Tag: Let’s Change the Game

Operation Sleeper Cell: Making the World a Lovelier Place

operationsleepercell.JPGA few months ago, Adrian Hon gathered together a collection of ARG developers with the battle cry, Let’s Change the Game. In collaboration with Cancer Research UK, aspiring game developers were challenged to create an alternate reality game to serve as a fundraiser for a worthy cause: the fight to cure cancer. The winning team would receive £1300 ($2600USD) seed money to develop a campaign that would be promoted through the Cancer Research UK website, 600 plus stores, mailings to over 20 million people, TV ads, a dedicated island on Second Life, and hundreds of live events and races across the country.

On January 31, the judge’s panel selected the pitch for “Operation Sleeper Cell” by the development team Law 37. The game officially launched earlier today via an email from Agent Herring. The game, heralded as “the world’s first massively multiplayer game designed to raise money for charity”, is currently centered around two websites: the Operation Sleeper Cell homepage and the We Are Not the Agency page. The goal of the game is to activate sleeper cells represented as squares on a grid in an effort to thwart the nefarious plans of E.V.I.L. through acts of kindness, puzzle solving, and “spreading loveliness”.

If any of this seems a trifle confusing, the development team set up a Guide to Playing. Operation Sleeper Cell raises money by having individuals and teams purchase virtual currency bonds (BND) that can be spent activating squares on the Grid that will enable missions, live events, story fragments, or special operations. Once a mission is unlocked, everyone is free to play. Sponsors can also purchase advertising ‘cells’ for the game’s front page.

With a staff of over twenty volunteers, Operation: Sleeper Cell aims to spend the next ten weeks raising funds for Cancer Research through a lighthearted, comedy spy game that takes place over websites, blogs, Twitter, and real life. The game’s budget is limited to £1000 (~$2,000USD), with the staff relying on in-kind donations for any additional expenses. Let’s Change the Game founder Adrian Hon commented on the game, saying that “along with raising money for the vital cause of cancer research, Operation: Sleeper Cell shows that games can be a real force for good in the world. Games are often seen as childish distractions or used as scapegoats – what Law 37 have achieved, unpaid, with Operation: Sleeper Cell is a powerful rebuttal to that.”

Click Here for the thread at Unfiction.
Click Here to purchase BNDs or sponsor the campaign.
Click Here to learn more about Cancer Research UK.

Rolling Out a Few New Projects: Six to Start and the Channel 4 New Media Lineup

sixstart.jpgMind Candy may have pulled the plug on Perplex City, but the Hon brothers are back to work at a new company, Six to Start Limited, returning to work on alternate reality gaming. According to Adrian, the name “Six to Start” refers to the classic board games that required players to roll a six before commencing play. Adrian and Dan will be joining forces with James Wallis, the former director of Hogshead Publishing, a hobby-games publisher that you might recognize as one of the expert judges for Let’s Change the Game.

One of the first projects for Six to Start is code-named “The Ministry”, an ARG taking place within a fictional social network. The game is part of Channel 4’s effort to provide engaging educational content to 14-19 year olds. According to a Channel 4 press release, “The Ministry” will be

an online networked game exploring how online privacy and identity apply to real world situations. The game will challenge players to discover how much trust matters online: when you might not know who you’re dealing with, and when information posted online remains persistent and public. Players will network, collaborate and challenge each other from within a fictional social network, using identity as a weapon, and privacy as armor.

In addition to “The Ministry”, Channel 4 will be sponsoring an ARG project by Oil Productions code-named “Route” that focuses on cartography, geography, and genetics, and numerous other cross media experiences. These alternate reality games are part of a larger push by the station to provide educational content to teens through a variety of serious games and new media productions. Alice Taylor, the commissioner for the projects at Channel 4, may be familiar to video game fans through her blog or her work at Kotaku.

Six to Start is currently looking for an experienced Alternate Reality Games producer to round out their staff, although with an application deadline at the end of January, you’d better hurry if you’re interested. As a reminder for our bilingual readers, Jane McGonigal is also looking for a “jr. puppet master” for an upcoming project. In the meantime, I’ll be waiting patiently for a lucky roll of the die to start up one of these exciting new projects.

Changing the game

cruk_logo.gifGiven $2600 and the resources of a major charity dedicated to cancer research, could you come up with an alternate reality game to help raise funds for a worthy cause? That’s what Six to Start and Cancer Research UK would like to find out. Adrian Hon, formerly with Mind Candy, announced the unusual contest on Unfiction last month.

Let’s Change the Game is a competition for aspiring ARG designers, with the challenge of coming up with the best game to raise money for Cancer Research UK and awareness of cancer in general. The first step for potential puppetmasters (after putting together a team with a minimum of three people) is to submit a 500-word design summary to the competition website by November 16th. The best summaries will be shortlisted and asked to submit full proposals. Complete details along with rules can be found on the Let’s Change the Game website. Judges include ARG illuminaries Sean Stewart, Rhianna Pratchett and ARGNet’s own Jonathan Waite.