** Just Added in March 2009!: Stats about ARGs Around the World now here & here **
The following list provides information about the uptake, impact and awards garnered from ‘alternate reality games’ (ARGs). [Don’t know what ARGs are? Check out this entry at ARGology (with links to the Wikipedia definition etc).] I have gathered this information from published sources, preferencing of course information provided by the producers of the projects. Rather than list ‘top ARGs’, I’ve included whatever ARG I was able to find data on. I list them alphabetically because any grading of ARGs will be according to a set of criteria that is highly subjective. It is not a definitive list, but hopes to provoke one. Please let me know of any information I can add or alter. And, in the end, may this information be used for good and not evil. 🙂
ARGs in this compilation: The Art of the Heist; The Beast; Chasing the Wish; Ghost of a Chance; Heroes Evolutions/360 Experience; Hope is Missing; I Love Bees; Jamie Kane; Last Call Poker; Lockjaw; The Lost Experience; Majestic; Metacortechs; The Ocular Effect; Perplex City; Push, Nevada; ReGenesis Extended Reality Game I & II; The Rivard Project; Timely Persuasion; Un Homme mort; Urban Hunt; World Without Oil; Year Zero.
THE ART OF THE HEIST/THE ART OF THE H3IST
Art of the Heist: Commissioned by McKinney Silver for the US launch of the AudiA3 in 2005.
‘At the heart of the narrative were six new A3s containing coded plans for the largest art heist in history; however, one car contained the key to decrypting the information hidden in all the others, and the mystery surrounding the “heist” unfolded in real time over three months across the country. The Heists final chapter was played out in front of a live audience at the Viceroy Hotel in Los Angeles, where we finally discovered who the real villain was.’ (Campfire, no date)
2 million AudiUSA.com visitors (Campfire, no date)
500,000 story participants (McKinney-Silver, 2005)
10,000 leads to dealers (McKinney-Silver, 2005)
4,000+ test drives of Audi (McKinney-Silver, 2005)
1,025 cars sold (Campfire, no date)
By May 9, there were 125,000 followers of the websites and probably cost about $3-4 million (Kiley, 2005)
By Day 22: 203,000 visitors to StolenA3.com over the length of the campaign, staying for an average of 5 minutes (McKinney-Silver, 2005)
Online advertising generated 91,000 participants. 31% of this traffic was “buying indicator”. “This percentage represents the most qualified online-ad generated audience of any Audi car launch.” (McKinney-Silver, 2005)
By Day 60 of the campaign, close to 2 million unique visitors to AudiUSA.com, 5 times the average. (McKinney-Silver, 2005)
By Day 60, over 16,000 A3 shopping indicator queries, including 13,363 quick quote requests (McKinney-Silver, 2005)
“buying indicator” activity on the website (like requesting info from a dealer) by 73% over prior marketing efforts (Clark, 2005)
200,000+ people became involved with the search for the stolen A3 in a single day (bill, 2005; bouquet et al, 2005)
Online buzz for the A3 has quadrupled (bill, 2005)
Within the first few days of the campaign launch, seven fan sites were created (bill, 2005)
“After a person clicks an online advertisement to investigate the program, 34 percent of user page views were to A3 buying indicator pages (configurator, dealer locator, payment estimator, request a quote) on the Audi brand site. That is a 79 percent increase in “qualification” over previous launch efforts.” (bill, 2005)
‘Starting with a fictitious credit on the filmâ€™s marketing one-sheet, the audience soon found themselves immersed in a murder mystery. Involving thousands of webpages, as well as phone lines, fax machines, email accounts, and live events, the campaign immersed players in the world of AI and created frenzied anticipation for the opening of the film.’ (42 Entertainment,a)
3 million+ players all over the world (42 Entertainment, b)
Attracted audience of 1mill+ (Hon, 2005a)
Around 2.5mill players (Lee in Meadows, 2003)
100,000 users in the first 3 hours (Lee in Meadows, 2003)
48 hours after Cloudmakers was launched there were 153 new members (McGonigal, 2003a)
Within 48 hours of the Cloudmakers forum launching, 150 registered (Gosney, 2005, 6)
At the end of the game Cloudmakers had 7480 members (McGonigal, 2003a)
By the end of game, 7,400 members of Cloudmakers (Gosney, 2005, 6)
43,000 player messages (Stewart, 2001)
Messages in Cloudmakers: 42,209 messages (McGonigal, 2003a)
“The Beast’s producers (Microsoft and DreamWorks) now estimate that more than one million people from around the world played the game, many of whom formed large online groups.” (McGonigal, 2003a)
More males than females at the beginning (Sean Stewart in Miller, C.H. 2005)
50% of new players in the last 6 weeks were women (Sean Stewart in Miller, C.H. 2005)
Described by Internet Life magazine as the “Citizen Kane of online entertainment” (Stewart, 2001)
With well “over 300 million impressions through coverage in mainstream media” such [as] Time Magazine, CNN, and USA Today, as well as from niche outlets such as Slashdot, Wired, and Ain’t it Cool News (42 Entertainment, b)
Gained international media attention in CNN, ABC, BBC, New York Times, USA Today (Hon, 2005a)
“If The Blair Witch Project was a shot heard around the interactive world, then A.I.: Artificial Intelligence is D-Day” (Adweek quoted in McGonigal, 2003b)
Best Idea, New York Times Magazine (42 Entertainment, a)
Best Website, Entertainment Weekly (42 Entertainment, a)
Best Advertising Campaign, Time Magazine (42 Entertainment, a)
McGonigal, J. (2003a) ”This Is Not a Game’: Immersive Aesthetics and Collective Play’ presented at MelbourneDAC, the 5th International Digital Arts and Culture Conference, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia, May 19 – 23, published by School of Applied Communication, RMIT [pdf] Also Available at: FineArtForum
McGonigal, J. (2003b) ‘A Real Little Game: The Performance of Belief in Pervasive Play’ presented at Digital Games Research Associaton (DiGRA) “Level Up” Conference, November, published by AvantGame.com [pdf]
Meadows, M.S. (2003) ‘Game Complement to A.I. (loosely called The Beast or Cloudmakers) [Interview with Elan Lee and Adrian Hon]’ in Pause & Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative, New Riders, Indianapolis, Ind., pp. 131-138.
Miller, C.H. (2004) Digital Storytelling: A Creator’s Guide to Interactive Entertainment, Focal Press, Amsterdam; Boston.
Stewart, S. (2001) ‘December 2001: A Very Busy Year’, seanstewart.org, Dec. [Online] Available at: http://www.seanstewart.org/news/. Last Accessed: 30th Nov, 2007.
‘It began in 2003 as little more than a dream, a crazy idea to tell a story in a new and different way. What if the fictional characters of the story you were reading suddenly began to contact you, through phone calls, email and instant messages, and even at actual real world meetings? What if they presented themselves as real and involved you in their lives and struggles, so that you actually changed the world in which they lived? What if there were items that you found or that arrived at your home that were important to those characters and their stories, and vital to the things they were trying to achieve?’ (Chasing the Wish website)
1,000+ players registered 1 month before the game started (Szulborski, 2005, 150)
2,700 players registered (Szulborski, 2005, 152)
Cost $1,000 (Szulborski, 2005, 152)
8,000-10,000 unique IPs to various sites (Szulborski, 2006)
7,975 posts to Unfiction forum, not counting the forum postings at Collective Detective (Szulborski, 2006)
18,000 Google hits to “chasing the wish”, includes upcoming comic though (Szulborski, 2006)
Duration: 8 months/240 days (Szulborski, 2006)
Cost about $2,000, but $1,000 made back (Szulborski, 2006)
Szulborski, D. (2005) This Is Not A Game: A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming, New Fiction Publishing.
GHOSTS OF A CHANCE
18 July – 25 October, 2008
All of the following information is sourced from the case-study report written by Georgina Bath Goodlander, Interpretive Programs Manager, Smithsonian American Art Museum (Goodlander, 2008).
In the fall of 2008, The Smithsonian American Art Museum(SAAM) hosted an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) titled â€œGhosts of a Chance.â€ This was the first ARG in the world to be hosted by a museum. The game offered both new and existing museum audiences a novel way of engaging with the collection in its Luce Foundation Center for American Art, a visible storage facility that displays more than 3,300 artworks in floor-to-ceiling glass cases. […]
Ostensibly, â€œGhosts of a Chanceâ€ (ghostsofachance.com) invited gamers to create objects
and mail them to the museum for an â€˜exhibitionâ€™ curated by two game characters posing
as employees. But the â€˜game within the gameâ€™ was also a challenge to uncover clues to
the narrative that binds those objects, and to investigate the way objects embody
histories. The game culminated on October 25 with a series of six scavenger-hunt-like
â€œquestsâ€ designed for players of all ages.
Pre-game & initial challenges between July 19-8 Sept: received over 150 images of eyes and 256 calls
October 25 event: 481 incoming text messages
As of Nov 5, 2008: Ghosts of a Chance Main Site (www.ghostsofachance.com) received 6,100 unique visitors; 37,450 page views; 256,900 hits
SAAM is developing a â€œmoduleâ€ version of the game that can be played on a recurring
basis. This will be for groups of up to 35 people and will include some of the most
successful tasks from the October 25 event.
Press coverage in ABC.com; Smithsonian Magazine; Museum 2.0; Learning Games Network
CREDITS (short version):
Game Creator-Producer: John Maccabee (CityMystery LLC.)
Puppet Masters & Game Designers: John Maccabee, Ian Kizu-Blair, Sam Lavigne, Sean Mahan
Web design: Ian Kizu-Blair, Sam Lavigne, Sean Mahan (Playtime Anti-Boredom Society)
Head writer: John Maccabee
Additional writing: Ian Kizu-Blair, Sam Lavigne, Sean Mahan
Cell phone texts and voice messaging: Guide By Cell
Sound design: Steve Bissinger for Sign Language
Staff of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM):
Project Manager: Georgina Bath Goodlander
Project Instigator: Michael Edson
Project Assistants: Bridget Callahan, Edward Bray, Tierney Sneeringer
Promotion: Laura Baptiste, Mandy Young
Creative Guidance: Rachel Allen, Patrick Martin, Sally Otis, Laura Baptiste, Jo Ann Sims, Nancy
Proctor, Michael Edson, Michael Mansfield, Lynn Putney, Claire Larkin, Jeff Gates
Goodlander, Georgina Bath (2008) ‘Ghosts of a Chance Alternate Reality Game (ARG): Smithsonian American Art Museum’, Smithsonian American Art Museum, November 6, 2008
HEROES EVOLUTIONS/360 EXPERIENCE
NBC Jan 2007/…
“Heroes360” launched on January 22nd on a number of platforms including online and mobile and continue to roll out and evolve. The full breadth of the campaign includes a number of non-NBC branded websites including www.primatechpaper.com, www.corinthianlasvegas.com, www.9thwonders.com and www.samantha48616e61f.com, several WAP sites including one for “Heroes” and one for Primatech Paper, SMS interactivity and an interactive phone tree (1-800-PRIMA16). (NBC, 2007)
Between January 22 and March 22 of 2007, the Heroes 360 Experience had more than 48 million page views and 27 million video downloads (Hurst, 2007, 49; NBC, 2007)
Since launch, the “Heroes” WAP site has seen over 200,000 page views, followed by the Primatech Paper WAP site with over 150,000 page views (NBC, 2007)
NBC (2007) ‘NBC.Com delivers with ‘Heroes360′: 48 million page views and over 27 million video streams in just eight weeks’, NBC press release published at The Futon Critic, 22 March [Online] Available at: http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=20070322nbc05. Last Accessed: 17th Nov 2007.
Seth Hurst, Brian (2007) ‘The Birth of Cross-Media Production: Adventures in Storytelling’, Produced By, Fall, pp: 48-52
HOPE IS MISSING
Hope is Missing, ARG created to raise awareness of Lance Weiler’s Head Trauma feature film.
Over 2 million views across myspace, stage 6, xbox and other sites
Average play time of 8 hours based on an end game poll of 350 players â€“ in some cases the hardcore players logged close to 40 hours
Estimate 20,000 heavy players
Over 4,000 emails from players
Over 500 phone calls to the Hope is Missing hotline
Weiler, L. (2007) ‘BTS: Cinematic Games when the Audience Become Collaborators’, When the Workbook Project, Oct [Online] Available at: http://workbookproject.com/?p=413. Last Accessed: 30th Oct, 2007.
‘Based on the Halo fiction, ilovebees was an original radio drama that was deconstructed and delivered to consumers over an unlikely broadcast medium: ringing payphones. ilovebees was a giant multi-player, multi-platform story, immersing players in the world of Halo2 in the four months leading up to the titleâ€™s record shattering launch.’ (42 Entertainment,a)
10,000+ participated in the pervasive missions (real world challenges) (42 Entertainment,a)
3/4 million active participatns (42 Entertainment,a)
2.5 million casual participants (42 Entertainment,a)
3 million+ players (Handy, 2005)
600,000 online players (McGonigal, 2005a)
10,000-20,000 serious players (42 Entertainment cited in Handy, 2005)
“For more than 16 weeks, some half a million players engaged” (Jenkins, 2004)
ILoveBees.com logged 80 million hits (Mucha, 2005)
Internet traffic 10x The Beast (Jim Stewartson cited in Shachtman, 2004)
250,000+ visitors to ilovebees.com on the day it opened in August (Jim Stewartson cited in Shachtman, 2004)
500,000 gamers returned to the site every time the game was updated (Jim Stewartson cited in Shachtman, 2004)
2.3 million people watching (McGonigal, 2005a)
1 million+ tracked blog and forum posts and comments (McGonigal, 2005a)
Over 1.5 million forum posts (McGonigal, 2005b)
500,000+ unique hits on ilovebees.com per day (Beekeepers)
2,000,000+ recorded unique hits on an update day (Tuesdays, Sundays and Fridays) (Beekeepers)
1,000s comment in in-game blog: Dana’s (Jane McGonigal cited in Handy, 2005)
Answered over 40,000 payphones in 50 states & 8 countries, over 4 months (McGonigal, 2005b)
“[w]idespread coverage in the gaming press and beyond, including stories in the New York Times, CNN, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Wired, La Presse, and the London Times” (42 Entertainment,b)
Sold 2.38 million units [of Halo 2] in the 24 hours in the United States and Canada (Becker, 2004)
$125 million opening day [of Halo 2] eclipsed “Spider-Man” record for biggest opening weekend box office take (Becker, 2004)
100,000 page views of a forum page 36 hours after first phone call event (Miller, J. 2004)
Best Games-Related Site, Webby Award, 2005
Innovation Award, Game Develops Choice Awards, Game Developer Awards, 2005
‘Built around an online poker site, Last Call Poker undertook the challenge of making westerns relevant to today’s gamer FPS audience through an interactive narrative featuring six stories of quintessential American violence, tracking back in time from present to past, and ultimately leading to the time of Activision’s fall 2005 release, GUN. Players and press followed trails of blood from virtual poker tables to the ultimate Last Call: real graves and graveyards around the country. Over half a million players actively participated during the 8 week campaign.’ (42 Entertainment, no date)
500,000+ participated in the 8 weeks (42 Entertainment, no date)
“We got lots of feedback from Activision both in the early phases of design and as the game went on. They were quite pleased at the game’s ability to reach an audience traditional marketing would not be able to.” (Elan Lee in Wells, 2005)
“A dozen live-action puzzles and 20 persistent real-world missions (completed over 500 times by players all over the world).” (McGonigal, 2005)
60 people participated in the finale event (Terdiman, 2005)
Lockjaw, independent, 2002
PMs: Andy Aiken, Bruce Cain, Clay Chiment, Derek Jensen, Brooke Thompson and Krystyn Wells
At its peak, the yahoo group registered about 700 players (Thompson, 2006)
During Lockjaw, players formed ARGN and Unfiction (Thompson, 2006)
Unique IP visits to website around 10,000 (Thompson, 2006)
“Lockjaw inspired and spawned fansites (guysguise.com, gentel janitor), fan fiction (Moot Point, Outside Phoenix, One Life Down), post-game ponderings (cui-bono), genre-based websites and discussion boards (unfiction.com, argn.com), and even a very, er, um, stirring artistic performance (vunnnn!).” (Peters, 2002)
Peters, S. (2002) ‘Jawbreakers Guide: Epilogue’, vpmusic.com [Online] Available at: http://www.vpmusic.com/jawbreakers/guideindex4.htm#epilogue
Thompson, B. (2006) ‘ARG & Stats’, personal email to Christy Dena, Received March 5th, 2006.
THE LOST EXPERIENCE
May-Oct, 2006. Alternate reality game part of ABC’s Lost. ABC in US, Channel 4 in UK, Yahoo!7 in Australia.
‘In what’s being hailed as the largest interactive challenge based on a TV series, ABC and 19 other networks stretching across five continents are introducing “Lost Experience” — an Internet game that will feature a parallel story line that will give insight into the top-rated show.’ (ABC, 2006)
UK Component (Channel 4)
50,000 calls to initial phone line (Hi-ReS!, no date)
50,000 unique players (Hi-ReS!, no date)
7 terrabytes of traffic per month (Hi-ReS!, no date)
6 million + search results on Google during the game (Hi-ReS!, no date)
100’s player-created blogs updating on clues and playing the game (Hi-ReS!, no date)
Over 30,000 unique users regularly interacted with the alternate reality game (Hi-ReS!, no date)
‘Cross Media Project’ award to Lost Experience Channel 4, 2007 UK Association of Online Publishers Awards. Described as: â€œHighly creative and imaginative with an innovative approach to connecting more deeply with fans of the TV series. An immensely deep experience. Truly cross-media.” (UK Association of Online Publishers, 2007)
Australian Component (Yahoo!7)
These stats are from a talk delivered by Cricket Wardein, Marketing Director, Yahoo!7, ‘Extended Entertainment Experiences‘. They are for May 14th onwards for the Australian part of the multi-country ARG-style project.
After launch video broadcast (advertisement) with a call to action to ring a number: 15,000 calls were received (Wardein, 2006)
900,000 unique users (Wardein, 2006)
7.6 million page views (Wardein, 2006)
1.9 million video streams (Wardein, 2006)
200,000 forum messages (Wardein, 2006)
average time spent online: 12 mins (Wardein, 2006)
Sprite (Coca Cola) Involvement
In The Lost Experience, there were also many advertisers. The following information about the involvement of Sprite is sourced from Word of Mouth Marketing Case Studies cited below.
“The LOST Experience is an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) designed to bring consumers closer to the fictional world of the ABC TV show, LOST. The ARG features 4 advertisers embedding clues into their online & offline properties for consumers to discover more information about the show’s characters. Sprite began on May 10th by placing the new Sublymonal.com URL into a faux TV commercial that ran in primetime during the ABC network show LOST. The URL drove consumers to a puzzle solely related to the show with the only brand mention being the actual URL. Afterwards, the ARG transitioned to a scavenger hunt with embedded DJ podcasts, videos, and hidden memos within Sublymonal.com. A final component includes embedded codes in print ads in Entertainment Weekly and People Magazine. The codes can then be used to unlock further content online.”
1. Sprite web traffic up 400%
2. Average visit time up 275% and +300% vs benchmark
3. 500K valid codes entered … and climbing!
Client: Coca-Cola North America
Budget: <$150,000 excluding media
Date of Campaign: May – September 2006 (Word of Mouth Marketing, no date)
800,000 started registration process (Morris, 2001)
100,000 signed for the free pilot (Miller, C.H., 2005)
71,200 completed the registration (Morris, 2001)
10,000 to 15,000 subscribed (Morris, 2001)
13,500 subscribed (Miller, C.H., 2005)
Cost between $5 and 7million (Morris, 2001)
“[R]eportedly cost $10 million in development” (Hon, 2005a)
Cost estimate is $10 million (Miller, C.H., 2005)
$600,000 revenue earned (Miller, C.H., 2005)
“Best Original Game” 2001 E3. Described by Associate Chairman of the Game Critics Awards, Rob Smith, as:
‘In an industry dominated by sequels and franchises, creating the truly unique gaming experience is an increasingly rare occurrence. This category, therefore, is an important one for the industry at large, and EAâ€™s Majestic perfectly highlights the potential that current technology represents for building compelling games. By blending common desktop programs such as Instant Messengers, the Web, chat rooms and streaming audio and video, and blurring the lines between game-created conspiracy content with that already inhabiting the web, Majestic builds a spooky, intense and original game on the familiar precepts of adventure and puzzle games. Itâ€™s a bold and compelling step into a whole new area of game design, and richly deserves to be recognized as a mark of original creativity.’ (Smith, 2001)
Featured in “Game Innovation Spotlights”, 2002 Game Developers Choice Awards
THE OCULAR EFFECT (aka FALLEN ALTERNATE REALITY GAME)
‘The Fallen Alternate Reality Game was designed and created by Toronto-based Xenophile Media, and Los Angeles-based Executive Producer Matt Wolf of Double Twenty Productions as an interactive tie-in for the ABC Family television movie, Fallen, which premiered in July, 2006.’ (Baker, 2007)
‘The Fallen Alternate Reality Game (also known as “The Ocular Effect”) began with a mysterious puzzle ball called the Oculus (www.oculareffect.com) that appeared online weeks prior to the July 2006 broadcast premiere of the television movie Fallen. Unlocking the Oculus reveals the story of a young girl named Faith Arella who undertakes a journey in search of her origins. Shot at various locations around the world, Faith travels from her home in Seattle to California, Florida, Australia, India and Turkey, all the while guided by an online community of players participating in an international scavenger hunt for clues.’ (Baker, 2007)
2.8 million people visited the website (Baker, 2007)
250,000+ people from around the world played the game (Baker, 2007)
2007 Primetime Emmy(R) Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Television
2007 South by Southwest Award (Best Experimental Project)
2007 Banff World Television Award (Best Interactive Program)
500,000 words written (by game writers) (Hon, 2007)
15,000 emails sent to in-game characters (from players) (Hon, 2007)
40,000 registered players since April to Aug (Smith, 2005)
About 160,00 packs of cards sold in the UK as of Feb 2006 (Takahashi, 2006)
1.5 million cards created (Adrian Hon in ARG Fest DVD, 2005b)
Around 30 fictional websites created (Hon, 2007)
100,000pounds/ US$200,000 reward
17,000+ players registered on Leaderboard as of March 2006
Listed in FHM’s Top 50 Websites, March 2006
Some players have also written books to gain access to a library where the solution to a puzzle is (Frauenfelder, 2006)
Live Event run on 25th Feb at Trafalgar Square, London attracted 220 players (almost 1,000 applied to play). People drove hours and came from Ireland, Barcelona and Hong Kong to play. The event activity included 971 texts and 176 photos received, 3627 texts sent out and a 127 person conga line. (Perplex City News, 2006)
Media: websites, SMS, phone calls, emails, podcasts, music, live radio, live events.
REGENESIS EXTENDED REALITY GAME (SEASON) 2 These stats from a talk delivered by Evan Jones, then Creative Director of Xenophile Media, ‘Extended Entertainment Experiences‘, 24th Nov, 2006, Paddington, Australia.
First ARG linked to a full television season
2 hours exclusive footage
9 distinct websites
Included email, telephone, SMS messaging
6 months to build
30 people on the team at Xenophile
Ocktopods (hardcore players) = 1-2,000 players
6 fan websites were created
Cost significantly less than on episode of TV
All those that registered their email and did the survey said they watched all 13 episodes of the TV show
Average age 29 years
Male and female players
1/3 of audience international
Internationl Interactive Emmy Award (Best Interactive Program)
Gemini Award (Best Cross-Platform Project)
Canadian New Media Award (Excellence in Cross-Platform)
Banff World Television Award (Best Interactive Program)
THE RIVARD PROJECT (Le Projet Rivard)
Beg March – 15 May 2008
All of the following information is supplied by GeneviÃ¨ve Cardin (Cardin, 2008).
Players were recruted to be part of one of the 2 teams : Cosa Nostra + FBI, and were competing to retrieve an important folder including a testotimony related to JFK assassination, which as been lost for 40 years, involving the character Rose Cheramie. Main characters were interacting via email, blogs or website or a 1-888 line.
Marketing US and Canada : Baroblik productions Inc.
Marketing and puppetmastering for France : Brand-Attitude
Cardin, G. (2008) â€˜Re: Un homme mort – stats’, personal email to Christy Dena, received 9th November, 2008.
Independent ARG created to accompany the novel Timely Persuasion by Jacob LaCivita. All of the following information is supplied by LaCivita:
Timely Persuasion follows an anonymous music critic on a time travel journey to prevent the death of his sister. The narrator uses red-letter dates in rock and roll history as gateways to the past. He also tends to speak in song lyrics, with over 700 references and allusions scattered throughout the story.
1. There’s an “extended experience” revolving around the narrator being solicited to join a study at a mysterious hospital. Readers who call the number in the book are invited to join the same study.
2. The fictional narrator of the novel maintains a Tumblr blog about music and time travel at www.LB-DG.com.
3. There is a clue hidden in one of the music-based chapters which leads to a small quest. Winners are rewarded with behind the scenes info, an alternate scene, and eventually a musical treat.
Dedicated phone number, free voicemail box, 2 websites (1 still undiscovered), and a Tumblr blog. Total budget: $9.99 per month.
Less than 1% of all readers have called the gateway phone number.
Discovered by a small group of Orkut users in Brazil due to a mini “game-jack” of the DharmaWantsYou Lost ARG. Ballooned to a 35 member Orkut community with over 7,000 messages.
Community members collaborated using Google to translate entire novel from English to Portuguese chapter by chapter to look for clues.
Players have sent small gifts including MP3s, promotional cards, and personal reviews of books and television shows.
LaCivita, Jacob (2008) ‘Jacob LaCivita sent you a message on Facebook…’, personal email to Christy Dena, 5th December.
UN HOMME MORT
Quebec, Canada (Language: Canadian French)
All information supplied by in a personal email from GeneviÃ¨ve Cardin (Cardin, 2008) who received the info from Canoe.
Online story on a website to augment a crime series, Un homme mort, that aired on TVA from February 26 to April 6, 2006. Viewers carried out investigations parallel to those seen in the televised episodes and gained access to the lives of the characters. It was aimed at engaging the television audience watching Un homme mort on TVA.
DESCRIPTION OF WEBSITE
The website offered visitors real-time interaction through a specialized visual re-creation of the places featured in the Un homme mort television series. Nine locations, comprising 80 rooms, were re-created, as well as six complementary fictional locations, including that of a bank, a police station and a housing project.
As the story unfolded on television, elements were added to each of these on-line locations so that players could perform parallel investigations. Although the clues and codes were hidden, players were steered in their direction and accumulated points as they discovered them. Player ranking was displayed on the site and updated regularly. At the end of the season, the person with the highest score won a prize, and then when the game was over, there was a draw for the grand prize.
World Without Oil: the first major “Serious ARG,” WWO is a massively collaborative (“crowdsourced”) future simulation of a realistic global oil crisis. The gamemasters sketched out the framing parameters of the oil crisis, in terms of fuel prices and availability; the players responded with in-game personal chronicles of how the oil crisis was manifesting itself in their lives; the gamemasters aggregated these chronicles and incorporated their themes and ideas into the official narrative of the oil crisis, updated daily. Now archived at www.WorldWithoutOil.Org, with operations underway to construct teaching aids and lesson plans for high school teachers to use the material.
The game is very trans- or cross-media, and community-oriented and “Web 2.0,” as the gamemaster and player chronicles appear as blogs, video blogs, images, podcasts, audio files, and so on, and invite comments and crosslinking by other players.
Principal puppetmasters: Dee Cook, Ken Eklund, Marie Lamb, Jane McGonigal, Michelle Senderhauf, Krystyn Wells. Webmaster and puppetmaster: Mark Bracewell. Site Design: Sarah Rainwater. Outreach: Erik Wohlgemuth. Podcasters and Puppetmasters: Corrina McFarlane. Bonnie Primbsch, Cait Zorn. Videographers: Kiyash Monsef and Jonty Collyer.
Announced March 2, 2007 at the ARGFest in San Francisco (Eklund, 2007)
Game launch on Monday, April 30, 2007 (Eklund, 2007)
Game went for 33 days, concluding on June 1, 2007 (Eklund, 2007)
1,850 players registered at the WorldWithoutOil.Org website, from all regions of the USA plus three dozen other countries (Eklund, 2008b)
Over 60,000 unique visitors to WorldWithoutOil.Org by June 1, spending an average of 6 minutes on the site per visit (Eklund, 2008a)
Over 1,500 in-game stories created by players, as blog posts, video and image uploads, audio files, voicemails and email posted all over the Internet (Eklund, 2007)
In early June, a Google search for “World Without Oil” returned over 100,000 hits pertaining to the game (Eklund, 2007)
The game archive continues to draw about 6,000 visitors a month. (Eklund, 2008a)
The game archive now draws about 10,000 visitors a month. (Eklund, 2008b)
As of November 1, 2007, the game has now drawn over 90,000 unique visitors (Eklund, 2008a)
As of December 1, 2008, the game has now drawn over 250,000 unique visitors (Eklund, 2008b)
“I thought World Without Oil was amazing and groundbreaking. The way it gets a grassroots movement designed to think about important problems and builds it around narrative inspiring.” JESSE ALEXANDER (executive producer of Heroes, LOST, Alias) as reported by Alice Taylor in her Wonderland blog (Eklund, 2007)
Jane McGonigal (WWO’s Participation Architect) talked pre-launch about WWO in several presentations, most notably her keynote at the Serious Games Summit at the 2007 Game Developers Conference. She and Creative Director Ken Eklund have talked about WWO many times for print and broadcast, including interviews for the BBC, for Future Tense and To The Best Of Our Knowledge at National Public Radio, and for The Story at American Public Media. (Eklund, 2007)
Worldwide press and buzz: articles about World Without Oil appeared in Le Monde, Der Standard, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal Online, CNET, WIRED Online, and many other print and web news and features. (Eklund, 2008b)
The WWO site now features lesson plans that enable high school teachers to run their own mini-WWOs. These lesson plans are mirrored on the PBS Teacher Resources site (Eklund, 2008b)
WWO was the winner for the 2008 Interactive Award at the South By Southwest Festival, in the Activism category
WWO was an Interactive Academy Award (Webby) finalist for Best Internet Game 2007
WWO was honored with a special mention for Information Technology in the 2008 Stockholm Challenge, in the Environment category
WWO was honored with a special mention for Environmental Art in the Prix Green challenge at the 01SJ digital arts festival, June 2008
Eklund, Ken (2007) ‘Stats for “World Without Oil”, personal email to Christy Dena, received 17th Nov, 2007.
Eklund, Ken (2008a) ‘Update for World Without Oil ARG stats’, personal email to Christy Dena, received 23rd Feb, 2008.
Eklund, Ken (2008b) ‘Updated ARG stats for World Without Oil’, personal email to Christy Dena, received 29th November, 2008.
Trent Reznor’s ARG which is part of Nine Inch Nails’ album Year Zero.
The ambitious Year Zero alternate reality game (ARG), a work of cross-media art involving websites, emails, phone calls, album packaging, tour t-shirts, thumb drives, music videos, murals, interactive games and live concert events with the new music of Nine Inch Nails at its core. (Cannes 2008)
Alex Lieu Creative Director 42 Entertainment
Susan Bonds Exec Producer 42 Entertainment
Johnny Rodriguez Visual Design Director 42 Entertainment
Michael Borys Interactive Design Director 42 Entertainment
Mario Quezada Visual Design Director 42 Entertainment
George Cook IT Director 42 Entertainment
Nik Piscitello Graphics Designer 42 Entertainment
Sean Stewart Lead Writer 42 Entertainment
Markus Roskothen Programmer 42 Entertainment
Todd Mohney Integration Programmer 42 Entertainment
Elan Lee Designer 42 Entertainment
Robert Fagan Media Producer 42 Entertainment
Carolyn Kovacs Events Producer 42 Entertainment
Steve Peters Designer 42 Entertainment
Maureen McHugh Writer 42 Entertainment (Cannes 2008)
Over 3.5 million people took part (42 Entertainment, 2008)
Playing out over 10 weeks, the Year Zero ARG engaged over 2.5M participants (Cannes, 2008)
29 websites discovered over several months (Cannes, 2008)
7.5M page views (Cannes, 2008)
7M forum postings (Cannes, 2008)
2M phone calls (Cannes, 2008)
thousands of original art submissions (Cannes, 2008)
“Every time a song was leaked, the message boards were swamped. By the time the album hit store shelves in April, 2.5 million people had visited at least one of the game’s 30 Web sites.” (Rose, 2007)
Won the 2008 â€˜Viral Advertising/Viral Marketingâ€™ Grand Prix Cyber Lions, Cannes Lions
2008 Cannes Lions Silver Award (Integrated Campaign)
2008 Webby Peoples Voice Award (Branded Content)
2008 Webby Peoples Voice Award (Integrated Campaigns)
2008 Clio Award (Bronze)
42 Entertainment (2008) ‘Year Zero Case Study’, 42 Entertainment [Online] Available at: http://www.42entertainment.com/YearZero/