NESTA: ARGs: Entertainment 2.0

Last night I attended a sesion at NESTA about Alternate Reality Games (ARGs).  The session was primarily a talk by Six To Start an agency that produces these types of games.

The speakers took us through a number of case studies where they’d done interactive storytelling in different ways – all of which were interesting – but some of which have been done before.  I particularly liked The 21 Steps on We Tell Stories, a story which was written to be told using Google Maps.

Dan Hon, CEO of Six to Start, made some really insightful comments into what ARGs are and why they’re valuable/interesting.  He explained simply that the platform for ARGs is ‘the whole world.’  Great.  But unfortunately the examples they showed (and many of the other things I’ve seen touted as ARGs) dont’ really do this.  The examples all showed work that was primarily PC based or based around activity that occured mainly in the home.

I was hoping to see examples of work that really too the user into ‘the whole world’ and moved them away from their PC to do things in physical environments, potentially interacting with each other.  I think there’s great potential for mobiles to be a part of helping audiences/players do this and am hoping to get to work on some projects that do this in the coming year.

Another really good point that was made during the night was that too many companies were trying to do ‘live’ ARGs where you had to join at the start and play all the way through, making it impossible (or nearly impossible) for players to fall into the game and play if they aren’t aware of it from the start which makes it impossible to maximise audiences.  I think this might be a trap that the BBC’s game around Torchwood fell into (as I talked about in my post on Beeb Camp’s ‘How Not To run an ARG’ session).

One response to “NESTA: ARGs: Entertainment 2.0

  1. Hi Jason – good to hear you were at the talk at Nesta last night. There’s a lot more we can tell you about games we’ve run that do do more out in the ‘whole world’ – drop me a line and we can have a chat 🙂


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