ARGN Netcast

The Alternate Reality Gaming Network has started a podcast, well, netcast. It looks like they will be delivering ARG commentary every week, which is great news. Although the style of the show is casual, subjective chat, there are some gems for would-be ARG designers, researchers and marketers out there. So far there are two episodes up. Good luck ARGN! I should get off my butt and publish my podcast which is just waiting to be released. News very soon. I promise.

Check out the ARGN Netcast.

The Ultimate New Marketing Company: Crayon

When I started in the digital effects industry as a producer I noticed that the best people in the business were distributed across companies, states and the world. You never had more a couple in the one company. I remember working discussing with AIMIA back then in the early 90s about how they can group these talented people together. This sort of concern persists, in many sectors. Well, just recently, one of the most high-profile people in new marketing, Joseph Jaffe, decided to gather up all the experts he knew to form a company (or uncompany as Jaffe likes to say). Here is the team: Michael Denton; Neville Hobson, Shel Holtz, Gary Cohen, Joseph Jaffe, Aaron Greenberger, C.C. Chapman and Chris Trela. Now, to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t of blogged about this company if it wasn’t for C.C. Chapman. He is new to the area but has a good mind. I respect his views and will continue to show support of his ventures even though I didn’t receive an invite to their Second Life launch. * sniffle *
The company should do some interesting things. Good luck guys. (Guys, no girls? Hmmm.)

Check out Crayon now, keep on eye on their blog, and if you’re in Second Life, their island.

ARGs in Education

I found out about an ARG that had been created by some educators in Queensland and covered their research in the forthcoming (I hope it comes out soon) IGDA ARG SIG Whitepaper. Well, just yesterday I flew down to Melbourne to be the external assessor for a class that had the project of creating an ARG (well, “CROSS-MEDIA FICTIONAL WORLDS”, but they could choose ARGs and they did). They were seperated into two 20-person teams and had 5 weeks to conceive and design and implement an ARG. They are 3rd year students for a MultiMedia and Digital Arts design course run by Troy Innocent at Monash University. I was so delighted to see what they had done. It was really interesting to see the difficulties they had with managing the magic-circle (the game-play space) because they designed it so the general public could find out about their ARGs. So, they had people ‘play’ the game without knowing it was real. The designers had real problems then, managing posts from people who were genuinely involved. This is a problem for games that recruit participators through public spaces and not through ARG gateways such as ARGN. I had a similiar problem with the mini ARG I created for an industry residential. SMS and other emails were so real the participators didn’t realise it wasn’t. Now, this is fun when you want to be immersed, when you opt-in, but for those people who are unaware of the fictional status and who are not aware of ‘alternate reality’ techniques, it can be quite disconcerting (until they find out it is not real, and then they love it). There is a big difference between employing alternate reality aesthetics and having a constructed world operate as if it is real.

It was so exciting to see alternate reality games being created as class projects, hopefully this is a sign of many more to come.