Intereting post on the BBC about Perplex City, an alternate reality game (ARG) which has just been completed, netting the winner a £100,000 prize pot. The game started in April 2005 and has had a myriad a clues to the solution, including puzzle card, a banner plane flown across Manchester, a scavenger hunt across London, a music CD with a clue embedded in the music and a whole bunch of other features.
ARGs are games that use a blend of a fictional word and the real world to to deliver an experience to the end-user. Different aspects of the game may be moulded around real-life events, including information delivered by websites, blogs, telephone, television and even newspapers. I remember one some time back relating to Nokia, but though I had scrathed the surface, I never got into them.
Perplex City was run my Mind Candy, an interactive entertainment company. They seem to specialise in ARGs as can be seen by one of the articles they have written: The Rise of ARGs and the pioneering work they have done around Perplex City. The interesting thing is that they have turned the ARG model into something that is financially viable, yet without compromising the spirit of the game. In this case, it involved the sale of puzzle cards, which, while not being indispensible to the game, provided the finacial input to pay for the prizes and staff to run the game. We should be seeing more of this in the future!
You might think it’s fun to participate in one of these, but I bet it’s even better fun (albeit hard work) organising one !