Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some Guy Has Made a Game Out of the Internet and I Haven’t Heard About It Yet?

Imagine if this were your MMO's world map. I don’t even know where to start on this one, guys.  This kind of scares me.  It’s called PMOG, and is brought to you by one of the few people who had a blog during Web 0.5 (aka the dark times when google was a number and chat rooms still mattered). 

PMOG stands for Passively Multiplayer Online Game.  The basic premise: you install a browser extension that turns surfing the web into a passive RPG.  You obtain “datapoints” just by browsing websites – checking email, reading Wikipedia, or updating your blog.  These datapoints level you up, and you can also spend them on “tools,” items you can plant on URLs for the next PMOG player to stumble upon.

Come to think of it, PMOG is pretty much a StumbleUpon MMO.  But instead of just suggesting sites, you can leave mines for people to trip.  Or portals that will take them randomly to another site, related or not.  There are also “missions,” which are basically guided web tours.  But I imagine someone could leave a portal on one of the mission sites, throwing you off track.  There are also “badges” (aka achievements), earned by a number of activities ranging from completing a certain number of missions to visiting Perez Hilton’s website (hope this link helps any playing) five days a week for two weeks - a badge that has been doled out 355 times.

As I hinted at in the opening paragraph, I’m slightly frightened by this.  I guess it’s a cool ARG, but I don’t know if I could handle it.  I like reading about baseball without magically being teleported somewhere else.  I like loading up a gaming blog without worrying that a bomb’s going to go off and lower my Internet experience level.  Sure, I could pause the game or turn it off.  But that might be hard knowing I can earn a badge just by looking at existential cat photos.  I don’t know if I could stop.  Could you?