' 'bout that cracked-up bitch-ass spiny triceradog." "Aw... yeah..." says C. Jo. She's still twitching a little. "What the fuck... is that, anyway? It's like a pitbull... fucked a sewer alligator. Dag, yo."

Exactly, C. Jo. Exactly.

I particularly like the varieties of hodag, which include the black hodag, the cave hodag, and the Dodge Sidehill Hodag, the sport-utility all-terrain vehicle from the auto manufacturer you've come to know and trust, a status symbol for many ("I DRIVE A DODGE HODAG!"). "Grab life by the horns" indeed.