Alternate Reality Gaming

Last night over dinner with Brian Hsi, a fellow online community geek, I was introduced to the concept of Alternate Reality Gaming (ARG). Brian gave me a run down and reminded me that the web site to support Halo 2 was an ARG.

Recently, Audi USA created a new ARG around the idea of a missing Audi A3. (more info here) When I first saw the ad weeks ago, I was clueless.

This is really interesting to me. The ARGs are a marketing vehicle, but one that blends online/offline and engages gamers in an effort that encourages "community" collaboration. Here’s how C|Net describes it in the article Blurring the Line Between Games and Reality.

These games are 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.

I’m just starting to learn about it, but I could see a lot of more ARGs coming our way… The Alternate Reality Gaming Network (ARGN) seems to be a great resource.