ALTERNATE REALITY GAMES overview
“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 typified 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. 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.”- Wikipedia
The physical component of ARGs is similar in many ways to geocaching. Those who are familiar with this recreational hobby will be especially drawn to this storytelling method.
Lesson Plan Overview
United Colonies ARG- PART 2.
This was a truly transmedia experience that ran alongside and beyond school, was student-driven, advised by but not controlled by the teachers, and not officially within the regular curriculum.
Nonetheless, it gripped a selection of extraordinary students who were not only deeply engaged but exhibiting/practicing some of the most highly desirable skills and competencies -- learning outcomes often considered incredibly hard to capture -- including self-motivation, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and knowledge transfer.
1. Solve various cryptographic puzzles through knowledge of history, science, and media literacy concepts explored in class.
2. Develop creative-problem solving skills through deciphering a variety of cryptographic puzzles, including ones that employ invisible ink, Caesar Ciphers, Pig Latin, and American Sign Language.
3. Formulate working solutions to the various puzzles, revising them along the way through communication with peers and analysis of textual, visual, and physical evidence.
TIME REQUIRED: Year-long participation
PUZZLE CREATION: 500+ hours
MATERIALS: Paper, Computer, Photoshop, Illustrator, Oven Baked Clay, Burlap, Canvas, Pencils, Paper, Red Film, Pinecone, Smartphone or Tablet, AURASMA Augmented Reality software, Hollowed out book, Ultraviolet Ink, Ultraviolet Bulb, Stamping Kit (Alphabet), Permanent Black Ink Pad
The game continues
Valentine's Day was the reintroduction of the ARG. The students were curious and eager to play again.
Since the intent was to give all of the students as many chances to participate as possible, 38 "Valentines" were distributed.
This was a huge hit!
The envelopes contained six hearts that had been cut in half. Each student had to assemble these scrambled hearts.
A piece of transparent red plastic was included in each envelope. When placed over the hearts, it highlighted the word fragments that were part of the puzzle.
Combined, they spelled out "Who was the first woman in space?"
You can watch as the students have an "ah-ha" moment and make the connection in the Student Highlights video in United Colonies Module 1.
The game culminated with an augmented reality final clue.
Upon scanning the Eye logo with a smartphone and the Aurasma app, a final AR puzzle was revealed.
(Can you guess what it says?)
I hope you've enjoyed this play by play- if you have any questions, or get stuck, feel free to reach out to me.
History of Alternate REality Gaming
If you're curious to learn more about the history of Alternate Reality Gaming, you might find this helpful. I've put together this primer for those who have never encountered ARGs before.
The TINAG (This Is Not a Game) philosophy
Setting the ARG apart from other games is the "This Is Not A Game" philosophy, which keeps a serious tone that lends reality to the activities. The game should not provide an obvious set of rules to the players.
Precursors to ARGs
●1997 movie The Game
Some popular and groundbreaking ARGs
●In 2001, to market the movie A.I.: Artificial Intelligence . An elaborate murder mystery played out across hundreds of websites, email messages, faxes, fake ads, and voicemail messages. At the end of the trailer for the movie AI: Artificial Intelligence, the phrase “This Is Not A Game” flashed in red. A large and extremely active fan community called. "the Cloudmakers", formed to analyze and participate in solving the game.
●SAMMEEEEES one of the first grassroots ARG’s, lots of interactions with profiles on mySpace,etc
●I Love Bees was an interactive narrative set in 2004, and a War Of The Worlds-style radio drama set in the future, the latter of which was broken into 30-60 second segments and broadcast over ringing payphones worldwide. The game pushed players outdoors to answer phones, create and submit content, and recruit others.
●http://www.metacortechs.com/ ARG for 3rd Matrix movie
●Intel “The Chase” Adventure ARG- multiple digital platforms, successful ARG campaign for commercial campaign
●Flynn’s Arcade Tron Legacy promo at Comicon
● Nine Inch Nails released the album Year Zero, in which fans discovered leaked songs on flash drives at concerts.
1. Creativity and Innovation
Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processesCreate original works as a means of personal or group expressionIdentify trends and forecast possibilities
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigationPlan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a projectCollect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisionsUse multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions