ARG’s and Education

I saw this in my aggregator today, Calling All ARG Academia.

With the Alternate Reality Gaming Special Interest Group whitepaper still in development, we have a request from our friend Christy Dena who writes extensively about ARG at her blog Cross-Media Entertainment.Needed: Academics who have investigated Alternate Reality Games
I'm writing a section on ARGs and Academia for the upcoming International Game Developers Association Alternate Reality Game Special Interest Group Whitepaper (IGDA ARG SIG). I'm after approaches from all fields using all sorts of methodologies, and by researchers at different levels of candidacy and postdoctoral status. Since there are many investigations in development around the world I'm including unpublished insights and findings along with published ones.

Well how very interesting, this is exactly what I was thinking quite sometime ago. Using ARG's in education seemed like a logical solution for teaching and meta teaching (teaching about how to teach someone else).

The post goes on…

Alternate Reality Games have captured the imagination of players and academics from its beginning. Academics have analysed the form through comparative analysis with other arts types both contemporary and historical; have employed the aesthetics of ARGs as illustrations of cultural phenomena; have utilised ARGs to interrogate the nature of reality and fiction; utilised ARGs design for pedagogical applications and have also proposed reframings of methodologies in light of the unconventional form. Consistently, however, they have tried to understand the emergence of thisform. Some of these academics are players, some are not. Some are independent scholars, some have made ARGs a subject of a PhD, the PhD or a post-doctoral investigation. Papers have been given at conferences, in journals and articles offered online. Their investigations into what an ARGis, the implications of the form on entertainment, the design of ARGs and the creative heritage of this form provide well researched and measured considerations that offer unique contributions for the benefit of players, designers, researchers, industry and media.

I'm going to subscribe to the Cross media blog for sure, its one of those areas I would like to keep my eyes on in the near future. Maybe a trend for the near future? Talking about ARGs for a moment, I've also been emailing a guy who commented on the runaway success of Perplex City (a ARG from a couple of great and clever english guys). He was talking about the need for Grassroots ARG's. So we've emailed back and forth a couple of times so far. TJ is his name and he's wrote a couple of interesting things.

Many of the staples of immersion have been done before, but just aren't commonly done, such as the pay phone calls, dead drop of items, having characters in the game contacting players directly instead of vice-versa.

I would like to see a greater emphasis on roleplayers acting as the characters, responding to emails, noticing players in the community and reaching out to them.

However, the step I am going farther is to branch out with factions. A couple games have promised an open-end to the game that players can change. We want to do the same, but go farther. Instead of a simple, direct puzzle hunt, what if the players are asked to step inside, investigate and then choose sides?

This is a real neat idea, kind of build the landscape and let people choose which sides they would like to be on in the landscape. The push and pull of each side would work to build up the narriative of the ARG.

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