The millennium opened with a new type of gaming called Alternate Reality Gaming (ARG).
As listed in Wikipedia, ARG is a kind of computer game that blurs the line between in-game and out-of-game experiences. An ARG will actually reach out into the players' real lives as part of the game itself.
Part of the game is figuring out what the game is. Its rules must be discovered. It is a scavenger hunt without the list. It is a detective novel without the book. It brings a mindful awareness to the texts that currently shape your life.
The game has no boundaries. It will connect to players by any necessary means. Examples in the past have seen envelopes in the mail, emails, suspect websites, phone calls, newspapers, chat rooms, real world artifacts, and, as the case now seems, kidnapping.
The Beowulf-like granddaddy of all ARGs was The Beast. In early 2001, some people noticed a curious credit at the end of a preview trailer for the movie A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. It displayed "Jeanine Salla, Sentient Machine Therapist" alongside a set of mysterious symbols. This triggered some curious minds to investigate online, rewarding them with eerie websites, further clues, and the unfolding murder of Evan Chan.
Those first Beast gamers are as legendary as Columbus. They discovered the ARG before people knew what ARGs were, stepping through the looking glass into virgin lands. They were motivated to create their own language in order to understand and navigate through the gaming experience. Their tale is littered with paranoid schizophrenic beginnings, affirming middles, and exciting ends.