jamiekane.jpgThe BBC has announced today that it is accepting beta testers for its upcoming alternate reality game Jamie Kane. The game is aimed at a teenage audience and revolves around the search for a missing popstar.

Those who are familiar with alternate reality games may be a little surprised by the lack of stealth here, but Jamie Kane is treading into new territory in numerous ways. This game, while employing classic ARG elements, will be aimed at a primarily teenage market, so the plot and puzzles will be targeted accordingly. In addition, it won’t be played in real-time, so that players may begin at any time and all have the same experience. Nevertheless, Jamie Kane will employ numerous websites, emails, mobile phone alerts, videos and instant messaging to help players discover what happened to their favorite pop-star, Jamie Kane.

According to Rob Cooper, producer with BBC’s interactive drama and entertainment department, “You play for around 20 minutes a day and it makes use of AI chats to feed you info. Typically, it will take around 15 days to solve, a clue at a time.” Unfortunately for those of us outside of Britain, the phone elements of the game will presently only work in the UK.

Kudos go out to the BBC for yet another foray into ARG-type content as it relates to television. Previously, they have commissioned extensive online companion work for Dr Who and Tony Garnett dotcom. It will be interesting to see how this game pulls together, especially the “automatic” elements that are based on the players’ progress rather than playing out in real time.

To apply to be a beta tester for Jamie Kane, go to www.bbc.co.uk/jamiekane/. Remember, if you’re outside of the UK, the phone elements of the game won’t work for you…..yet.

[EDIT: Beta-testers are being asked to use a private forum we’ve set up here at ARGN for any discussion of this beta test (you must register to view).]