Serious Games - ARGs
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Alternate Reality Games
Chad HaefeleReference Librarian for Emerging Technologies, Davis Library
[email protected] online:
The Beast 2001, A.I. Movie poster:
What is an ARG?
An immersive storytelling experience Multimedia The real world is the publishing medium Collaborative
“No one knows everything, everyone knows something, all knowledge resides in humanity”
Pierre Levy, Collective Intelligence
Example: I Love Bees 2004, promoted Halo 2
Example: Last Call Poker
2005, promoted Gun
Example: The Dark Knight
Grassroots/Self Sustaining ARGs
Metacortechs – 2003 Perplex City – 2005
“Rabbit Hole”: The method of an ARG’s launch
“Puppet Master” (PM): A person running an ARG
“This is not a game”: Many ARGs don’t explicitly admit they are games.
Tiers of play
Anatomy of a puzzle
Mysterious audio file: rf992388ls.mp3
One spectrograph later…
Anatomy of a live event
Synchronous vs. Asychronous
Players can come together
Players can collaborate apart
‘Viral’ vs. ‘Experience’ vs. ‘Game’
Same tools used in all three
‘Viral’ is often a one-time event or production
‘Experience’ is a trail of puzzles & interactions, linear, repeatable
‘Game’ is more collaborative, longer term
Swag! Recognition Immersion ‘Wow’ factor Interesting stories
Serious Game: Year Zero
2007, Nine Inch Nails Civil Resistance
Serious Game: World Without Oil
2007, non-promotional http://worldwithoutoil.org/ Asychronous, collaborative, explicitly
educational Worked on a limited budget See also: RubysBequest.org
Serious game: Skeleton Chase
IU Bloomington, Fall 2008 Structured around physical
Serious Game: Ghosts of a Chance
Smithsonian, 2008 www.GhostsofaChance.com
Teaching about issues
Players re-interpret their lives Imagining the issues inspires real thinking
Information Literacy ACRL Info Literacy standards (in part): Students should be able to…
"Recognize that existing information can be combined with original thought, experimentation, and/or analysis to produce new information."
"Identify the value and differences of potential resources in a variety of formats (multimedia, database, website, book)"
"Create a system for organizing information"
"Utilize technology for studying the interaction of ideas and other phenomena"
"Validate understanding and interpretation of the information through discourse with other individuals…"
"Apply new and prior information to the planning and creation of a particular product or performance."
"Manipulate digital text, images, and data, as needed, transferring them from their original locations and formats to a new context."
Expose a player to new ideas and potential for learning, without forcing it on them (source: http://www.edge-online.com/blogs/the-power-tangential-learning )
ARGs can take it even further: learn new skills along the way
So you want to play an ARG…
Experiences: www.EagleEyeFreeFall.com www.Love-Resurrected.com
Community: Unforums: http://forums.unfiction.com/forums/ www.ARGN.com
Ongoing ARG: www.RubysBequest.org
So you want to make an ARG...
Allow far more time than you think Complete everything in advance Target a core audience to start Structure around the tiers of play Story is key Monitor your community of players
For further reading
Dena, Christy. "Emerging Participatory Culture Practices: Player-Created Tiers in Alternate Reality Games." Convergence 14.1 (2008): 41-57.
Kim, Jeffrey Y., Jonathan P. Allen, and Elan Lee. "ALTERNATE REALITY GAMING. (Cover Story)." Communications of the ACM 51.2 (2008): 36-42.
Szulborski, Dave. This is Not a Game : A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming. [Pennsylvania]: New-Fiction Pub., 2005.
IU Bloomington gets $185k grant- http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/8300.html
The Power of Tangential Learning - http://www.edge-online.com/blogs/the-power-tangential-learning