ARGs – Alternate Reality Games / Gaming (see also Stealth, Viral Marketing)

An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive networked narrative that uses the real world as a platform and uses transmedia storytelling to deliver a story that may be altered by players’ ideas or actions.

The form is defined by intense player involvement with a story that takes place in real time and evolves according to players’ responses. Subsequently, it is shaped by characters that are actively controlled by the game’s designers, as opposed to being controlled by artificial intelligence as in a computer or console video game. Players interact directly with characters in the game, solve plot-based challenges and puzzles, and collaborate as a community to analyze the story and coordinate real-life and online activities. ARGs generally use multimedia, such as telephones, email and mail but rely on the Internet as the central binding medium.

ARGs are growing in popularity, with new games appearing regularly and an increasing amount of experimentation with new models and subgenres. They tend to be free to play, with costs absorbed either through supporting products (e.g. collectible puzzle cards fund Perplex City) or through promotional relationships with existing products (for example, I Love Bees was a promotion for Halo 2, and the Lost Experience and Find 815 promoted the television show Lost). However, pay-to-play models are not unheard of.



 Audio Interviews About ARGs (Theremy) and ParaCulture:

  • Adam Gorightly interviews DreamsEnd
  • SMiles Lewis interviews DreamsEnd
  • Vyzygoth interviews SMiles Lewis
  • Vyzygoth interviews DreamsEnd

See also:

Incomplete List of Known ARGs, Experiential Training, Immersive games:

File Contents / Inventory:

  • Akoha – “Come Play It Forward” (printout circa 5/18/2009)
  • Alternate Reality Gaming – A Quickstart Guide, – (printout circa 4/22/2009)
  • The Darker ARGs: This ARG is Not Yet Rated, Michael Anderson, (printout circa 8/21/2007)
  • Bees, ARGs, and the Birth of the Collective Detective, John Borland and Brad King, Phi Kappa Phi Forum, Vol. 85, No. 2, – ( printout circa 10/5/2007)
  • Coral Cross: Pandemic Preparedness from the Hawaii Department of Health, April 12, 2009, Michael Anderson, – (printout circa 2009)
  • EA returning to Austin with deal, Austin American Statesman, Friday, October 12, 2007 (newspaper)
  • Global Security Alliance: GSA, (screen shot printout circa 5/18/2009)
  • Let’s Be Serious, Non-Casual Investigations into Alternate Reality Gaming, Mark Heggen, May 2007, HTML / PDF (printout)
  • The Rise of ARGs, Adrian Hon, – (printout circa 4/30/2009)
  • Extenuating Circumstances – SXSW 2007 – ARG! The Attack of the Alternate Reality Games Transcript, Dan Hon,, (printout circa 9/24/2007)
  • History of Alternate Reality Games, – (printout circa 9/25/2007)
  • I’m Sorry – Trailhead / Meta, (11 page chat transcript)
  • MetaMachine version 2.6, portion of image,, (printout circa 4/2/2004)
  • Misc. handwritten notes, SMiles Lewis
  • What Would Bill Hicks Say? 300k in 90 days, Ben Mack/Howard Campbell, link (printout circa 9/5/2007)
  • The Number 23 — sTaRe Network Launches New Book Revealing Satan’s Latest Trick, PRWeb, Ben Mack (printout)
  • 2006 Alternate Reality Games White Paper – IGDA ARG SIG, Adam Martin, HTML / PDF (printout)
  • ‘Cause Sooner Or Later, It’s Over…, Geoff May, (printout circa 8/21/2007)
  • Entering shadowy world of neurocam, Marc Moncrief, December 18, 2004,, (printout circa 9/10/2007)
  • Never Rest, Exceptional Software Strategies, (printout)
  • @TopHatProfessor Layton and the Curious Twitter Accounts, Kyle Orland, – (printout circa 2009
  • Weird Message at – (circa 9/21/2007)
  • The Blame Game, The Dark Side of Alternate Reality Games? Dave Szulborski, (printout circa 8/27/2007)
  • This Is Not A Game, A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming, Dave Szulborski, book – (excerpts printout)
  • Wonderland: A strange thing in the post..,, (printout circa 11/20/2007)
  • Game Ontology Project, José P. Zagal, Amy Bruckman,, PDF (4 pages printout circa 3/12/2007)
  • Collective Intelligence and Gaming, zogger, (printout circa 11/15/2007)
  • ARG DOCUMENTS,, (printout circa 4/17/2009)
  • Jawbreakers / Group Labelling Guidelines, The Cloudmaker protocol,, (printout circa 4/17/2009)
  • Tutorial for playing Alternate Reality Games, by the Collective Tutor,, (printout circa 4/17/2009)
  • Whois record:, (printout circa 4/30/2009)
  • Whois record:, (printout circa 4/27/2009)

Various other Majestic ARG documents:

  • Majestic-Alliance in association with and Electronic Arts, circa April 2001, capture (printout circa 1/5/2007)
  • Deus ex Majestica parts 1 & 2, Alex Burns, disinformation, (printout circa 9/21/2007)
  • Welcome to the machine: Alex Burns replies, Alex Burns, disinformation, (printout circa 1/5/2007)
  • Majestic: The Welcome Intruders, Jeff Halpin, March 01, 2001, (printout circa 1/5/2007)
  • The Majestic Game, Interactive Media Environments, and a New Turing Test: Blurring the Boundaries Between Virtual and Real, Damian Ward Hey – PDF (printout; notes significance of September 11th, 2001))
  • COINTELPRO Updates: Above Top Secret Forum, Laura Knight Jadczyk, link (printout circa 1/22/2007)
  • Majestic Art of Electronic Disinformation, SMiles Lewis – (printouts from and of 2001 article [circa 2007]
  • Majestic ARG Presentation 10.2.08, Leslie McMillin Scribd (power point printout; features screen shot of “Majestic Art of Mind Kontrol” [circa post 2007]; notes significance of September 11th, 2001)
  • EA’s Majestic AIMs to shake things up, Raymond M. Padilla, 11/17/2000 (printout circa 1/12/2007)
  • emails from Vyzygoth (and his listeners) about ARGs to SMiles Lewis, (printout circa 10/5/2007)
  • Re: Marketing survey for interest in, yahoo groups email, (printout circa 11/5/2007)
  • screen shot (circa 1/12/2007)
  • Misc. internet search for “Majestic Alliance” – (printout)
  • Wayback Machine, misc. printouts from (circa 1/10/2007)
  • Whois record: (circa 1/8/2007)
    • See also Bearden, Tom files: On Tom Bearden, Oil Companies and Websites

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