ARG’s: Marketing Strategies, How Religion Fits in, & Sadie’s Story

A few days ago we got into small groups again and discussed our articles that we all wrote summaries on. My group consisted of two other people who also read about ARG’s: alternate reality games. I thought a specific definition would be helpful for this, because in each of our articles, ARG’s were talked about a little differently. So, I went on the web, and went to http://www.argn.com/what.html, the alternate reality game network, and felt I got a definition that encompassed all of our 3 articles talked about:

Alternate Reality Gaming is, according to CNET, “…an obsession-inspiring genre that blends real-life treasure hunting, interactive storytelling, video games and online community…

“These games are an intensely complicated series of puzzles involving coded Web sites, real-world clues like the newspaper advertisements, phone calls in the middle of the night from game characters and more. That blend of real-world activities and a dramatic storyline has proven irresistible to many.”

These games (which are usually free to play) often have a specific goal of not only involving the player with the story and/or fictional characters but of connecting them to the real world and to each other. Many game puzzles can be solved only by the collaborative efforts of multiple players, sometimes requiring one or more players to get up from their computers to go outside to find clues or other planted assets in the real world.

One thing about ARG’s is that it can spill into your own life, as in into reality, and my group discussed that sometimes we don’t even notice that what we are looking at is an ARG. We talked about how it can be a marketing strategy for the game, where it becomes a new plotline, almost a new form of a narrative. For example, one of my group member’s articles used how the ARG for the TV show “Lost” (as an example) lets you learn a new plot twist, and new information about the show. But for that you had to pick up the phone and call a certain number in order to get that certain information, which is what made it a marketing strategy. Advertising gives a whole new dimension to the story.

How does religion fit in? Perhaps because you are religiously looking for clues of the ARG to find information, or you log on to “I Love Bees” at a certain time (also ritual) during the day. I’ll leave my blog entry with a website on Halo 3:ODST’s ARG – “Sadie’s Story”, which the articles says,

“Sure enough, Halo 3: ODST will have a unique extended experience of its own. Or rather, an embedded tangential experience, for lack of a better term. Within the game, players will be able to uncover bits and pieces of a separate story arc throughout the campaign.”

Below is the site with the article on “Sadie’s Story”:

http://www.argn.com/2009/09/halo_odst_discovering_sadies_story/#more-2750

We’ll have to see what new things spill into our life as we search for clues…

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