After I wrote a story the other day about playing the alternate-reality game Graveyard Games at the Italian Cemetery in Colma, Calif., a reader comment that went vaguely along the lines of "Hey, dumbass, get out of the cemetery where my grandparents are buried or I'm going to call the cops" more or less summed up the feelings of those who took the time to write in.
Fair enough. I understand that graveyards are sacred spaces to many people. But I would argue that the Graveyard Games participants were pretty respectful of the space and that even some unaffiliated visitors to the cemetery that day supported what was going on. Still, it's not where my family is buried, so maybe I'm not qualified to judge whether it was right or wrong.
So let's say, just for the sake of argument that Graveyard Games never visited another American cemetery. I doubt that's the reality of the situation, but bear with me here. What then? Where would people who want to play this clever and fun game go?
Well, it appears that a group of players of the online game "World of Warcraft" have the answer. According to a post on the virtual worlds blog Terra Nova Tuesday, the WoW players took Graveyard Games into a cemetery on the Kilrogg server and had at it.
All I can say is, Cool! Think about the meta aspects of this for a moment. This is an alternate-reality game (ARG) which is played partly online and partly in the real world. These players decided to substitute a virtual world for the real world aspect of the ARG, and that's something that proponents of online games should just love.
Me? I find it fascinating. But I'm just waiting for someone from WoW to argue that this was disrespectful to the beasts buried in the virtual cemetery.