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argGAMES

argGAMES

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Published by albrackin
"Appendix B: Index of Alternate Reality Games" compiled in 2007 by Dr. Adam L. Brackin in the Ph.D Dissertation "TRACKING THE EMERGENT PROPERTIES OF THE COLLABORATIVE ONLINE STORY “DEUS CITY” FOR TESTING THE STANDARD MODEL OF ALTERNATE REALITY GAMES"
"Appendix B: Index of Alternate Reality Games" compiled in 2007 by Dr. Adam L. Brackin in the Ph.D Dissertation "TRACKING THE EMERGENT PROPERTIES OF THE COLLABORATIVE ONLINE STORY “DEUS CITY” FOR TESTING THE STANDARD MODEL OF ALTERNATE REALITY GAMES"

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Published by: albrackin on Sep 01, 2008
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APPENDIX BINDEX OF ALTERNATE REALITY GAMES
The following list is intended to provide a quick reference for those readers unfamiliar with most or all of the Alternate Reality Games discussed above and a few other significant popular ARGs not discussed. This is not an exhaustive or comprehensivehistorical list of popular or prominent ARGs by any means, but is a good starting pointshould someone care to take up the task. Though I am familiar with many of thesegames myself, from my own limited perspective, it is the nature of ARG to be acollaborative work of fiction, and the true scope of a game often only becomes clear once the community bands together to write game summaries and collect the manythousands of personal experiences into a coherent storyline. As such, I used summariesfrom the IGDA ARG whitepaper, the ARG network, the despoilers from various ARG
wiki 
sites and the new despoiler.org, in the case of corporate and
Commercial ARGs
theconcise (if somewhat biased) respective sites of the developer, and in many cases theWikipedia in addition to my own (also biased) experiences to compile this Appendix B.
“Art of the Heist”
Haxan 2005: A high profile commercial campaign created for Audi tolaunch the A3. Early in the game, a security camera recording was discovered whichshowed a shadowy villain stashing pieces of information inside 6 different Audi A3 cars.The cars, throughout the course of the game, were all tracked down, to get back theinformation hidden in them. The game involved, loosely, three layers of interaction:character development and back story, file and password cracking, and live eventretrievals. Players who were involved in the live events received special pins, andcomplimentary cell phones.
“The Beast”
42 Entertainment, 2001: An award winning commercial campaign built andexecuted for Warner Brothers to promote Steven Spielberg’s film, AI: ArtificialIntelligence. The first truly successful ARG, It created mainstream awareness of themovie as well as the ARG genre. Developed by Jordan Weisman and his team while atMicrosoft, The Beast was a sub-dermal narrative that drew consumers into the world of  AI, and made them active participants in the fiction before the film’s release. Over 3million people actively participated in the game, playing in dozens of countries aroundthe globe. Web communities with hundreds of thousands of members were self-built toplay, discuss, and solve “The Beast.”
 
136
“Catching the Wish” (CTW2)
Dave Szulborski, 2006: Follow up
Non-Commercial ARG
 to the wildly successful 2003 "Chasing the Wish,” CTW2 also started with fictional web-designer Dale Sprague, who this time, has created the graphic novel comic book to bewidely available from New Fiction. While many of the characters from the 2003 ARGhad the same name and were in similar positions to the original game, many major differences in the characters existed and it was no straightforward follow up to theoriginal game.
“Cathy’s Book” (CB)
42 Entertainment, 2006: Billed as “the first fully immersivemultimedia book experience,” CB was a combination of web sites, cell phone numbers,and physical clues—all within a believably realistic commercial novel. The story starts inSan Francisco, where high school senior Cathy, while tracking her deadbeat boyfriend,tumbles into a world of Chinese myth, high-tech misdeeds, and immortal beings. Sherecorded her adventures in her journal, the
trailhead 
for the game, upon which almostevery page was laced with “extra doodles, illustrations, and snarky side-comments for 
eal-world 
investigation and
in-game
fun.” After a pre-sales order of 120,000 copies, itbecame a New York Times bestseller in its first full week on bookstore shelves.
“Chasing the Wish” (CtW)
Dave Szulborski 2003:
Grassroots ARG
which used anoriginal graphic novel as a delivery method, a groundbreaking immersive and interactivecomic book, integrated with an online Alternate Reality Game about a web-designer named Dale Sprague with financial problems who awakens in a mental hospital with noidea how he got there, and is told that his family is dead from a car crash he doesn’tremember. It was followed up by the ARG “Catching the Wish” three years later.
“Cloverfield” (1-18-08)
2007-2008: The highly mysterious game and extendedexperience surrounding the January 2008 release of the JJ Abrams monster movieCloverfield, which in itself was filled with subtle clues and hidden details for the viewer to find.
“the Committee of the Sedulous Amalgamation” (tCotSA)
Mark Heggen, 2006-2007: Once referred to as the most successful alternate
trailhead 
ever by Unfiction,tCotSA was designed as a small scale
grassroots
game in its own right, created and runby the talented Heggen about a secret society, which relied heavily on
real-world 
itemsand the US Postal system. The game began with as few as 25 players and an unknownnumber of casual followers, but was later revealed to be alternate point of entry for DC,a fact which drew the attention of thousands of ARG participants and inspired a hugesurge in the DC game on the level of thousands of new players within a few weeks time.
“Conspiracy Asylum” (CA)
Fundi Games, 2008: At the time of writing, CA is our ownexperimental
non-commercial 
, player-driven
timewaster 
 
diversion
, set in an adjacentgame-space as DC, with a number of character crossovers and plot devices which mayeventually lead into a
trailhead 
for DC II sometime in 2009. Its greatest potentialsignificance lays in the potential ARG sequel status of a shared
game space
with a prior title.
 
137
“Dark Dealings” (DD)
2008: Dark Dealings was a short Grassroots game run by agroup of students and friends centering on conspiracy theories and secret corporatestrategies to rule the world. The classic structure of this casual game centered aroundsolving online puzzles from photographic images and entering solutions on the gamewebsite. Notable because players interacted with internet personas to unravel a meta-narrative, which intertwined the supposed “real” lives of the puppetmasters into anapparent game-jack, instead of a formal ending.
“Dead Man’s Tale” (DMT)
42 Entertainment, 2006: Dead Man’s Tale was acommercial online interactive adventure that played out on Microsoft Windows LiveMessenger and featured story experiences based on Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean:Dead Man’s Chest in advance of that film’s worldwide launch. DMT included a dozenflash games / interactive puzzles, and was designed to appeal both to casual users andenthusiasts. For those who made it to the end, the reward was excusive and never-before-seen footage from the movie. More than three and a half million unique peopleparticipated in Dead Man’s Tale and encouraged nearly 200,000 wholly new downloadsof the Windows Live Messenger platform.
“Deus City” (DC)
Fundi Games, 2006-2007. My own year long
non-commercial 
 campaign centering on the results of a team of students which inadvertently madecontact with a highly technological and personally invasive Orwellian City thirty yearsinto the future, within which a serial killer ran rampant in the name of a revolutionaryunderground movement, thus causing players to have to choose sides, solve themystery and change the future. The game was unique for its use of a morallyambiguous “karma” system, use of a virtual credit economy for pacing, and dualstoryline which forced players to pick sides. Over the course of the year, the main sitehad close to 41,000 unique visitors and almost 1,500 registered users who activelyplayed the game, solved puzzles, and interacted with characters.
“edoc laundry” (edoc)
EDOC laundry, 2006-2008
:
For this Non-Corporate ARG ElanLee and Dawne Weisman founded edoc laundry, a company designed to produce ARGs using clothes as the primary platform, most notably the Poor Richard Band onlinemurder mystery. Every garment is embedded with hidden messages within the graphicand details of the clothes. Consumers decipher the codes hidden within the garmentsand input the results into the game's main website to reveal pieces of a story about themurder of the band manager.
 “Find 815” (F815)
Hi Res/ABC 2008-?: The name of the ABC “LOST” TV show’s fourthseason extended experience campaign for what was previously known as “The LOSTExperience” ARG.
“Heroes 360” (H360, Primatech)
NBC, 2006-2007: A digital extension of the NBC TVseries “Heroes” that explored the Heroes’ universe. The name was changed in season 2to “Heroes Evolutions.” It was a somewhat superficial series of show-related websites,character blogs, and downloadable content, H360 was proclaimed as a “dry run” for thesecond season which is being called “Heroes Evolutions.”

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