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Alternate Reality Gaming V2.0 66

Posted by Hemos
from the hopefully-no-one-will-sue-over-arg-2.0 dept.
ItsIllak writes "Alternate Reality Games [ARGs] have been bubbling under for the past 10 years now. Usually completely homebrew or attached to big budget productions, they have been used to create buzz around a game, product or movie. Perplex City have bucked that trend. Their ARG is completely independent of anything else, its entirely self contained. With fresh ideas on income generation and a $200,000 top prize to whomever finds the real life buried treasure - is this the future of an entirely new form of entertainment?"
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Alternate Reality Gaming V2.0

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  • Treasure hunt (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aussie (10167) on Monday May 29, 2006 @08:11AM (#15424089) Journal
    Not really new, they were called treasure hunts before.
    • Yup, I was expecting something along the lines of "The Game"... Wasn't there some game a couple years back that did something similar to that movie? With people getting phone calls and emails and stuff, kinda creepy...
    • Re:Treasure hunt (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RedMagus77 (743500)
      Still, with the ability to communicate in real time, as well as the ability of the contestants to search the net and contact other people across the globe for details, even if they were in the middle of no where (depending celluar reception), the parameters of the gaming enviroment can be expanded. You can have more obscure clues, drop hints at a moments notice, give false leads, or have other contestants band together for help, or have a lone wolf who gives out mis-information. Should be interesting, at
    • Reminds me of "Reality TV," aka "Game Shows."

      (Yes, with a few notable exceptions. And those you could call documentaries.)
    • Re:Treasure hunt (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ricdude (4163)
      Reminds me of an updated version of Masquerade: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masquerade_(book) [wikipedia.org]
      • Re:Treasure hunt (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        you're definetly right on that one. as someone who's currently playing the game, I can tell you that the makers of PXC have pretty much explicitly said on mutiple occasions that they were directly inspired by Masquerade.

        - toolazytocreateanaccount
    • 2 words: "Rat Race"
    • Sure there have been treasure hunts before, but now it's all one big advertisement! The point of the game isn't to find the treasure, it's to get media coverage like this! Revolutionary!
    • Mod me down all you like, it is still an old fashioned treasure hunt. Nothing new and nothing revolutionary.
      • Mod me down all you like, it is still an old fashioned treasure hunt. Nothing new and nothing revolutionary.

        They've added the collectable-card mechanism to this game. They are hoping players are willing to shell out wads of cash buying the exact same puzzles over and over on the off chance they might find a "rare" puzzle that will actually help them progress.

        It's a great idea...for 1996.
        • You'll find the cards are more just an aside, adding to the story of the game rather than driving it. It's played in a community fashion, so progress is made in many ways, such as contact with the characters, but also often drives itself as the characters go about their lives and react to situations.

          The cards are mainly just for the fun of solving and to get points on the leaderboard (which has no real influence on the story or game). The description in the article really can't do the game justice, com
  • by SushiFugu (593444) on Monday May 29, 2006 @08:19AM (#15424107)
    Sounds similar to David Blaine's $100,000 Challenge [wikipedia.org] armchair treasure hunt that was placed in his book. I don't really care until they start hiding ebony armor and Nirnroot though...
  • Perplexcity (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    PerplexCity is a fun game with all sorts of treasure hunts and rabbit holes. There's currently over 15000 players signed up to help find the cube. They are running a video competition at the moment..view all the entries here: http://www.youtube.com/groups_videos?name=perplexc ity [youtube.com] and my entry is this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiMRE_uSPlQ [youtube.com]
  • There was an ARG posted in this months' Edge magazine... apparently started off with a "This page cannot be found" error message? Anyone know?
  • Grassroots ARG (Score:5, Insightful)

    My qualm with most ARGs is that they exist solely as a password hunt. You find the door, and you get a cookie. Games like Beast and Majestic truly scared their players, because the line between game and reality was eerily thin.

    I like games with immersion. I enjoy games where the player feels they have a role in the game.

    I'm working on a grassroots/indie ARG at the moment that I don't want to talk about too much publicly. If anyone is interested, drop me an email at enderandrew AT gmail DOT com
    • Re:Grassroots ARG (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is not a password hunt. PxC differs from other ARG's because of all the different angles. The original article does not really highlight how good of an ARG this is. There has been live events in London and New York. We have had live chats with in game characters. In these chats, our words and actions determined where the story would go net. We've received mysterious leaked emails and recnetly started getting updates by text. Players have written a book to help an in game character gain access to an anc
    • Is scaring players the objective of alternate reality games? Do players really want to blur the line between game and reality? Many people used to complain about Majestic because they *didn't* want to receive phone calls in the middle of the night, and more current games like Regenesis cater for that fact by allowing you to choose the level of your immersion.

      I enjoy games where players feel they have a role in the game as well. That's what we try to do in Perplex City, by giving players the chance to truly
      • I haven't played your game, so my comments weren't necessarily direct at you. For what it is worth, I've heard good things about your game.

        And no, I don't condone scaring people needlessly, or calling people at 2 in the morning. However, having immersive qualities and good atmosphere helps sell the ARG to the player.

        And while not every player can feel they are the center of the story, one can certainly improve on most ARGs in how the player has no role in said story. You can do dead-drops, where certain
  • by Anonymous Coward
    and not just a regular game? Hell, it isn't much more than Geocaching with a prize.
    • Try this list of ingame sites for starters: http://perplexcitywiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=We bsites [perplexcitywiki.com] One of those is the newspaper site ( http://www.perplexcitysentinel.com/ [perplexcitysentinel.com] ) that has been updating for over a year now. Perplex City really does quite a job is creating it's own reality.
    • An ARG has to transcende multiple forms of media and blur the line between in-game and none in-game often to the point where it is hard to tell.

      I think someone already posted it but a good definition can be found here

      I have personaly been involved with ILoveBees/Haunted Apiary and Ourcolony (which is arguably not really an ARG) and I would like to say they are alot of fun, especially well created ones like those done by 4orty 2wo productions.

      If you are really interested the place to get started is

    • What makes Perplex City more than geocaching with a prize? How about the story that's being told over dozens of websites, in real time, to tens of thousands of people? How about the live events that have featured hundreds of players across the world, where they've chased spies in black helicopters and watched messages being flashed across the Thames from the London Eye? How about the distributed computing initiative that's seen over a thousand people trying to crack an encrypted puzzle?

      [Disclaimer: I am the
  • by kronocide (209440) on Monday May 29, 2006 @09:14AM (#15424261) Homepage Journal
    Another ad finds its way into /. article space. Even the link in the author's name is to a Perplex City movie.
    • Well - yes and no. I submitted the story as a player of Perplex City - I'm not an employee. I do think it's a valid article - Perplex City is something new. I also put the video that I made as my homepage because it's a competition that's being run - the winner is the one with the most viewers.

      That video again [youtube.com]

      Interestingly - having a link in a slashdot article in the user link doesn't generate much clicking!

      • Interestingly - having a link in a slashdot article in the user link doesn't generate much clicking!

        I moused over it, saw it was youtube, and was immediately disinclined to click on it. Also, given the fact that you submitted a slashvertisement, you're probably not going to get as many clicks as a real story would get.

  • The cycle repeats. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Peganthyrus (713645) on Monday May 29, 2006 @09:18AM (#15424276) Homepage
    Perplex City has a treasure and prize at the end?

    Why, it's Masquerade [bunnyears.net], the collectible card game! There were about a dozen of these treasure-hunt puzzle books back in the eighties. Now they're just coming in different media.

    Also, I call slashvertisement on this post.
    • Funny, I don't recall Masquerade having a story being told over dozens of websites, and over the radio, newspapers, IM, email, skywriting and live events featuring hundreds of players. Masquerade didn't have dozens of players writing a book together to advance the story, or thousands participating in a distributed computing initiative. I guess we must be thinking of different games.

      [Disclaimer: I am the lead designer of Perplex City]
      • *shrug* The capsule description in this story immediately put me in mind of 'Masquerade' and the dozen or so other treasure-hunt books that followed. I'm sure Perplex City is a fine example of this kind of narrative experiment, but like all the other ones I've heard of, and like 'Masquerade' and its ilk, I just look at them with faint bemusement and go back to storytelling modes whose entire story is there in one place, and doesn't require me to solve acrostics and crunch numbers and suchlike to get the nex
      • are you just madlibbing a bunch of stock advertisement phrases every time you post, or what?

        I mean, seriously, defending your product is one thing, but posting the same advertisement to everyone in a thread is just crossing the line.
  • by Khuffie (818093) on Monday May 29, 2006 @09:39AM (#15424329) Homepage
    What happened to version 1.5? And does it run on Linux?
    • To be honest I've no idea what the number is there for. But in all fareness the description doesn't do Perplex City justice. It's not about the £100,000 reward (well it is) but I would still be playing without that. On the whole you get to meet nice people, do some fun challenges and puzzles and have a laugh. Perplex City is much more than that stupid ARG that EA made that nobody can remember the name of...:-)
  • This looks like a seriously interesting game to me. So why do I just go play?

    Because you have to buy the cards like Magic The Gathering, and each card is WAY too expensive. I do not care about the 'grand prize' that I have absolutely no chance of winning. I simply want to obtain the entire collection and have fun figuring out the puzzles.

    If they'd made it a lot cheaper, I'd play. But then, with no cash reward, I suspect a lot of other people wouldn't have played, so it wouldn't exist anyhow.

    Oh well, may
    • The thing is the cards are pretty much separate from the narrative and game, people just buy them for the fun of solving the puzzles themselves, plus they are pretty damn cool too (there's a leaderboard too as well). I've only bought about 2 sets of packs myself (and won a few) and have been playing/following the story for over a year now.

      Feel free to come on over to Unfiction, we love getting new people and there are a whole lot of resources for new players. Also, the irc room #syzygy on irc.chat-solu
  • The Saint Paul Winter Carnaval hosts a similar treasure hunt every year. The person that can find the Winter Medallion hidden somewhere in a public park gets 5,000, and if they paid a couple bucks for an official button, they get 10,000. They fund the prize with button money, and a local newspaper pays for the right to be the only paper that can publish the clues.

    I've been in the right park before, but sadly I've never been the first to find it. This usually empty park was filled with people turning over

  • With fresh ideas on income generation and a $200,000 top prize to whomever finds the real life buried treasure...

    It's buried under a big 'X'!
  • So someone finally saw 'The Game' with Michael Douglas?
  • From what I've seen there's a pretty big ARG subculture. The organization that I've come across that seems to do this best is http://www.mistergamer.com/ [mistergamer.com]. They're pretty mysterious (the so-so English on the website somehow adds to this), and the games are apparently really immersive and pretty expensive (e.g. spanning several months & countries and costing upward of $50K). If it seems like I'm using a lot of "seems" and "allegedly" it's because I got all of this information second-hand from someone who
  • This story has come and gone, so I know no one will see this post, but still..

    I wonder why there are so few comments? Some of the puzzles in this game really blow my mind, I wonder why the Slashdot community ignores it so? I agree there's an issue that on the Internet, in any game, there's always one or a few guys who seem to have all the time in the world to devote to that one thing, and you know you'll never catch up with them, because you have a real life to live. E.g. if you visit any of the games on

"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid" -- the artificial person, from _Aliens_

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