This article is the fourth in a series, providing summaries of the panel presentations at ARGFest-o-Con 2008 in Boston
The third panel discussion featured Brian Clark of GMD Studios as moderator, Patrick Moeller (ARGReporter, vm-people GmbH), Alexander Serrano (vm-people GmbH), and Genevieve Cardin (Baroblik communication et multimedia). The panel discussed the blossoming ARG market in countries that have yet to enjoy the wonders of Fried Oreos.
The discussion started with a brief history of the alternate gaming market in Germany, from its humble beginnings as a student project about the World Cup to the present day, with three grassroots projects running concurrently, and commercial ARGs both international and domestic targeting the country. Cardin noted her experiences entering a market she didn’t even know existed through her multi-lingual games.
Often, the developers noted, the decision to go International is more of a matter of budget than that of language barrier concerns. The panelists noted a few differences in play styles. For instance, the media involved for projects with target audiences with limited access to flat-rate internet service plans need to be adjusted accordingly. Additionally, the popularity of devices with GPS capabilities has led to the popularity of geo-caching in Germany.
Creating international ARGs as opposed to region-based games may present its own difficulties. A member of the audience noted that creating games spanning more than one language requires highly skilled translators, since they must create adaptations of the game that take into account its subtle nuances. Furthermore, navigating the international legal quagmires may mean a significant amount of time is spent talking with lawyers. The challenge of finding people in other locations also becomes grander on the global stage.
It’s been three days since Find the Lost Ring launched with a fanfare of posters and yarn. Since that time, players and puppetmasters alike have been busily fulfilling the prophetic messages written on vintage Olympic postcards. The game traces a story fraught with mystery and intrigue across the globe in so many languages, you’ll be glad you studied Esperanto in university. You did study Esperanto, didn’t you?
If you’ve been reading ARGNet recently, you might be able to guess one of the developers behind the curtain. However, it’s now official. According to the Lost Ring development team,
The Lost Ring is a global alternate reality adventure created in partnership between McDonald’s, AKQA and Jane McGonigal. Designed in collaboration with the IOC, The Lost Ring invites players from across the globe to join forces online and in the real world, as they investigate forgotten mysteries and urban legends of the ancient games. The Lost Ring recognizes McDonald’s historic sponsorship of the Olympic Games, and brings the spirit of the Games to people around the world.
Jane McGonigal adds that she is “so thrilled to be collaborating with these organizations to create what we hope will be the most global ARG, ever. This is really a dream project for me – we are bringing together the two kinds of games, ARGs and the Olympics, that have the power to engage and unite people all over the world.” So far, the game is succeeding admirably, with characters interacting with players in English, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Esperanto.
If your curiosity is piqued, a brief review of what’s happened so far is waiting for you after the jump.
Ah, trailheads. They come, they go, some are memorable, and some are forgettable. And some come in pretty wooden boxes. No, I’m not reminiscing about the kick-off to the original Sammeeeees game, I’m taking about a brand new game that seems to be originating from Germany. On Friday, I was pleasantly surprised to find a parcel card in my post office box — I wasn’t expecting a package, but I am always a bit excited to find one waiting for me. Handing the card to the clerk, she exchanged it for a plain brown padded envelope.
Nothing too strange here — the postmark reads “Briefzentrum 60” — so I was eager to peek inside. Once I got out of the cold air and into the warmth of my vehicle, I tore open the end of the envelope, to find a small, flat wooden box inside.
Sliding open the top of the box revealed two pieces of paper. On one, a message, seemingly written on a typewriter: “To execute these commandments you’ll have to find the properly gifted fellows.” The other, a punch card, was riddled with rectangular holes, and had “THE FINAL MILL INC. SERIES AAB” written in ink on the back. We have pictures and more information about the campaign after the jump, for those ready to travel further down the rabbithole.
Our good friend Patrick Möller over at ARGR has tipped us off to what might be the first alternate reality game to originate in Germany. It launched on May 18th, and is called Rettet den Fußball which, loosely translated, means “Save the Football”. According to Patrick, the story involves a professor who finds seven statues on an archaeological excavation that look like footballers (soccer players) and dancers. Using various communication venues, players will be sent on the trail of thieves who steal all but one of the statues — and there might just be a prize at the end of the game. The game has already received press coverage in Germany at the Deutsche Telekom web site, and Patrick has articles up at his ARG news site as well.
With the help of online translator services, the game could feasibly be followed by non-German speakers, so it’s worth taking a look at. The group behind the game, Gastfreunde, is made up of students and is quite open about the project, so we can assume that the effort has been made to make this an excellent experience. We certainly wish them well on their first journey behind the curtain.
The recent successes of Perplex City (UK based) and Regenesis (Canada based) have been a strong indicator that Alternate Reality Gaming is spreading around the globe. Two new developments, an El Salavador-based game and a German-based ARG news site, have helped to move the ARG scene even further into global play.
Agente X is a spy ARG based out of El Salvador. An early launch in December has netted the site far more signups than originally expected. The game promises to shake up the lives of those who are bored with the monotony of everyday routines. This is an ambitious project and would be worth looking into if you are a Spanish speaker.
Patmo.de is a new German language news site with articles on current events in the ARG world, including recent writeups on Who is Benjamin Stove, Perplex City, Araya Benedict, and Orbicon. The site has been added to our Blogroll.
We at ARGN would like to welcome Patmo and Agente X, and hope to see more and more worldwide interest in ARGs in the future.