World Without Oil - ARG Case Study

This is one of the Case Studies we discussed briefly in last weeks workshop.

World Without Oil combined elements of an alternate reality game with those of a serious game. The game sketched out the overarching conditions of a realistic oil shock, then called upon players to imagine and document their lives under those conditions. Compelling player stories and ideas were incorporated into the official narrative, posted daily. Players could choose to post their stories as videos, images or blog entries, or to phone or email them to the WWO gamemasters. The game’s central site linked to all the player material, and the game’s characters documented their own lives, and commented on player stories, on a community blog and individual blogs, plus via IM, chat, Twitter and other media… A countdown site appeared approximately 2 weeks before the game start on April 30, 2007. The game concluded 32 days later, on June 1, 2007 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Without_Oil

Although this ARG is a terrific example of a Multi-platform event created with great intentions for a good cause… it could also be argued that it naively overlooks much of the complexities of the issues raised. Is this a case of passive idealism being performed from within the comfortable confines of the very system it deems to problematize and criticize?

In the past we have had radical reactions to social-political issues… even the surrealists ‘used chaos and variety of urban experience to sabotage tradition and order… disrupting meaning, but also recovering it’ (Savage 2000, 42). The participants of WWO, seem far more polite and well meaning, dutifully carrying out instructions from the WWO website, never really subverting, changing or challenging anything. Yes they are being thoughtful, reflective and communicative with each other… but is this really empowering anybody?

I have posted this video here before with more information… when I was clearly more convinced of the socio-political value of this project.

Thanks RJ

An insightful look into the 2006 “LOST” multi-platform experience… by Brisbane based studio, ‘Hoodlum’: http://www.hoodlum.com.au/

The Lost Experience was the first ARG created for the popular TV show LOST. It was launched during the break between Seasons 2 and 3 and was designed to expand the mythology and storyline told in the show. Although the story in the ARG was not part of the main storyline of the show itself, it gave fans various side-stories of many important characters/settings that appeared in the show. This strengthened the mythology established in the show and gave fans a richer, deeper experience of the overall story.

ho-aki
A Japanese perspective!
Thanks Aki! It’s so wonderful to have such an international cohort of Masters students in 2013. We are all learning so much from each other.
ho-aki:

Dear Class, thank you for your sharing your case studies!
Here is my poster: the orange markers are my favorite points (which I felt cool/unique), and the red markers are important or related with my top 6 criteria.
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Now I have found another important question - “what will be needed to develop Japanese ARG?”
In Japan ARG seems to be around 5 years old thing. Indeed as you may know, Japan already has the big culture of transmedia - manga, anime, video games, cosplay, doujin, maybe kinds of MPE … but may not familiar with “being a real player = shy? / bringing ourselves into the game” in ARG. I guess. Just guess, I need research.
However I am glad to be shared some Japanese topic from classmates today. Japan has the potential! And as I posted before as a link-list, definitely there are people who are planning to make Japanese ARG more active/familiar thing. This is exactly the right opportunity to search and know about Japanese ARG matter. Thanks.
-
And I have regretted not to focus on anime/manga/digital game things at all… It should be interesting to search from my viewpoint: I am a Japanese, and also a doujin artist ( = who loves drawing illustration/manga, composing music, creating games etc and releases our works on/off-line methods. We sometimes have huge events which maybe related with MPE, with interactions between fans - doujin artists (& works) / fans - fans / artists (& works) - artists (& works), but not like gaming/solving mysteries/zombie-happenings/etc.).

A Japanese perspective!

Thanks Aki!
It’s so wonderful to have such an international cohort of Masters students in 2013. We are all learning so much from each other.

ho-aki:

Dear Class, thank you for your sharing your case studies!

Here is my poster: the orange markers are my favorite points (which I felt cool/unique), and the red markers are important or related with my top 6 criteria.

-

Now I have found another important question - “what will be needed to develop Japanese ARG?”

In Japan ARG seems to be around 5 years old thing. Indeed as you may know, Japan already has the big culture of transmedia - manga, anime, video games, cosplay, doujin, maybe kinds of MPE … but may not familiar with “being a real player = shy? / bringing ourselves into the game” in ARG. I guess. Just guess, I need research.

However I am glad to be shared some Japanese topic from classmates today. Japan has the potential! And as I posted before as a link-list, definitely there are people who are planning to make Japanese ARG more active/familiar thing. This is exactly the right opportunity to search and know about Japanese ARG matter. Thanks.

-

And I have regretted not to focus on anime/manga/digital game things at all… It should be interesting to search from my viewpoint: I am a Japanese, and also a doujin artist ( = who loves drawing illustration/manga, composing music, creating games etc and releases our works on/off-line methods. We sometimes have huge events which maybe related with MPE, with interactions between fans - doujin artists (& works) / fans - fans / artists (& works) - artists (& works), but not like gaming/solving mysteries/zombie-happenings/etc.).

designinginteractionslasse
Lasse is a current Masters student at QUT. He is undertaking my class in MPE Design and production.
This is the poster he presented at class yesterday that summarises his case study research. More details can be found on his class tumblr…
designinginteractionslasse:

This is my poster of my case study on Multi Platform Events. 

And more details on Lasse’s ‘6 criteria for successful MPE’ design:

designinginteractionslasse:

These are the 6 criteria for making a great MPE that I have found during my research. Each criteria is based upon specific aspect of current MPEs that I found important, to make a successful MPE. 

1. Influence
Players of the MPE can actually influence the story, and change the events and storyline during the game. This makes you fell that the choices you make actually matter, and makes the interaction with the MPE much more ‘real’. As an example at the end Dexter Hunter/Prey players could vote on who of the two main characters should get killed.

2. Empathy
In the sense that you can relate to the characters in the MPE and fell a connection to them. This makes you emotionally connected with the MPE and therefore more involved in it. In Dexter Hunter/Prey some players had developed empathy for the killer, and therefore made Facebook pages and videos to express grief of him being killed at the end of the game.

3. Impact
Meaning that playing the game makes an impact on peoples lives fx. a social impact. When a MPE actually makes a impact on people lives, it makes people more involved in the game, and can have both long term and short term impacts on their lives. Dexter Hunter/Prey had a big impact during the game, where communities and relationships was created during the MPE.

4. Motivation
The players need to be motivated by the MPE in order to want to proceed with the game, so people need some kind of reason, why they should do this. As an example Zombies Run serves as a motivater for people to run, because they think its more fun.

5. High Engagement
While playing the game it is important that people can engage on different levels. If an MPE is limited in the way that you can engage, the MPE suffers from this. As an example, The Xi MPE by Playstation did not force you to engage socially with other players, which limited the gameplay.

6. Great Use of Tools
In order for an MPE to be successful it is important that you make good use of tools and make appropriate choices of which tools to use. The Art Of The H3ist by Audi really exploited their access to a lot of resources and used a lot of platforms in their MPE. The Mark of Spiderman is another example where Peter Parkers backpack served as physical evidence and an intriguing and important part of the game.

Lasse is a current Masters student at QUT. He is undertaking my class in MPE Design and production.

This is the poster he presented at class yesterday that summarises his case study research. More details can be found on his class tumblr…

designinginteractionslasse:

This is my poster of my case study on Multi Platform Events. 

And more details on Lasse’s ‘6 criteria for successful MPE’ design:

designinginteractionslasse:

These are the 6 criteria for making a great MPE that I have found during my research. Each criteria is based upon specific aspect of current MPEs that I found important, to make a successful MPE.
 

1. Influence

Players of the MPE can actually influence the story, and change the events and storyline during the game. This makes you fell that the choices you make actually matter, and makes the interaction with the MPE much more ‘real’. As an example at the end Dexter Hunter/Prey players could vote on who of the two main characters should get killed.

2. Empathy

In the sense that you can relate to the characters in the MPE and fell a connection to them. This makes you emotionally connected with the MPE and therefore more involved in it. In Dexter Hunter/Prey some players had developed empathy for the killer, and therefore made Facebook pages and videos to express grief of him being killed at the end of the game.

3. Impact

Meaning that playing the game makes an impact on peoples lives fx. a social impact. When a MPE actually makes a impact on people lives, it makes people more involved in the game, and can have both long term and short term impacts on their lives. Dexter Hunter/Prey had a big impact during the game, where communities and relationships was created during the MPE.

4. Motivation

The players need to be motivated by the MPE in order to want to proceed with the game, so people need some kind of reason, why they should do this. As an example Zombies Run serves as a motivater for people to run, because they think its more fun.

5. High Engagement

While playing the game it is important that people can engage on different levels. If an MPE is limited in the way that you can engage, the MPE suffers from this. As an example, The Xi MPE by Playstation did not force you to engage socially with other players, which limited the gameplay.

6. Great Use of Tools

In order for an MPE to be successful it is important that you make good use of tools and make appropriate choices of which tools to use. The Art Of The H3ist by Audi really exploited their access to a lot of resources and used a lot of platforms in their MPE. The Mark of Spiderman is another example where Peter Parkers backpack served as physical evidence and an intriguing and important part of the game.

Ingress

Google’s Android augmented reality MMORPG

Website: http://www.ingress.com/

Great trailer: http://youtu.be/92rYjlxqypM (screen image on the left)

Video demo of Ingress in action: http://youtu.be/nYJ4eE8hjyI (screen image on the right)

Since this is a Google project, it is available to citizens of many cities… including a number of portals here in Brisbane, Australia!

Ingress is centered around a war between two factions, the Enlightened and the Resistance, over what to do with a new energy discovered in the world. When you register you have to pick a side based solely on the brief descriptions given of the two sides in the game.  Jan 2013

Basically there are a number of game assets that only become available when you are in proximity to a ‘portal’ which is identified by GPS locations. So you must physically move through city spaces to play the Ingress game… and claim city spaces for your ‘side’.

A guide for new users: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZKt6bvgcsS4Bzve8k36FZNmAYrwt8QrSn-wztNpOkhU/edit

According to this review (Jan 15, 32013),the trailer may be a bit misleading as to how the player actually experiences the AR effects as they move through the streets with their android devices:

The biggest disappointment I had with Ingress is the lack of real augmented reality. There’s the in-game map showing where portals and energy are located, and when you hack most of the portals they have a photo attached to them and sometimes a blurb about the art or building they’re based around, but that’s it. The trailer made it look like there’d be cool portal graphics as overlays in the camera’s view, but that’s not in there.  http://www.geekosystem.com/google-ingress-review/

Fincher’s 1997 film, “The Game”, starring Michael Douglas.

This film has the audience follow a man struggling to differentiate his real life from ‘The Game’. This is the ultimate circumstance for an ARG… that is, when the player is living a blended experience as themselves and as a fictional character… in the real world which has been transformed into a theatre by mere narrative suggestion. However, ‘The Game’ is an extravagant version of an ARG: 

One thing CRS needs is a lot of money. Millions just to run one Game. http://www.herogames.com/forums/showthread.php/60313-The-Game-Consumer-Recreation-Services-%28CRS%29

This also demonstrates the need for complicit agents in such a game… such as friends who agree to help sustain the fantastic story… and a few well formed fake organisations that help to anchor the story in the real world. Although in this film the organisation, CRS, is represented by a large office and staff… it could as easily be presented as a website, email addresses, fake network profiles, fake videos etc.

Fincher won’t let the audience in on anything with this one. The Game achieves a feat by only giving the audience as much information as it gives its main character. And that nearly destroyshim… I walked out of the theater knowing that everything was going to be okay for Van Orton, but still not quite sure that it would be… http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/features/movies-we-love-the-game-colea.php

Review:

‘He watches his life turn into a thriller’ Sept 12 1997

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0„289361,00.html

Essay:

http://www.criterion.com/films/28058-the-game

demirann
demirann:

Case Study 2: Breathe
Breathe was an ARG based in London set over a four week period, a multi- media murder mystery that is a mash- up of film, alternate reality gaming and Web 2.0. Players of Breathe watch four 15 minute shorts and try to help Detective John Franks solve the case. They need to work through a number of puzzles, infiltrating the underground club scene, locate the venue and save the next victim from running out of air. The creators of Breathe use blogs, YouTube, GPS, telephones, secret meetings, IM, auditions, Immersive role- play, cinema and music as interfaces and tools to communicate to players. 
Expanding Universe, the creators of Breathe, wished to build different, more realistic versions of the game in different cities to maximise scale and client base. They planned to set up the game play in a club scene with real people to take part in the story. They were taking away that online aspect of an ARG to bring the game to life even more.

demirann:

Case Study 2: Breathe

Breathe was an ARG based in London set over a four week period, a multi- media murder mystery that is a mash- up of film, alternate reality gaming and Web 2.0. Players of Breathe watch four 15 minute shorts and try to help Detective John Franks solve the case. They need to work through a number of puzzles, infiltrating the underground club scene, locate the venue and save the next victim from running out of air. The creators of Breathe use blogs, YouTube, GPS, telephones, secret meetings, IM, auditions, Immersive role- play, cinema and music as interfaces and tools to communicate to players. 

Expanding Universe, the creators of Breathe, wished to build different, more realistic versions of the game in different cities to maximise scale and client base. They planned to set up the game play in a club scene with real people to take part in the story. They were taking away that online aspect of an ARG to bring the game to life even more.

This year the MCN conference attendees are invited to experience these new developments through an on-site Alternate Reality Game (ARG) as a collaboration between conference coordinators and staff and local gaming experts. A companion half-day workshop on Wednesday will guide participants through the steps to create their own games, and the game will be played throughout the Conference.

http://www.mcn.edu/2011/mcn-alternate-reality-game

Also via GaryPHayes thx!