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Week 1 - Intro to Alternate Reality Games

Here are a few Blogs and articles to get us started on the discussion on Alternative Reality Games:


Aevalle--It’s really not a single blog post nor article, but I stumbled across ARGnet a little while ago and that has a lot of stuff about newsworthy ARGs, how to play them, etc. in it.  ARGology’s FAQ area might also clear some things up for folks (

Abacus: Was looking for a site this morning and found: also found this from Jane McGonigal:

Jerry: The article I’ve had the most opportunity to study has been the Wikipedia entry for ARGs:  I still think it’s a good primer on the topic, covering basic definition, terminology, concepts, comparisons with other entertainment/gaming activities, basic design, etc.

Kae: I’m hoping I’m not stealing this from Grid - I saw she tweeted it. I am actually stealing this from Gray Mills. Alternate Reality Games: Daily Narratives Turn Into Interactive Cross-Media Games (Part I) I think it fits our group since we have a number of people who have looked at other games and virtual worlds.

Grid:  A Blog that peeks behind the curtain for details concerninggoing down the rabbit hole,  "puppetmastering" and surviving an ARG for learning.

So please add any intro to ARG articles or posts you believe should be here. So in your opinion what makes an ARG different from other games or educational activities?

What are the essential elements?





Task Discussion

  • graymills   May 9, 2012, 4:17 a.m.

    Lots of stuff on Slideshare. This one looks at the basics of designing a simple transmedia storytelling experience rather than an ARG per se but there are useful overlaps.

  • graymills   May 8, 2012, 12:55 p.m.

    More introductory articles

    The final article mentioned by Kae comes with two companion articles:

    Again, apologies for the advert-heavy presentation. The original paper on which the articles are based is no longer accessible afaik.

  • Gridjumper   May 8, 2012, 9:18 a.m.

    According to jane McGonigal 3 Essential Game Elements are:

    • Goal
    • Rules
    • Feedback

    These can be creatively defined but are present in all games, she says.  So as we move ahead and based on the conversation last night, tell me if this is right....anyone...please.

    • The puppetmaster knows the goal but it may not be clear to participants - they need to figure it out - part of the game
    • The Rules are that you need to follow the trail...breadcrumbs to figure out what is going on.
    • Feedback comes to the participant as clues becme clear, they can be intrinsic or extrinsic.

    Is what makes the ARG distinct from other games is a transmedia approach and the nebulous nature of real and not real?  The part that keeps participnts guessing.

  • graymills   May 8, 2012, 4:08 a.m.

    What are the essential elements?

    I would say a network of nodes that students navigate, said nodes drawn from multiple media (including RL) and providing an access point to other nodes.

    Going from the Wikipedia article, most control (e.g. of NPCs) resides with a puppetmaster rather than being done via AI. While I can envisage some of that, I have no idea how I could scale the ARG without some recourse to AI or other forms of automation. Again, I'm probably jumping ahead...

  • graymills   May 8, 2012, 4:30 a.m.
    In Reply To:   graymills   May 8, 2012, 4:08 a.m.

    oh yeah, and a narrative (which either is or translates into the network of nodes)