There seems to be a lot of spy stuff in what I've been consuming lately. Halting State has a big involvement with a set of spy MMO/ARGs. (Some of which was stuff that I ended up predicting because it was almost how I would have done it.) On TV I've been watching Burn Notice, Chuck, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles [1], and caught the first episode My Own Worst Enemy [2]. Plus I discovered that the first season of spy-fi Invisible Man (from "way-back" in the Farscape era) is on Hulu. [4]

I was thinking about the weird idea of Spy Dating ARG and/or Reality Show. I'm not going to spend too much talking about it because I know it is outside the gulf of good taste, even if I think it would be awesome. But basically the idea would be: screw computerized psychology tests and 14 equally meaningless dimensions of matching and compatibility, just grab two crazy people that are attracted to each and build a romantic relationship the old-fashioned Hollywood way through fake explosions. Just imagine the blind date that starts with you attempting your best Ah-nold impression, "There is a very bad man after you. Come with me if you want to live," and is immediately followed by an explosion and some running and then will come the bad disguises and high-speed chase to some random industrial factory or warehouse...

But I can hear the screams of "how could you build a relationship on such fake emotion?" and "people don't like it when you fake blow up their apartment buildings and cars and pets and loved ones", so I'll stop there and let the idea simmer.

Here's a better idea: Over the holiday weekend I got linked to a YouTube video from Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? (aka the lesser two seasons of PBS educational game shows themed around the notorious thief of videogame fame.) Then I had to wander around viewing some of the other Carmen Sandiego videos and debated pulling out whichever games I might be able to find and/or borrow (we pretty had them all at one point, but at the very least the floppy ones were sold).

I've been thinking since then that if I had the team to back me up I would just about drop everything right now [6] to write a design document for a Carmen Sandiego MMO, and prepare to march it straight to Houghton-Mifflin... I could imagine it being an amazing cross-generational MMO, with learning as an orthogonal benefit, and all the E-T--Rated fun that might be had in cartoonish spy vs. spy stuff. For fun, here's a simple survey/questionnaire:

  • Which would you choose to more often work for ACME or V.I.L.E.?
  • Would you want to be a double or a triple agent?
  • Would you prefer solving/committing crimes across time or space?
  • Do you have an interestingly bad pun for use as an Agent or Villain name?

Please answer honestly, as I shall collate the answers into a demographic survey and attach them to the design document that is currently being written in my mind in the ink of velvet shadows and the binding glue of the sound of a million 'doo-wops' sung in harmony...

[1]Obviously, the Terminator saga is a Cold War spy story with warring nations separated by a gulf of only a few years time.
[2]I agree that Chuck and MOWE should cross-over, but then I'm easily fascinated with cross-overs. [3]
[3]Case in point, I was watching the latest Heroes episode and got to thinking that I thought the look and feel of "evil corporation" Pinehearst (I assume named after the founders' love of golf resort Pinehurst) with its tropical-seeming headquarters and DNA motif. Then I got to thinking it reminded me of the cool things I love about InGen (that dinosaur cloning company from Jurassic Park). Then I got to thinking about a superhero-run Jurassic Park and figuring that it would probably succeed and possibly be awesome. Obviously a key flaw in InGen's business plan was cloning the dinosaurs before coming up with the magic genetic or maybe adrenal or maybe just pseudo-science "Heroes formula" to give ordinary humans superpowers...
[4]Actually, all of the aforementioned shows are on Hulu to various amounts if you want to plan a spy television night... [5]
[5]No, I'm not getting kickbacks from GE to mention Hulu thrice in this blog post.
[6]With the obvious exclusion that I do really want to graduate with my Masters in December.