Since 2007, The Digital Cowboys, with lively hosts Alex and Tony, have aired weekly podcasts on gaming, and this week ARGNet’s own Michael Andersen was their featured guest. Covering both past games and current campaigns, The Digital Cowboys Episode 166 is a must-listen for anyone interested in ARGs.
Newcomers should find the interview a particularly useful introduction to playing alternate reality games because it features an in-depth look at how to join the ARG-playing community and also a systematic discussion of the slang we tend to take for granted. Old-timers might appreciate the laughs, especially as Michael gives his personal take on some of the best and the worst of the genre and as the Digital Cowboys try to wrestle with some of the crazy things ARG players and creators do . . . for fun.
Puzzle aficionados and alternate reality game players have a new resource for the latest news and views about puzzles, alternate reality games, scavenger hunts, geocaching, and other sources of “harrowing mental torments.” Wired recently launched its new subsite, Decode, in the wake of Wired’s National Magazine Award for best special-topic issue, which recognized the magazine for its puzzle-riddled mystery issue of May 2009.
I am excited to announce that Decode will be syndicating ARGNet content on the site, starting with Jane Doh’s recent coverage of the We Lost Our Gold treasure hunt in New York City. So, in addition to finding our stories here at ARGNet or via our RSS feed, Facebook page, Digg account, or on Twitter, you can visit Wired for the latest news about alternate reality games, transmedia storytelling, puzzle hunts, and that new Juzzling craze that’s sweeping the nation. Wired has consistently explored creative avenues of engaging its readership through endeavors such as Wired Magazine‘s Mystery Issue, Wired UK‘s Enigma Challenge, and the manhunts for Evan Ratliff and the Repo Men film. Hopefully, our new relationship will help raise interest and awareness in the burgeoning alternate reality gaming and transmedia space.
Special thanks to Chris Baker and the staff at Wired for creating the new subsite, and to Mike Selinker and Teeuwynn Woodruff from Lone Shark Games for spearheading the effort to make Decode a reality.
ARGNet’s own Associate Editor Marie Lamb appeared on South African marketing podcast The Digital Edge this past week to discuss alternate reality games. Marie was joined by alternate reality gaming developers Ken Eklund (World Without Oil), McKinney’s Chris Walsh (Art of the Heist), and Cherryflava’s Jonathan Cherry (Can You Twist). The Digital Edge produces weekly podcasts on topics related to digital marketing.
Marie provided a succinct explanation of what alternate reality games are (and what they are not). During the podcast, she noted that “a real ARG has to have two crucial elements, in my opinion, to succeed. It has to have a really good story, and it has to have a strong community of players. In the best ARGs, these two are interlinked.” Then Ken Eklund, Jonathan Cherry, and Chris Walsh each described the rationale behind launching an alternate reality game along with brief explanations of their respective projects.
Click Here to listen to the Digital Edge episode on alternate reality games.
As you may aleady know, Jonathan Waite has stepped down as owner and senior editor of ARGNet, after almost four years at the helm. Both Jonathan and ARGNet’s original owner, Steve Peters, have left some dauntingly big shoes to fill. Luckily, ARGNet still has an incredible staff of volunteers, and Jonathan will continue to run weekly shows at the ARG Netcast.
Many things at ARGNet will remain the same. ARGNet is still committed to reporting on alternate reality games, cross-media experiences, interactive storytelling, and projects that amaze and astound. And while you may notice a few minor changes to the website’s appearance over the coming months, ARGNet will remain largely unchanged. Here’s a preview of some of the changes you might be seeing in the near future.
ARGNet is actively looking for new volunteer staff writers. So if you’re enthusiastic about the genre and interested in writing an article for ARGNet once a month, let us know. The submission guidelines are as follows:
- Write a blurb-style article on any currently running game.
- Write a feature article on any of these topics: 1) a game, current or historical; 2) an interesting story or aspect of the ARG community; 3) a topic of interest to the ARGNet readership; 4) being a puppetmaster or behind-the-scenes game creator.
Articles should be clear and concise: we don’t pay by the word. In fact, we don’t pay at all. On the bright side, that also means that despite hard economic times, we haven’t been forced to cut writer salaries. Email entries to [email protected] by October 1 at 11:59PM EST. If you’re interested in writing a guest post, contact us with your proposal through our contact form.
Change. It’ll do you good, or so says Sheryl Crow, and who are we to argue with Sheryl Crow? After a small statement about a year ago regarding the backend of the argn.com web site comes the all new, shiny and sleek 2009 version of the web site. This year’s model — and no, we’re not going to be updating the look every year, mmmkay? — comes with a powerful WordPress 2.7 engine under the hood, some fancy new Web 2.0 AJAX-y image handling, and a much needed management system for the What’s Hot list in the sidebar. Other enhancements include a more aesthetically-pleasing comment system (that’s for you), a quicker load time (again, for you) and a comment spam system that doesn’t make us want to gouge our eyes out with rusty scissors (for us, definitely for us).
As the transition went down earlier today, I had the feeling that things would go horribly, horribly awry. Much to my chagrin, nay, AMAZEMENT, everything has seemingly gone off without a hitch. That is not to say we have overlooked nothing, so if you find an error or a cause for concern, send us a note via our contact form.
The site redesign could not have happened without the full cooperation of the ARGNet staff — you can read more about them by clicking on their names in the sidebar over -> there. I would also like to extend a special thanks to drizjr and Alex Farnsworth who answered the call for volunteers and dedicated their time over the last few weeks to getting posts edited and ready for the relaunch. Between the staffers and the two volunteers, a whopping 1,555 tags were applied to 695 posts in 16 categories, which is no small feat in itself.
We hope you like the new design, and hope you continue to visit for the latest news, rumors and interviews related to alternate reality gaming, cross-media entertainment and experience design!
Just before the holidays, we asked our readers to come forward and join our staff of volunteers, and wouldn’t you know it, some of you did just that. Now that the craziness of the holiday season is over and we are firmly planted in 2009, we’d like to make things official by welcoming our new staffers!
John Fogg joined the ranks of the ARGonauts in 2002 when he followed along with Push, Nevada, the short-lived television series with an extended reality and a one million dollar prize. According to his staff bio, he spends a lot of free time researching cross-platform narratives and stories that play out in a non-traditional ways, and so far he has written about Natalie Ross and Breathe, the new project by Expanding Universe.
Tim Hill is a filmmaker and storyteller from the sunny shores of Australia, earning him the distinction of being our sole international staffer in a while. Tim is the creator of Jack Kain an interactive film that takes place on the Internet. He is the only person on staff that I know of who “debat(es) the merits of fluoridated water.” Tim has written a lovely article on This is My Milwaukee, an experience that has created a great deal of buzz within the ARG community and beyond.
Robbie Smith describes himself as, “a flash-developer by day and comic nerd by night.” He got involved with the Dark Knight ARG and hasn’t looked back since. Robbie wrote a recent article on Transition Village and a brilliant feature called The Family That Games Together in which he details how he managed to get his mother involved with Project Abraham. We imagine Robbie might not be celebrating the recent NCAA football title win by the Florida Gators, seeing as how he is a rabid fan of the state rival Seminoles of Florida State.
Once again, we welcome our new writers to the fold, and know that their contributions will mean even more news about ARGs, cross-media experiences, extended realities and anything else we might dig up, tune into or have sent to us in the mail.