Wired UK has teamed up with alternate reality game designers Six to Start, creators of the 2010 SXSW Best Game Award winner Smokescreen, to make this month’s issue of Wired UK a platform for a transmedia game contest. Six to Start’s immersive transmedia games have been widely recognized for high-quality storytelling and entertaining game play. In Smokescreen, Six to Start and Channel 4 launched a fictional social network that brought issues of online identity and privacy to the forefront for a target audience of 14- to 19-year-olds. We Tell Stories, winner of the 2008 SXSW Experimental and Best in Show Awards, involved a collaboration with Penguin Books to encourage the reinvention and retelling of classic stories.
A novel mix of traditional print publishing and digital experience, this month’s issue of Wired UK contains a game within its pages. According to Six to Start producer and game designer Matt Wieteska,
The game has been designed to exist within and alongside this month’s Wired. The issue’s focus is on the rise of location-based and social gaming, and the idea of game-like ‘achievements’ and how they drive our curiosity and progress. Our tasks and puzzles are scattered throughout its pages, margins, graphics and text – so keep your eyes peeled! Of course, the issue is just the beginning – the game soon expands to take in online content and puzzles, alongside some cool bells and whistles that I don’t want to spoil for you!
Suggesting something even more than a puzzle contest, Wieteska teased me with this: “[t]he game itself does have a theme, an interesting setting, and some cool little stories nestling inside it. I don’t want to give too much away, but we’re hoping you’ll enjoy the fun, tongue-in-cheek tone and all the little easter eggs and references we’ve hidden to some of our favourite things.”
Only players based in the United Kingdom will be eligible for the grand prize of an iPad, but according to Six to Start co-founder, acting CEO, and chief creative officer Adrian Hon, the creators have “made an effort to make as many of the assets available internationally” as possible. Non-UK players will still be able to experience most of the game online, even though, according to Wieteska, “[w]e’ve got some really cool stuff going on inside the issue, so people should grab one if they can!”