If a relative from the future asked for your help to protect the Earth, what would you do?
This is the first line of the teaser email leading to a new alternate reality game called Tomorrow Calling which is aimed to bring environmental awareness to the ARG community. The game offers the usual (such as hidden clues on the sites, YouTube videos, and cryptic blogs) while the flavorful text speaks of an uncertain tomorrow, and an Earth that we must protect now for future generations.
While ARGNet could find no indication that there is any overlap in puppetmasters, characters in Tomorrow Calling link to sites from another environmentally sensitive ARG, World Without Oil, and refer to it not as a game, but as a “reality.”
The message is sent loud and clear within the text as much as within the actual clues. Do you need to find the next website? Then you must read the blog of a woman that muses about her fears for the earth as we know it. Do you want to know why the evil organization is… evil? Check out a Google Earth file with important dates and sites for the environmental movement.
According to its creators, the game so far has welcomed only a few players, in order to work out the kinks for a larger scale launch. With its beta launch back in May, the sites definitely look professional and the blog posts are well thought out. However, it appears to me to be an immersive, but mostly static narrative without a great deal of direct interaction.
The game has garnered some critical acclaim, as its (apparent) creators Jim Wolff and Andrea Sides have won the Grant Challenge Award at the 5th International Symposium on Digital Earth, held this past June in San Francisco. With its aspirations to educate as well as entertain, we are certainly looking forward to more from Tomorrow Calling in the near future.