Alternate Reality Gaming, the new Educational Tool 12/05
What is ARG?
Alternate Reality Gaming is, according to CNET, ...an obsession-inspiring genre that blends real-life treasure hunting, interactive storytelling, video games and online community...
These games are an intensely complicated series of puzzles involving coded Web sites, real-world clues like the newspaper advertisements, phone calls in the middle of the night from game characters and more. That blend of real-world activities and a dramatic storyline has proven irresistible to many.
Usually free to play, ARG often have a specific goal of not only involving the player with the story and/or fictional characters but of connecting them to the real world and to each other. Many game puzzles can be solved only by the collaborative efforts of multiple players, sometimes requiring one or more players to get up from their computers to go outside to find clues or other planted assets in the real world.
For more information, see Sean Stewart's introduction and explanation of The Beast (the first mainstream Alternate Reality Game) >>
How to start?
If you're interested in diving into the world of Alternate Reality Gaming and just don't know how to get started, read Brooke Thompson's ARG Quickstart >>
ARG Future Opportunities
Adrian Hon of Mind Candy and Perplex Game fame, recently gave the following view of how ARGs might develop in the future...
ARGs, unlike most video games, are primarily focused on the story, and so they offer unique possibilities to advertisers whose products involve a story. ARGs have therefore been gaining the interest of television and similar media industries. Instead of simply promoting a product, an ARG can extend the story, fill in the gaps, and make players deeply invested in the fictional world.
There is great potential for traditional storytelling media like television to begin incorporating ARG-like elements and using different media to create exciting immersion. Instead of just using webpages, for instance, they could have radio stations interview fictional characters, 'the equivalent of having Harry Potter on CNN.' Using the tools developed by ARGs, stories can branch out and reach into people's lives.
Read the article on the Alternate Reality Gaming Network site >>
ARG for Learning
ARG will soon be utilised to engage students in learning scenarios. Individual or groups of students will be able to actively construct new knowledge as they interact within the ARG environment. Their knowledge will be strengthened when assisted by technology and their problem-solving skills, they move through the story, investigation, action and communication components of an ARG to construct the solution.
Redlaunch is actively pursuing gaming and in particular ARG, as a valid tool for learning and especially for outcomes-based competency assessment.
We invite educators and industry players to join us in working on an exciting trial. Email us today!