After Now Archeology works on a completely different level. Basically the whole game is all about bringing content-information from the "real world" to the "game realm". There is no way the player can solve the puzzles of After Now Archeology without external research for information, or a good knowledge of various areas of science, culture and mythology. Well, brute force is possible even when writing Complete Shakespeare, but on practical level it is almost impossible to brute force the whole game.
But let's get a bit deeper to the levels and actions of import/export content through the magic circle.
I have put "gamer's knowledge" and "cultural influences" in parentheses, since they are somewhat vague. These are not planned import or exports. The gamers usually have some knowledge on how games work and what they are made of. Maybe knowing the movement rules of chess pieces could be count as gamer's knowledge. Games can also create cultural influences, e.g. bookshelves in the shapes of Tetris blocks are good examples of this. They are not planned by the game makers, but the players took something from the game and used it in another field of life. This happens quite a lot and now days it can also be planned. I am not sure if the merchandise belongs here (Angry Birds toys etc).
Atmospheric essences are something that game makers take from the real world, but use in the game just for aesthetic reasons. Some examples could be the Ionian pillars in Lemmings, or images from around Soviet Union in the non-diegetic UI area of Spectrum Holobyte's Tetris-version. This content has no specific gameplay effects, although the player can possibly interact with the content. The important thing is that even if the player recognizes the content, she can get no advantage from knowing the stuff.
Useful knowledge is something that player can profit, if she knows the content, but the game is still playable without that knowledge. The most obvious example is the music in Guitar Hero and Rock Band series. The player can play the game even if she does not know the songs. But knowing the music gives the player significant advantage over non-knowers. I am not sure, if knowing the cities of Project Gotham Racing, or Assassin's Creed -series is useful or is it just atmospheric, but at least the player can get a lot of joy from driving the cars in familiar surroundings or climbing on well known buildings.
Necessary knowledge is the area of After Now Archeology. It is also surprisingly rarely used in games. Basically the player can not progress in the game without bringing some knowledge from the outside world into the game realm. This may also work on physical level, but for now I have only been thinking of digital games. Of course the main influences of ANA, Timehunt and Torment puzzles are definitely build around this idea. But on very basic level, Carmen Sandiego -series utilizes some of these ideas. The game gives the player some hints ("The suspect drove away waving a flag of blue, white and red") and the player should figure out the country, where the suspect was heading for. On the other hand, I do not consider the puzzles of 7th Guest, Dr. Brain's Castle or Myst belonging to this category, since one can play the games without running for Google while playing.
Real world flavor - Augmented virtuality goes a bit away from the knowledge and towards some kind of physical and user-generated stuff. Right now I think of augmented virtuality as something real that is brought into the game's virtual world. This can be e.g. player's face on a game character (extremely hilarious in mobile version of Stair Dismount), but also those arty game projects, where e.g. the level for lemmings is built on a web camera image, making the player play Lemmings on her own body.
Last two imports, User generated content, goes even further. I have separated the planned use of in-game editors and making of game modifications, since there is a huge difference between the activity levels of the two. Making tracks or maps with a developer-made editor is an action planned by the developers. But making mods, changing textures, models etc. is not so planned. Sometimes it is made possible and easy by the devs, but the outcome can be completely unexpected and surprising.
On the export side, games have been used as a decoration in TV series, movies etc. This means you can see the game in the show, but the game itself has no function or significance within the story or narrative. A step deeper, games as content, makes the games as significant parts of the other-media experience. Quite often (Tron, Existenz...) movies do not use real games, but invent their own (which can become playable games through franchise development). Sometimes actual, real videogames take a central part in the plot. There have been games in some CSI-type series, but also in Reign Over Me, the game Shadow of the Colossus is in a central part. Going even deeper in the game as content, there are many movies and TV-series that have spun off from the games (Super Mario, Mortal Kombat, Max Payne...) And don't forget the game documents, like Indie Game: the Movie.
Learnt topics are something the player brings with him from the game world. This is obvious when we talk about educational games, since the main purpose of the games is to teach the player something. But this can also happen with purely entertaining games too. When playing Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, the player is given a truck load of information about ancient and renaissance Rome. The player can play the game without reading all the extra material about the society, families and buildings, but the game offers quite a lot of real information of the real places that are also incorporated in the game. Well, it also offers some alternative truths, so the player should not believe everything she is told.
When the game reaches outside the virtual realm, bringing gameplay elements to the real world, we are talking about augmented reality. In fanciest mode this means the game can mix the audiovisuals of the game with the audiovisual reality, i.e. when walking down the street, the player can face a Katamari or Cacodemon coming around the next street corner. From the puzzle/adventure side, In Memoriam sends the player some real e-mail and directs him to certain websites that have been created for the game. The connection between this, and Necessary knowledge is clearly visible, but the difference is that while the game reaches outside the regular on-screen box, all the content is still created by the game makers, while with necessary knowledge, the information and content is brought in from the external sources, like actual literature, art and movies.
In the end, there is are the community products coming from the game. With this I mean the screenshots, machinima, speedrun-videos, fan art etc. that is produced by the community, using the game as a tool or primary inspiration for creation.
Well, that's what I currently have there. It seems the model still needs some expanding, since I couldn't fit the easter eggs and secret messages of Fez (in-game content requiring extra-game tools to solve), Assassin's Creed (Subject 16 puzzles and their easter eggs) and Trials HD easter egg (more than just aesthetic values, but no gameplay relevance) here. But I will, since my graduation depends on this!
Coming soon(ish): analyzing different games using this content flow theory. And something about the reference games, other puzzles and phenomena.