“Assuming that all ARG players have large blocks of time to dedicate to your game is a dangerous assumption that limits your audience.”—
Alternate Reality Games, rather than requiring an alternate life with lots of free time, should fit into daily life. Sine qua non if ARGs are ever to make it from our Storytelling lab to our Story World.
Here’s more from Michael Anderson’s call to arms to ARG developers.
Every ARG should have actionable and entertaining elements that can be enjoyed with relatively little knowledge of the game’s intricacies. And the best ARGs tend to provide these opportunities at regular intervals. In Must Love Robots, players were given the opportunity to save (or destroy) robot-kind by mixing up a suicide soda at Subway by pressing 8335 (or 5338) and posting the video on YouTube. In Chain Factor, players could uncover error message puzzles and control the fate of the world by playing the highly addictive flash game, Drop7. And in Repo Men, players were provided a steady stream of photographs and videos to parse for clues that might lead to capturing the four runners. All of these opportunities involved negligible time commitments on the part of players, with the potential for substantial rewards with regards to advancing the plot.
Not a gamer? Don’t let the G in ARG fool you. Alternate Reality Games aren’t just about play. They’re about bringing narrative to life by making stories - their discovery, shaping and telling - part of everyday life. Now in the R&D pipeline at our Storytelling lab.
We’ll let wikipedia take it from here:
An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform, often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell a story that may be affected by participants’ ideas or actions.
The form is defined by intense player involvement with a story that takes place in real-time and evolves according to participants’ responses, and characters that are actively controlled by the game’s designers, as opposed to being controlled by artificial intelligence as in a computer or console video game. Players interact directly with characters in the game, solve plot-based challenges and puzzles, and often work together with a community to analyze the story and coordinate real-life and online activities. ARGs generally use multimedia, such as telephones, email and mail but rely on the Internet as the central binding medium.