In the early stages of preparation for his TEDxSeattle talk on “The Future of Storytelling,” Elan is obsessed with the image of the horseless carriage, and it’s as an apt metaphor. In the early stages of exploration, the identity of something new is not yet understood or established, so we use the language of the past to intellectually encompass the future. Even further, we use the symbols of the past to iterate what we think will be the future.
Let me be more illustrative: The “Horseless Carriage” is the name for a car in the world of the horse. The “Alternate Reality Game” is the name for a story/game/something whose characters may or may not inhabit physical bodies and whose setting may or may not exist within the boundaries of reality or imagination…in the world that accepts a distinction between those two states.