Notes from AGC: Alternate Reality Games
26 October 2005, Texas, Austin, Austin Game Conference
3:00 - 4:00 pm
Alternate Reality Games
A look at the work behind ARG games like ilovebees and Beast.
- Maureen McHugh, 4orty 2wo Entertainment
(missed beginning of speech, spoke to woman that had made a terapeutic game for children whos parents have divorced)
...how to get to ppl to an add when they are part of a generation who doesnt look at tv (dont see commercials) doesnt listen to radio - download mp3's instead.
=make the ad something ppl want...
...a character in the beast...
Robinson cruose an moll flanders: marketed as if it was real.
The motto for the beast: "this is not a game"
Website is not saying that it is fiction.
Normally we frame fiction: a box, it beeing a book, etc.
And arg crosses the frame. It can call. It can be a popup.
"we would take over your reality anytime we possibly could"
"we are not a game. We are an alternate reality to which you have stepped"
Are arg's going to have a storyteller?
In films we dont question the camera (which is a storyteller), we just accept it.
Games do not often have narrators.
Is ARG a new artform?
Jane McGonigal says no: to few that have had sucess.
Speaker believes it will be a pervasive kind of game form in 50 years or so. Mobile phones... Coming generation maybe wont understand the concept of being off-line.
Game could get you up 3 in the morning... Drive you to work. It has already gotten people married, aldready gotten people fired.
Ilove bees doesnt have a game engine.
Structure them around the mediaform they will use.
The first, the beast, used internet.
Architecture: one website. One blog. Email communication. Payphones.
From that they constructed a story.
Game can touch players, and player can touch the game.
Two parallell narratives.
Day to day on website
An AI from the future that is defragmented, some here and some in future. Spacial anomaly as in startrek...
Woul publish gps points for payphones for different places, longitud latitude.
Ppl would go there, expect something, but what happens is that a phone rings somewhere.
No alpha, no beta.
Geeks picking up phones; talking to a "damaged AI from future"
"cruman im so glad i found you. Identify yourself"
All used their online handle.
They got 30 - 90 seconds eavsdropping to a conversation from a future.
Then it would unlock somewhere on the webside which you could find.
Then listen to about 30-40 minutes of soap.
3 writers, all sciencefiction authors writing it.
In the middle of the game 2 thigs became evident.
- There where no puzzles, players pissed.
- Prerecorded stuff, cant change.
Personality: based on recording, slized brain. Sleeping princess. Melissa.
"Crumin, how do i know you are real?"
"I could sing a song"
"Sing to me Crumin"
So ppl sang, it was recorded, they put it on the website.
Reason for adding puzzles: the 6 year old melissa likes puzzles.
- About the game groping into reallife: players need to sign a thing.
- Ilovebees is set in the same universe as Halo 2.
Ilovebees got all their attention via halo2
Ads.. Problem? No.
20 people in the core development team of ilovebees.
People cried when character died in the game.
(ok this speaker is absolutely amazing)
Want everyone to have bluetooth.
(audi game? 300 million budget? 300 players?
Now representatives from Bioware
Recruiting writers now.
3 titles. Wants resumeés to their boot.
One spot: Cedar Door. On 2nd street.
Next generation story teller
Distrubuted storytelling room 4
Creating emotional connections room 5 with players. Upstairs. (mary)
Best session of the day. Go Maureen, Go!