chapter  12
8 Pages

Developing Alternate Reality Games for Learning

ByKATIE PIATT

Th is is the heart of an alternate reality game (ARG): players working together in the real world to complete the challenges of the game.

Th e diff erentiation of ARGs from more traditional board games or computer games is that they use the world around you to deliver the game experience, which adds a game layer over perfectly normal activities. For example, you might be reading a blog post on an otherwise normal site, but you are prompted to solve an anagram of all the initial letters. Or that seemingly normal phone call at work takes on special signifi cance when you fi nd you are speaking to someone from the future. Th is boundary blurring between real life and the game is key – using real life resources, but for you they have an ‘alternate’ meaning than to people not playing the game. In contrast to many commercial games, ARGs can exist simply with a few web pages and making ‘alternate’ use of pre-existing, more expensive resources: providing a format with a much wider range of budget and resource needs; key in education, which we will come to later in this chapter.