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.

4 Replies

  • Hello,

    I am from the University of the West of England ( doing a course called Media Practice. We are currently producing an online multimedia documentary project for part of our second year, and have been trying to incorporate some of the arg gaming structure into our narrative. Obviously we will not be able to use the same level of communicative interaction as a proffessionally produced arg would, but the concepts of what this new genre is trying to do excites us.
    What we want to do is a game where the user will be set to do different tasks based on skills which they will be learning and having to remember and refer back to throughout. If they do not involve themselves with little clues and detailes of the information they’re given they will not be able to complete the game.
    It holds a very simple structure at the moment, and we are still in the research and planning stage. Any ideas or feedback on how to incorporate more of the themes for arg’s? Any comments will be greatly appreciated

  • Hello Sofie, apologies for the late response. It sounds great what you’re doing and I’m happy to chat further with you. I think an ARG and Educators listserv and wiki would be good so a range of educators can share each others’ insights. I’ve started a wiki and am hoping to get the email list going soon too.

  • Hi Christy, Who are the educators in QLD? I spent most of 2005 living in Brisbane and am still doing my research under the watchful eye of QUT Creative Industries faculty, despite working back here in Perth.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.