More “Lost” Than Ever

Instead of drowning the comment section of Wonderland’s entry (Link) about the television show Lost and its link to videogames, I thought I’d post my comment here and use the trackback feature appropriately. So, in response to Jez’s comment, here goes:

I’m familiar with the alternate reality gaming aspect of Lost. I posted my original thought the morning of May 26th (Link). The ARGN website posted news of the ARG side of Lost the evening of that same day. I saw their post the next morning and posted an entry regarding it afterward (reLink).

But ARGN news doesn’t go into the possibility of the show actually being about or taking place inside a videogame; only about it having a component that’s invaded ViewerSpace as a game.

Early on, like most viewers, I thought the show’s characters were in Purgatory. But after reading an interview of someone involved in the show wherein they effectively discounted the Purgatory theory when they said all the happenings (the “monster” that kills the pilot, the polar bear showing up, aso) had plausible explanations, I got to thinking about the ways in which what we were watching might make sense. That’s what prompted my original post that Lost might be a show happening inside a MMORPG.

Maybe television viewers are in Spectator mode and watching actors/players and NPC’s in a virtual game world. It’s just that no one’s told us! It’d be like accidently walking into an arena full of video feeds (or maybe one of Mark Cuban’s digital theaters) and watching a CPL championship for a MMORPG that looks entirely realistic (the future of gaming/television/entertainment???).

In this case, maybe in the “story” – assuming there even is one – the characters are actually on the Oceanic flight and hooked into a videogame to help pass the time (trans-Pacific flights can be killer). Their activities in the game might be other people’s entertainment, broadcast from the plane and reaching “viewers” everywhere; nice way to get productivity out of idle travelers and people might actually receive compensation or discounted airfares in the future for just this sort of “work” (I’ve previously gotten into the blurring definitions of “work” and “play” on this and other blogs).

The show 24 portends to air hourly segments of simulated realtime, but Lost might actually be stretching out gametime to fit the “really real” time of ViewerSpace. An entire season in the television show’s ViewerSpace realtime might only be a few hours in the show’s Character/Player’s flighttime. And that time is itself distorted when the Characters/Players enter the simulated world of the MMORPG.

If you start looking at the possibilities of what this could be and what it suggests, my entry (reLink) discussing Peter Molyneux’s virtualspace experiment “The Room” might make more sense. It’s also the reason I post about Lost on this blog, because I came to see it as related to the topics I cover here.

3 thoughts on “More “Lost” Than Ever

  1. No. That’s ridiculous. “An entire season in the television show’s ViewerSpace realtime might only be a few hours in the show’s Character/Player’s flighttime.” Every show is 40 minutes and in the first season alone there are 24 episodes. Even if you were to insist that gametime is entirely depicted in the show that’s still 16 hours of player time right there.

    You mmo idea is a lazy explanation. Even if you were correct and Lost was a game, You would still need to explain the events in the context of the game.

  2. I never intended to be taken literally which is why I used the word “might”. I’m a fan of the show; not an obsessive fan. I didn’t go count the shows in their season and I didn’t go laying out exactly how many minutes each character was onscreen which is the real measure here – not the simple chronological viewing time we experience. Note that the sentence before the quote you extracted was already considering onscreen time (key word “stretching”). It seemed obvious that when all the players are doing important things which need to be shown, a GameMaster editor might “recam” the footage to construct the narrative we see; thus “stretching” the show.

    Also, for clarification, my saying: “And that time is itself distorted when the Characters/Players enter the simulated world of the MMORPG”, most people know that in a virtual world, the simulated sun rises and falls on a schedule that doesn’t necessarily match realtime. So the “days” they’re ticking off on the island may not be realtime days.

    Anyway, irregardless, the core idea here doesn’t change whether or not the numbers add up. But for fun, just to check, I did a quick flight profile from SYD to LAX. For a flight leaving on March 01, it breaks down like this:

    Overall Duration: 23h10m

    Flight Duration (for each leg of the trip)
    SYD to ICN – 10h30m
    ICN to LAX – 10h50m

    Overall Flight Time Duration: 21h20m

    Even if we assume that the main character is onscreen uninterrupted for the full 40 minutes , 21hours and 20 minutes > 16 hours. Plenty of time leftover to eat, go to the washroom and even take a nice break. {Before I forget, I consider the flight duration listed for Oceanic to be game time and (obviously) distorted}

    People can check for themselves if they’re gonna obsess over this. Here’s the airline website url: (picked at random).

    Also, if the times didn’t work out, I could just as easily have suggested something to perhaps fix that. If flighttime is a problem, let’s assume that the game players (not the game characters) change with each episode (just the way “gold pharmers” hand off game characters in shifts). That could work too and suggests an intriguing option.

  3. Zero Vent said “You would still need to explain the events in the context of the game.”


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