by Tim Burke, Form III
3 min. read — November 10, 2021
On the Internet, there are many communities surrounding different topics, like games, movies, and anything imaginable. One of those is the unfiction community. Unfiction is a type of storytelling that presents itself as real, but isn’t, like webseries and Args. An Arg is an alternate reality game, which is a game, or story that spans over multiple different platforms like Twitter, Youtube, and Reddit. There will sometimes be real life aspects, like real life coordinates leading to a new clue. An Arg usually serves to tell a story that the players have to figure out as clues are left by the creator. A webseries is an online story that usually plays out on platforms like Youtube. The term unfiction is a broad term used to describe Args, webseries and everything of that nature, so that there wouldn’t be any confusion on what to call something. Anyone can create their own work of unfiction; it just takes time and knowledge of how to do it well. Without knowledge of how to make unfiction correctly, things can go wrong; for example, if it’s an Arg, it could be too hard to solve, or in general it could be too confusing to make sense of, because at its core, unfiction is just stories told in their own unique ways. An early form of unfiction is the Blair Witch project. A common way to identify an Arg is to find some form of code, whether it be in binary, Morse code, Caesar ciphers, or just letters hidden in different points in a video or across multiple videos. Just because you find something, it doesn’t always mean you found an arg; it could just be a fun easter egg from the creators.
As with anything else on the internet, there are countless content creators which cover unfiction. However, it can sometimes be hard to put together the story in a manner that can make sense to an average viewer that has no experience in this type of content. It is also challenging to tell when something is finished because a creator doesn’t always break character to say it’s finished, breaking the immersion, but you can often tell when a story is finished if there are no rabbit holes left unexplored and all questions answered. These creators also talk about other mysteries, not just unfiction, which makes sense seeing as there is such a similarity between unfiction and nonfiction, and there isn’t always enough content in a specific Arg to make a video on it that will be long enough for it to be entertaining for viewers.
With the internet becoming more prominent, there’s no better time to make your mark. As mentioned, unfiction is a good way to do that, but that doesn’t give you the ability to do whatever you want. People can take things the wrong way, or not understand that it is fake, so you can’t go too far with the story unless you really know what you’re doing. An alternative to this is that before starting, you can make some announcement on whatever medium you’re creating the story that what you’re creating is just a story without giving anything away, but that could break the immersion for some people. It’s also interesting to see what people are able to create, and the amount of layers a creator can put new information in, not just code after code, but having to go back multiple steps to a previous clue in order to gain new information, and more progress towards completing the arg. Args are always a team effort, because someone might have access to tools or knowledge to progress that you might not have access to. In the end, Args are fun experiences to create or play, and unfictions are similar in that it’s fun to watch and try to piece together.