Call for ARG Academics

Please distribute the following call to places you think appropriate:


Needed: Academics who have investigated Alternate Reality Games

I’m writing a section on ARGs and Academia for the upcoming International Game Developers Association Alternate Reality Game Special Interest Group Whitepaper (IGDA ARG SIG). IÂ’m after approaches from all fields using all sorts of methodologies, and by researchers at different levels of candidacy and postdoctoral status. Since there are many investigations in development around the world I’m including unpublished insights and findings along with published ones.

For your information, here is part of the abstract of the section:

Alternate Reality Games have captured the imagination of players and academics from its beginning. Academics have analysed the form through comparative analysis with other arts types both contemporary and historical; have employed the aesthetics of ARGs as illustrations of cultural phenomena; have utilised ARGs to interrogate the nature of reality and fiction; utilised ARGs design for pedagogical applications and have also proposed reframings of methodologies in light of the unconventional form. Consistently, however, they have tried to understand the emergence of this form. Some of these academics are players, some are not. Some are independent scholars, some have made ARGs a subject of a PhD, the PhD or a post-doctoral investigation. Papers have been given at conferences, in journals and articles offered online. Their investigations into what an ARG is, the implications of the form on entertainment, the design of ARGs and the creative heritage of this form provide well researched and measured considerations that offer unique contributions for the benefit of players, designers, researchers, industry and media.

I have already contacted some academics around the world but IÂ’m sure there are those I have overlooked in error and those I am not aware of. Either way, if youÂ’re an academic who has investigated ARGs, in any capacity, I want to you to contact me! I’ll be gathering this information over the next month. Email Christy Dena at cdena @

Hope to hear from you soon,



Mobiles interacting with (previously) non-networked media

How do you get information from a poster, a billboard, a product on a shelf or a tree to your mobile phone? Well, here are some ways:

  • Bluecasting: Viacom Outdoors launched a bluecasting campaign for Channel 4’s Four Docs program (I’ve spoken about this before). There is also a company called Hypertag offering the same service.
  • Software to read QR codes have been used in Japan and help people access URLs for products; like Semacode. Both of these have generators and decoders on the web as well.
  • Using existing technologies: SMS and email is PayPal Mobile and mcode (that I’ve spoken about before).
  • And then there is RFID. Though I cannot recall how the information gets to a phone…
  • And then there is also GPS devices, or ones that track what mobile tower you’re using, that trigger an SMS when you’re in an area.
  • Taking a picture of a barcode and having a barcode on your phone that can be scanned.

I haven’t bothered to go through the tons of locative arts projects I’ve got catalogued but is that all? I’m interested in which are the most effective commercially, than for a one-off art project.

Lost Game, the other type of game

Ubisoft will be bringing out the Lost videogame next year. I’ve been looking at game adaptations a lot lately and found Alice’s comments at Wonderland interesting:

I think TV conversions make far more sense than movie conversions, seeing as the movie’s shelf life is often mere weeks, whereas a successful show series can run and run. Episodic gaming sounds interesting. There’s all sorts of opportunities for weaving storylines across platforms, and embedding clues or whatnot in each, pointing to storylines in the other. Tricksy, but different. And if anyone’s likely to make a tv-to-game conversion interesting, it’s the Lost folks: their attention to detail is magnificent.

Although she may of missed the news about the Lost ARG (I’ll drop a line just in case), the point about TV to game adaptations making more sense. Especially if you have episodic gaming alongside TV episodes…and if you get them to change each other, then you’ve got something really interesting.