If you’re a fan of horror and got tired of reading horror stories, watching scary movies, and playing spooky video games, don’t worry; there are still ways to relive that adrenaline high from years ago when you were still a horror infant! One specific medium of storytelling took the online world by storm and introduced an entirely new dimension to horror experiences. We are talking about alternate reality games (ARGs)!
The number of internet users is on the rise, and the vast online realm hides many creative opportunities. It was only a matter of time before someone found a new and exciting way of using the exposure the online world brings to contribute to the horror genre. The rise in popularity of social media platforms like Twitter and the growing consumption of video content on sites like YouTube paved the way for a fresh, immersive type of horror storytelling — horror ARGs.
But what are ARGs anyway, and how can you find and participate in these games? Don’t worry; we’ll address both of these questions and much more!
Let’s jump right into it!
What Is an Alternate Reality Game (ARG)?
An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive story told through real-world events or interactions. ARGs are usually delivered through one or more modern online social platforms or similar mediums (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Email).
What makes ARGs so compelling and immersive is the involvement of the players in the story. Alternate reality games often have participants visit real-world locations to search for clues needed to progress the narratives or interact with the game’s characters through mediums like social media or email.
Since these stories unfold in real time and their creators have full control over the narratives (and the freedom to change them on the fly), they offer participants an unparalleled level of suspense and immersion. That is something no horror video game, movie, or book could ever match.
Although some ARGs will feature a mostly linear storyline, many will require players to solve particular puzzles or mysteries to progress in the story. So if you enjoy mental challenges and wish to experience horror in an entirely new way, horror ARGs are perfect for you!
Where to Find Horror ARGs to Enjoy
The online world is a vast and rich realm, and there are many places where horror ARGs can spring up. However, you will most often find these horror adventures on social media sites like Reddit, YouTube, and Twitter.
Due to their immersive nature, ARGs will rarely be marketed or well-known while ongoing since that would deduct from the immersion. That is why there are no reliable ways to keep track of ongoing horror ARGs without doing plenty of research.
If you’re interested in trying one of these games, we advise you to join various online horror communities, especially on platforms like Reddit. Members of these communities spread the word about any novelties in the horror world relatively quickly, including any new ARGs that may pop up. So if you want to get in on the action, the best way to do so is to engage with other fans of online horror actively!
Even though you don’t have a 100% reliable way of finding ongoing ARGs, you can still revisit completed ones if you’re looking for exciting horror stories. Despite missing out on these games’ interactive elements by doing so, most of them have incredibly compelling storylines that will make up for it!
If you need advice on where to start, check out a few examples of engaging and terrifying horror ARGs you should revisit below!
5 Examples of Well-Executed Horror ARGs
Getting started in the horror ARG world can be challenging if you don’t know where and what to look for. That’s why we’ve prepared five examples of some of the best and most terrifying web stories and horror ARG series you must check out!
This incredibly creepy Twitter account shares a chilling horror story backed up with real-life visuals that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Like most social media ARGs, the account and its Tweets seem pretty normal until the story begins unfolding. After that, things go south pretty quickly, and the account owner is supposedly thrown into a real-life nightmare scenario.
We will not go into details regarding the story, but it’s one all horror fans must check out! Check out this Twitter account and start reading from the beginning. Trust us — you will not be disappointed! Oh, and don’t forget to stay in touch with the account — the author might come back in the future with part two of the story!
This time, we have a unique and wild example of how to market your brand! That’s right — this ARG was quickly revealed to be a marketing stunt by an escape room in the Philippines. This daring brand decided to take its business to the next level by organizing an exciting and terrifying detective-like ARG and found incredible success.
Who says horror ARGs have to be obscure? Apparently, they work as incredible marketing tools too!
3. Ash Vlogs
If you’re more a YouTube person than a social media one, you should check out Ash Vlogs ARG! This YouTube channel got on its feet by creating a compelling series where someone supposed stalked the channel’s owner. If you search among the channel’s oldest videos, you will find the game that gave it the much-needed online exposure.
This Twitter account tells a long, spooky story of a person waking up one day, realizing that the Earth had gone pitch-black; the Sun was gone. If that wasn’t scary enough, wait until you see what hides in the darkness!
This account tells a long and compelling horror story that feels as if it belongs in a movie. So if you’re looking for an excellent example of how to start and lead a horror ARG, this account is a must-follow!
Marble Hornets is likely the oldest horror ARG series online, dating from 2011! This iconic ARG is a horror experience you mustn’t miss out on if you’re a fan of the genre. Marble Hornets began as a student project but ended up becoming a full-length amateur movie that is more terrifying than most Hollywood horror blockbusters!
Marble Hornets was inspired by various urban legends, especially the infamous Slenderman mythos! So avid gamers will have a particularly thrilling time following the Marble Hornets series.
As you can see, ARGs are slowly but surely growing in popularity in the online world. But that’s a good thing! The more exciting horror content out there, the better! So keep your eyes peeled for anything weird and spooky on social media or similar platforms. Who knows — it may be an up-and-coming horror ARG you wouldn’t want to miss!