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Monday, September 26, 2011

Are Alternate Reality Games The Future? - Features Series at GameSpot by Laura Parker


In the summer of 2004, unsuspecting movie-goers in theatres across America witnessed the beginnings of a new form of interactive storytelling hidden inside the debut trailer for Bungie's Halo 2. Standing in place of the customary Xbox logo at the trailer's end were three little words, responsible for stirring the imaginations of over two and a half million people around the world: "I Love Bees".

The I Love Bees marketing campaign for Halo 2 was one of the earliest and most successful examples of alternate reality gaming, objective-based experiences that bring together treasure hunting, puzzle solving, and interactive storytelling in one single, ambitious human experiment. Although alternate reality games (ARGs) began life as mere experiments testing the idea of using gameplay fundamentals in the real world, their ability to engage public imagination and target the innate human desire to play together has proved them to be a highly innovative method of interactive storytelling that is finding both commercial and artistic success. ARGs are the perfect distraction for an audience ready to embrace a new kind of social interaction, shaped by social networks and the popularity of mass casual gaming and driven by technological convergence. So what are ARGs exactly, and how do they work? Does their potential lie exclusively in the world of video game advertising, or does it stretch across other media? And will pushing immersion to this kind of level only serve to highlight the limitations of video games as a medium?

In this feature, GameSpot AU looks at the beginnings of ARGs and analyses their potential impact on the future of the video game industry and its adoption in wider artforms.

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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