Lost' fans can get lost in a game By Lia Miller http://news.com.com/Lost+fans+can+get+lost+in+a+game/2100-1026_3-6064123.html Story last modified Mon Apr 24 08:10:51 PDT 2006 ABC's hit show "Lost" will end its second season on May 24 with a two-hour season finale. But plans to keep ardent fans happy during the summer reruns are under way. "The Lost Experience," an interactive, multiplatform game, will begin in early May and echo the story of the TV show, which follows a group of people whose airplane crashes on an enchanted island full of supernatural mysteries and threats. The game, of a genre called alternate-reality games, is a multimedia treasure hunt that makes use of e-mail messages, phone calls, commercials, billboards and fake Web sites that are made to seem real. The first successful such game was used to promote the Steven Spielberg film "A.I." What's different about "The Lost Experience," which will feature new characters, is that it is being devised by the show's writers, not by marketers, according to Michael Benson, a senior vice president at ABC. He said broadcasters from around the world would release clues in a variety of formats and that players would have to join forces online to solve them. Mr. Benson also said that any new information or clues revealed in the Lost Experience would be applicable to the TV show's story as well. "You have to give the audience something to connect to. I want to prove to the audience that this is something they will enjoy, that is organic to the show," he said. "I don't want the audience to feel like 'they are just selling to me or marketing to me.' " Carlton Cuse, a writer and executive producer of "Lost," who is also one of the creators of "The Lost Experience," said that the idea was conceived at a lunch that included Mr. Benson and Damon Lindelof, one of the show's creators. "We wanted to tell stories in a nontraditional way, and there were certain stories that Damon and I were interested in telling that don't exactly fit into the television show." He is also enthusiastic that the game will give fans the opportunity to engage more fully in the story. "We purposely design the show with a big amount of ambiguity so people can theorize about what a certain scene means. This allows the fans to participate in the process of discovery." The game will start on May 3. "Watch the May 3rd episode very carefully," Mr. Cuse said. "You can TiVo it, but don't skip the commercials."