Alternate Reality Game

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As alternate reality game (short form: ARG ) (about: game with changing realities ) is called a back cross on different media game , in which the line between fictional events and real experiences is blurred intentionally.

It is often referred to in viral marketing used to apply a new product or a new service directly to praise without it and to recognize without the game as a promotional event.

Play opportunities

The players fall back on various sources on the Internet, whereby it often happens that the events in the game world reach into the real world of the players and thus motivate the players to act together. The story of an ARG can be advanced through a variety of different media. The following media can be used for this purpose:

  • Artifacts from the real world that are related to the game
  • Blogs
  • Chat , instant messaging and the like
  • Emails
  • Events or events in the real world where actors interact with the participating players
  • IRC rooms
  • Post , i.e. letters, parcels, etc.
  • Telephone calls on the private or business landline or mobile phone of the player
  • There are two kinds of websites: some are more than obviously part of the game. The others are rather inconspicuous and give the impression that they are not part of the game at all. In reality, however, they are the main component of the ARG and often contain various puzzles, for example from the field of cryptography .
  • Newspaper articles or classified ads

An ARG not only helps players get to know the story and the fictional characters, but it also leads to players joining forces and exchanging ideas. After all, there are puzzles that cannot be solved alone, but only together and through the collaboration of other players.

Alternate Reality Games are usually characterized by a large game universe in the form of a multitude of websites, all of which claim to be real through and through. In fact, it is sometimes difficult to tell whether a website is a fictional or a real website. These websites form the foundation of the gaming universe. They are usually used to propel the story forward, with the media listed above often being used in addition. This creates a situation where the reality of the game collides with the real reality.

Another important part of an alternate reality game is that it uses the concept of This is not a Game . In order to merge the fictional with the real world as well as possible, an ARG does not normally apply as such and it will only very rarely be read that it is really a game. This keeps the secret of the people behind it all hidden and the real thrill of the game stays in the foreground. So the players feel their way through the story from website to website.

Terms and jargon

  • ARGonaut - In the early days of ARGs, players were sometimes referred to as ARGonauts. This term is no longer used today.
  • The Beast - The advertising ARG for the film AI - Artificial Intelligence .
  • Beasting - This term describes playing an ARG.
  • Cloudmakers - The original group that took on The Beast . Its members are also significantly involved in defining the terms of the ARG genre.
  • Curtain - The Puppet Masters live behind the magic curtain . For an ARG that has not yet ended, it is not important who is behind the curtain.
  • Guide - A guide is a retelling of the previous events of an ARG in historical form. The guide is the best way to get into an ARG that is already running and to get the latest information.
  • Live Alternate Reality Game - A LARG is a hybrid of a live role playing game (LARP) and an alternate reality game (ARG), in which the line between reality and game is blurred. LARGs often play in the crime or espionage genre.
  • Puppet Master or PM - These are the creative minds behind the curtain. You develop the ARG and ensure that the fictional world of your ARG grows more and more into the real world (for the duration of the game).
  • Puzzle Trail - A puzzle trail is a collection of puzzles that are often spread across multiple pages from a website. You move from one starting page to the next page by solving the puzzle located there and so on. Sometimes these puzzle trails build a nice story with little clues too, and they're a nice distraction for people who are not currently participating in an ARG. Often these puzzle paths also arise because one player creates them for another player, for example as a birthday present.
  • Rabbit Hole - The Rabbit Hole (entrance into the rabbit hole) is the name given to the website or the events that provide access to the world of an ARG.
  • TINAG - This Is Not A Game ("This is not a game") - The motto of the ARGs, which achieved the position of a mantra in the ARG community not only through The Beast .
  • Trail - The path is an archive in which web pages, characters, puzzles and other information about an ARG are collected and written down. The form of the wiki is often chosen for this. However, trail is also used as an abbreviation for and to refer to so-called puzzle trails (riddle hiking trails).
  • Trout - This is a friendly gesture with which the ARGler wishes to indicate that you have contributed irrelevant or already known information. This is usually the case when the information may have been contributed by someone else in the past. Sometimes you don't even get to read the printout yourself, but get a pictorial representation of how one smiley presents a trout to another smiley. The term itself is controversial in the community.
  • UF - unfiction - The largest ARG community.

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