ISSN: 1757191X
First published in 2009
3 issues per volume
Volume 5 Issue 1
Cover Date: March 2013
Mastering the puppets: Criteria for pulling the strings in an Alternate Reality Game
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Authors:  Ronan Lynch And  Bride Mallon And  Kieran Nolan 
DOI: 10.1386/jgvw.5.1.23_1

Keywords
Alternate Reality Games,ARGs,game design,transmedia,interactive games,digital storytelling

Abstract
Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) are a kind of narrative game that use the real world as a platform to allow players and characters to interact via multimedia forms, enabling participants to alter a game’s progression. Boundaries between what is real and what is fictional are disguised, as characters, controlled by game designers react to player input. Working collaboratively as digital detectives, players collate a fragmented narrative by deciphering codes and clues. Research found that the deliberate blurring of many defining game features creates a complex product. Moreover, the number of ARG implosions (failures) is high. An empirical study, involving content analysis, examined players’ views on Unforum, the primary ARG discussion board. This analysis extracted evaluation criteria for judging ARGs, a selection of which are outlined in this article. These criteria should help game creators, or puppetmasters (PMs) create and manage a quality ARG, thus producing greater numbers of successful games.
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