testing the waters

Following in the footsteps of the successful Beast, several other games jumped into the picture with varying degrees of success. Some tried to follow the pattern of the Beast while others used the general idea but charted new territory for themselves.

The Ravenwatchers was a Beast-like game that started out with cryptic clues emailed to the Cloudmakers group. [Note to potential Puppetmasters: spamming about the existence of your new game is extremely bad form.] This game started out well according to those who played, but subsequently imploded when one of the two Puppetmasters flung back the curtain prematurely and abruptly ended the mystery.

Majestic, produced by Electronic Arts, was the first attempt at a subscription-based online conspiracy game, that utilized many of the same techniques as the Beast to communicate the unfolding story to the players, including the incorporation of telephone calls and faxes direct to the players, if they chose to provide that contact information when signing up. Unfortunately, it was beset by problems with the pacing of the game and with a hiatus imposed by the sad events of 9/11, and the game was terminated early by the developers. How Stuff Works posted an interesting "behind the scenes" look at how Majestic operated.

ABC entered the fray with a web-based game that paralleled the storyline in their sleeper sci-fi hit, Alias. The game was well-received by fans of the series and helped to flesh out the story arc of the show's first season, although it didn't have as many interactive elements as did the Beast, where the players' actions could affect the characters or storyline.