Greetings from sunny Los Angeles! This year’s E3 is proving to be a landmark occasion in the world of Alternate Reality Gaming. Not only is there a veritable ARG Development Team (Puppetmaster) Summit going on, with representatives from five different teams in attendance, but this whole ARG thing is creating quite a stir, especially on the exhibition floor.
It was announced today that 2004’s runaway Alternate Reality Game hit “I Love Bees” won the 2005 Webby Award for Best Games-Related website. The Webby Awards are the internet equivalent of the Academy Awards.
A complete list of the winners can be accessed at the Webby website. Congratulations to the entire 4orty2wo Entertainment Team behind I Love Bees! This award is well-deserved.
Recognition for Alternate Reality Games is continuing to build with yet more media-related awards and nominations announced this week.
Regenesis Extended Reality won the FITC Design & Technology Award for Convergence. The FITC is one of Canada’s largest annual new media festivals. You can check out all of the winners at the FITC 2005 Awards website. In addition, ReGenesis Extended Reality was nominated for a Canada New Media Award for a Cross-Platform Project, which is arguably one of the top awards in Canada. The Canadian New Media Awards will honour individuals and companies in 19 categories on May 30th in Toronto. Congratulations, Xenophile Media!
If you missed Regenesis when it originally aired, it’s been announced that Season I will be shown on Canada’s Global Television Network this fall, effectively exposing the series to a much bigger Canadian audience. Additionally, Regenesis is scheduled to air on the Sci-Fi Channel in the UK this summer. Whether or not a replay of the extended reality game will occur in conjuntion remains a mystery at this point, however.
As we previously reported, I Love Bees is up for a 2005 Webby Award, although its run for a People’s Voice Award seems to be undeservedly out of reach at this point. The Webby Award winners will be announced at a gala celebration on June 6th at Gotham Hall in New York City, while the People’s Voice Award winners will be announced on May 3rd.
With all the mainstream recognition ARGs have been getting lately, we can surely look forward to seeing more and more of them in the very near future.
On April 26th, the International Game Developers Association will present “THINKING OUTSIDE THE (x)BOX (or “HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE BEES”) at 7:00 PM at the Metreon’s Action Theater in San Francisco (101 4th Street @ Mission).
Featured speakers will be Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart and Jim Stewartson of 4orty2wo Entertainment, the team behind the Alternate Reality Game “I Love Bees.”
4orty2wo’s Alternate Reality Game became a phenomenon last year, sending thousands of players running to payphones around the world. The innovative Halo 2 prequel involving a seemingly innocent website of a Napa Valley beekeeper and a shipwrecked AI from the future received a Game Developers Choice Award for Innovation, was featured at GDC’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop, and became the latest and most successful example of the nascent Alternate Reality Games (ARG) genre.
But what place do ARGs have in the world (and future) of video games? What is their relation to one another? Are there lessons to be learned from ARG production that can impact the way video games are made?
Join Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, and Jim Stewartson of 4orty2wo Entertainment as they examine I Love Bees to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of ARGs, their intersection with traditional video games, and the future of this exciting new form of digital play.
This event is free and open to the public. For more info: www.igda.org/sf
The biggest Alternate Reality Game of the past year, “I Love Bees,” continues to gain major recognition with its just-announced nomination for a Webby Award! Time magazine and the New York Times call the Webbys “the Academy Awards of the Internet.”
“I Love Bees” is eligible to win two different awards in the “Games-related” category — the official games-related award, and the “People’s Voice” award… which YOU can vote for!
Obviously, we here at ARGN would love to see ILB win this, but to be honest, we’d actually like to see it win the People’s Voice award even more than the official award. We think it’d be really great to show the world that the ARG community’s voice is loud and strong and bigger and badder than anyone else’s… of course, we already know that because we heard you all singing over those payphones!! So let’s show the rest of the web what we can do.
Voting in the 2005 People’s Voice Awards runs TODAY through April 29. VOTE NOW! Here’s how:
- Go to http://pv.webbyawards.com/ and click on the “Register now” button.
- To ensure integrity of the vote, all voters must register. The process takes about 30 seconds (fill out the form). Then you’ll receive a voting link and password via email.
Note: Voters can choose to vote in just one, or some of, or all of the categories. It’s fine, for instance, to just vote in the “Games-related” category, which is the “I Love Bees” category.
Extra fun: There is an “instant poll” in voting that gives you the current standings for each site after you vote. We really need to get OUR votes in ASAP so that ILB looks like a contender, and so that other voters are more likely to spread the word. (Right now, ilovebees is in 3rd place out of 5… how long will it take ILB players to push it to #1? Hmmm… let’s find out!)
So what are you waiting for? Go vote!
As Elan Lee took to the stage to accept the 2005 Innovation Award for I Love Bees at the Game Developers Choice Awards on Wednesday night, Alternate Reality Gaming stepped off of the sidelines and into the spotlight. Lee, on behalf of his team at 4orty2wo Entertainment, thanked the players, and made a special point of thanking Microsoft and Bungie for showing trust in their vision of producing an Alternate Reality Game that would promote the release of Halo 2. I Love Bees was one of three games presented with the Innovation Award this year, the other recipients being Katamari Damacy and Donkey Konga. During the presentation, a video teaser featuring various ILB website pages, photos of crewmemebers and soundbites from some of the live calls highlighted what a unique form of entertainment I Love Bees truly was.
The games that win the Innovation Award usually cause quite a stir at the Game Developers Conference, and this was no exception. There was definitely a resultant buzz going on the following day, with many attendees talking about what I Love Bees, Alternate Reality Gaming and Pervasive Games in general are all about. These questions were answered when I Love Bees was featured in a session on Experimental Gaming on Thursday, led by ILB Puppetmaster Jane McGonigal. Jane was able to talk at length about what I Love Bees entailed, and what the concept of Alternate Reality Gaming is, giving specifics about gameplay, community aspects, and the “This is Not a Game” philosophy. Jane is also one of the forces behind the current I Love Bees exhibit at UC Berkeley.
The Innovation Award and subsequent Experimental Gameplay presentation definitely got people’s attention, with many developers expressing deep interest in jumping on the ARG bandwagon. However, the folks at 4orty2wo Entertainment were tight-lipped about what projects they may be currently working on, for obvious reasons.