Cheap to develop content for!—You don’t have to actually be a professional to create very professional looking websites, newsletters, videos, etc (b/c of programming languages, photoshop, after effects, etc.)
ARGs were born out of corporate promotion
People get obsessed with things (like Star Wars for instance) and really want to be a part of that world
ARGs play off people’s wish to immerse themselves in something magical in the real world—advertising that literally sucks the player in.
immersed the player in the fictional world around the time of Harvey Dent’s election (in between movies) - players are citizens of gotham
begins with website supporting Harvey dent ibelieveinharveydent.com, then a mock website in support ibelieveinharveydenttoo.com shows up and is revealed to be run by the Joker
whole network of sites branched out from this that players had to keep track of
Throughout the game players had to do things like go on scavenger hunts across the city in joker masks, pick up cakes from bakeries based on phone numbers they were given and find cell phones in the cakes, follow “gotham” newspapers to rat out crooked cops, etc.
Often much cheaper since designed by individuals or groups, but also need to work harder to hook enough people to move gameplay forward
Create a community of gameplay followers (people begin to know each other and designate tasks because there are fewer of them)
Games often made simply for the enjoyment and challenge sought by the creators
Created by Cloudmakers, an online community that grew out of fans of The Beast game made for AI
Cloudmakers helped to create a new forum specifically dedicated to Lockjaw called JawBreakers where people helped each other solve clues and discuss the game
This pioneer forum eventually led to forums like unfiction.com: the hub of ARG community discussion
Designed by Brooke Thompson for her alternate reality game design company
played utilizing the company intranet, it was intended to foster team building by creating an alternate world where miscommunication led to much more outrageous results
In designing an ARG, 3 main things must be kept in mind
Exposition + Interaction + Challenges
story has to be very rich and often complex since much of the gameplay is about piecing together a story rather than simply playing a game in a traditional sense.
Designed usually to begin quite vaguely and unfold as more info is discovered by players
Current world and backstory often created with things such as character blogs, in-world video segments (such as the humorous intro video to “This Is My Milwaukee”), in-world websites for corporations, etc.
This really immerses the player in the story
Interaction can be with
more importantly OTHER PLAYERS!
KEY: players need to feel as if their actions have some effect on the events and outcome of the game
Commonly done through chats, phone calls, email, blogs, and live events!