Can an ARG run automatically?

Hart, Jennefer and Reid, Josephine (2009). Can an ARG run automatically? In: CHI '09 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 3619–3624.



Alternative Reality Games (ARGs) provide an interesting platform to explore the nature of game play as they combine fictional and real world elements to create a unique gaming experience. A typical ARG plays over a set time span and players collaborate via an ongoing narrative orchestrated by 'puppet masters'. This paper presents a six week study based around an ARG which was designed to be repeatable, allowing players to enter the game at anytime. Through the use of temporal trajectories we analyse player's interactions and unveil a number of problems that hindered game play. The players lifestyle, pace and gameplay traits all impacted on the game and raises the question of whether a repeatable ARG can really work. We close with some design pointers that might make it feasible.

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