Serious ARG: “Let’s Change the Game”

Adrian Hon, ARG veteran player and designer (was with Mind Candy for Perplex City, now in Six to Start), has founded an altruistic ARG competition (text from email to the IGDA ARG SIG listserv):

This is a serious game with a difference. Not only will we be measuring its success *directly* through how much money it manages to raise, but we’re inviting teams from around the world to submit game designs. The team behind the winning design, as chosen by judges who include Sean Stewart, Rhianna Pratchett and James Wallis, will then be invited to develop the game.

They’ll have guidance and advice from the judges, plus the full resources of Cancer Research UK; that’s over 600 stores, monthly TV ads, hundreds of races and live events, and mailings going out to over 20 million people. It could be the biggest ARG, ever – and we’re giving new designers the chance to create it.

As for funding, I’m donating £1000 ($2000) towards the development of the ARG. It may not be enough, and hopefully we’ll get in-kind donations from other sources, but it’s my belief that this £1000 will be multiplied many times by the ARG into a much larger donation for Cancer Research UK.

We’re really excited about this project, not only because it has the potential to help cancer research, but it’ll also help provide experience to aspiring game designers. People always used to ask me how they could become ARG designers, and I would always say that they should try and gain experience – but with such a small field, the only way to do that is through grassroots games. While people might have plenty of time to volunteer, grassroots games still cost *some* money which people often can’t spare. This is a way to give lots of people experience in thinking about game design, and one team the opportunity to make a really significant game.

I’m very pleased with the way that Cancer Research UK have gotten behind this project. It’s a big organisation, and big organisations are prone to ‘not invented here’ syndrome; however, the idea of an ARG that will combine every arm of the charity has really caught on, and I think there’s a real opportunity for something amazing to happen here.

Anyway, there’s plenty more information at

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