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Alternate Reality Game

Alternate Reality Gaming or ARG is getting a lot of attention in the gaming industry press these days.

An ARG is a game that deliberately blurs the line between the in game and out of game experiences. Often events that happen inside the game reality will 'reach out' into the players life in order to bring them together. Elements of the plotline may be provided to the player in almost any form, some of those used have been:

  • e-mail
  • websites, both those obviously connected with the game and those innocent looking
  • phone calls to a players home, cell or work phone
  • snail mail
  • newspaper articles or classifieds
  • chat/aim/icq[?] and so on - the games have been known to initiate conversation
  • IRC channels

These games often have a specific goal of not only involving the player with the staff or fictional characters but of connecting them to each other. Many game puzzles can be solved only by the collective efforts of multiple players. Players however may be driven by conflicting motivations and thus not always be trustworthy.

Brief history

  • One of the earliest large scale examples of this was the EA[?] game known as Majestic[?]. Though the game itself suffered commercial failure and had significant problems, it remains a useful initial case study for the genre.

  • The most successful ARG to date has been Beast from Microsoft, a game created to promote the movie A.I. and something of a cultural phenomena when it was released.



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