The hottest ARG ever: lonelygirl15

At this point, internet starlet Lonelygirl15 should need no introduction, least of all to net-savvy Joystiq readers. But if you've been asleep all summer, here's a brief intro: Lonelygirl15's Youtube videos have garnered over 18 million views. She's the second-most subscribed-to channel of all time on Youtube, and she's crazy cute to boot.

But she's not real. In fact, but she may be part of an alternate reality game (ARG).

Bree's ARG-ness is discussed in detail over at the Alternate Reality Gaming Network. Admittedly, the evidence that she's part of some big ARG (ZOMG! The Halo 3 launch?!) is rather flimsy, but if we went with more mainstream conspiracy theories, we couldn't very well cover her on Joystiq now, could we?

Whatever the outcome, this whole episode shows how powerful storytelling and internet video might be interwoven to create compelling new forms of gaming that entertain millions of people who don't normally consider themselves gamers. The interaction between whoever's producing these videos (the game master) and the millions of players is intricate, exciting, and very game-like at heart.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.