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LOST Fans Donít Play Games
It was a bold experiment, for sure. At the end of LOSTís second season, the marketing department at ABC and a few of the writers launched an Alternate Reality Game based on a piece of the LOST universe: the Hanso foundation. The name of the game was the Lost Experience, and its purpose was to keep die-hard fans engaged in the LOST mythology as well as provide advertisers an extended slate to hock their warez.
Initially the response was overwhelming. LOST fans propelled into a world of evil corporations with secrets to hide, mysterious hackers desperate to reveal the truth, and allusions that season twos bastion of LOST mythology, the Dharma initiative, was about a little more than utopian idealism. New characters arose, insidious corporate shade Thomas Mittlewerl, defiant talk show host DJ Dan, the mysterious hacker Persephone, and later her alter ego Rachel Blake.
The promise, however, quickly faded. The funding for the game which would span websites, television commercials, voice mail systems, bill-boards, comic conventions, and more, came largely from the advertisers who sponsored the game. In turn, each was given the ability to create a piece of the game , which they could later skew for product placement. In some cases, such as Sprite, Verizon, and Jeep, the commercial aspect of their contribution was thinly veiled at best, and more candidly: obvious.
The result? A game which lasted far longer than it should and in the end was remembered more for its commercial interruptions than the substance of its plot. In the end, the game wound up revealing enough plot to fill a few scant paragraphs, as this article at buddytv shows.
In the end, jaded fans declared the game a grab for their advertising dollar. Moral to LOST producers: Donít play games with your fans.
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