Tag: Atlanta

ARGFest is Almost Here

This year will mark the 8th anniversary of ARGfest, and this year’s conference promises to be the most ambitious yet. The format has changed and expanded to include four days of information, networking and game-filled fun. The two day conference will take place on July 15th and 16th and will be filled with presentations, panels and roundtables galore. And in the spirit of the conference’s new “Think! Play! Do!” theme, a gaming festival has been added July 17th and 18th, where festival-goers will be able to participate in street games, location-based games, storytelling events and ARG live events.

The full conference schedule has not yet been released, but some of the announced panels include one involving casual social games and one made up of ARG enthusiasts. Presentations include Brooke Thompson’s “Can Transmedia Save the Soap Opera” and Patrick Möller’s “Follow the Rabbit”. The conference will also feature a return of the ARG Museum, a display of artifacts from past alternate reality games. In addition to the typical conference activities, this year’s ARGfest will include a writing workshop with Maureen McHugh of No Mimes Media, a mini game jam that will help participants create a working game prototype by the end of the weekend, and an organic panel session that will be shaped on the fly by the audience.

ARGfest 2010 will take place July 15th through the 18th at the W Atlanta-Midtown hotel. Multiple registration packages are available on the ARGfest website or at the door. Hotel reservations can be made on the website at the discounted group rate.

Editor’s Note:  Tomorrow (June 27th) is the last day for ARGFest’s Regular Registration rates, so now is an ideal time to select the package that best reflects your interests.

The Art Of The Heist: Atlanta Update

heistcam.jpgYesterday’s real world event in Atlanta, part of the Art of the Heist ARG, turned out to be an adventure of sorts, as three ARG community members played crucial roles in the story and provided more drama and intrigue in the game that continues to blur the lines between reality and Alternate Reality.

The three ‘retrievers’ who play on the Unfiction forums (Valkyros, Meghan, and j5) met with in-game character Nisha at a restaurant early in the day, where they were given a mission: obtain an SD card from the inside of an Audi parked at a nearby dealership. The three players devised a plan:

Excerpt from Valkyros’ account of what happened:
The plan was straightforward, I was to proceed first to eyeball the site and provide security overwatch. Meghan was then to saunter in and corner the salesman posted near the A3. Nisha suggested that Meghan steer him to the $129,000 A8 parked in the northernmost corner of the show room. Once this was accomplished, J5 would enter showroom and get in the relatively untended A3. From there he would rifle the car and hopefully locate the SD card.

The actual retrieval process by j5 was like something from a James Bond movie, while online players watched the scene via webcam:

Excerpt from j5’s account of what happened:
I did a once around and entered the driver’s side door. Once in, I immediately started looking in the obvious places. I opened the armrest, found an accordion panel and slid it open, “nothing” I felt around the steering wheel “check under the floor mats” Nisha suggests in my earpiece. Right about the time I start lifting floor mats, a tall man in a white dealership shirt approached and introduced himself, holding out his arm at full length to shove his hand into the window of the car. I took him to be the GM of the store based on his presence, so I shook his hand and introduced myself. He asked If I had any questions or needed help with anything or if I was interested in a brochure. “As a matter of fact, a brochure would be great, can you locate one for me?” Once he was gone, the search began again in earnest; I was sliding seats all the way back in their tracks, removing ashtrays, pulling off panels. Nisha continued offering suggestions and asking where I had looked.

The mission was a success, as J5 found and retrieved the SD card and then met up with Nisha and the other players at their rendezvous point.

With the high profile theft of an Audi A3 from a car show, and this intense mission, this game has quickly become one of the most impressive games in ARG history. We can only hope that Art of the Heist continues to blow our minds as the story unfolds.

Discussion at Unfiction
Chat in #heist

The Art Of The Heist: Atlanta!

redaudithumb.jpgAfter an interesting real world event in New York City involving a stolen Audi A3 two weeks ago, The Art of the Heist appears set to bring their Alternate Reality into the lives of those players lucky enough to live in Atlanta, Georgia. In-game communication between two characters led perceptive players to ads at Monster.com (which has since been removed) and Craig’s List, where Nisha, one of the protagonists in the story, asks for public assistance.

Once the ads were decoded (what would an in-game announcement be without encryption?), players were prompted to email the character for more details. Those that made the effort were sent this reply:

Thanks for your interest in helping. We are looking for retrievers in Atlanta to help secure an item. You must pass a background check in order to accomplish this task. You will be required to sign a release. You will be trained to operate some electronic equipment and given a task to accomplish, and you will work as a team under the direction of Nisha Roberts.

Applicants were told to be available for Saturday, April 16th, from Noon to 3:00 pm local time if they wanted to participate. The players were also subjected to background checks — three Unfiction forum members have passed these and are going to be on-scene for the event.

Within days of the ads being discovered, information was released in-game about the location of where the event will take place — an Audi dealership. As well, the characters have set up a image webcast for their worldwide audience to tune in as things happen. This means that all players (and not only those who can make it to Atlanta) will be able to take part in this unique opportunity. Community members are extremely excited about this event, and are eager to find out what will happen in this exciting ARG.

So far, this game has been a huge hit with the players, and with the innovations and creativity they’ve seen so far, it’s easy to see why AotH players are hooked. ARGN will bring you the very latest details as this story unfolds.

Discussion at Unfiction
Chat in #heist