Tag: Secret Tourism

Accomplice Hollywood: “Legendary” ARG Experience with Neil Patrick Harris

accomplice-hollywoodThis article is the second in a series on “secret tourism” spots: cities that provide immersive experiences to residents and tourists alike, as long as you know where and what to look for.

He’s played a genius child doctor and a likable womanizer. He’s hosted the Tony’s and will do the same for the Emmy Awards this year. He’s become an internet sing-along sensation as Dr. Horrible. Now, Neil Patrick Harris can add Puppetmaster to his list of credentials, as he is co-producing an ARG experience in California called Accomplice: Hollywood.

Accomplice: Hollywood is a third in a series of live theatrical experiences that send participants out into the city to find clues and interact with characters in public places. Harris describes it as, “[p]art walking tour, part murder mystery, part scavenger hunt”. After playing Accomplice: New York himself a few years ago, Harris collaborated with the original creators, Tom Salamon and Betsy Sufott, to bring the experience to the West Coast.

This third installment involves a missing starlet named Nikki Desmond. Participants purchase tickets in advance, but have no information other than the date and time of the event and a video, starring Harris himself, with some background information on Desmond. A few days before the event, participants will receive a phone call from a character with the meeting location and other details. When they arrive, they suddenly find themselves immersed in the world of Nikki Desmond. They help solve the mystery behind Desmond’s disappearance while exploring Hollywood.

The customer reviews for all three Accomplice experiences are outstanding, with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. This definitely looks to be a fun experience for anyone living in Hollywood or New York. Tickets can be purchased through the Accomplice website.

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK: Picture the Impossible

picturetheimpossibleThis article is the first in a series on “secret tourism” spots: cities that provide immersive experiences to residents and tourists alike, as long as you know where and what to look for.

The Rochester Institute of Technology and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newspaper are teaming up with Microsoft Bing to transform Rochester, New York into an urban playground between September 12th and October 31st with “Picture the Impossible“. The alternate reality game plans to showcase the city of Rochester through a series of online puzzles, live events, and clues hidden within the daily newspaper. Mobile-enabled participants can even test their wits against geo-locative puzzles designed by SCVNGR. Participants are encouraged to join one of three factions, each supporting a different local charity. Players in the Tree, Forge, and Watch factions raise money for Golisano Children’s Hospital, Foodlink, and Wilson Commencement Park, respectively. The experience culminates with an invite-only Halloween ball for the top 300 contestants. Players also have the chance to win prizes from Kodak, a company originally founded in Rochester.

“Picture the Impossible” provides an excellent opportunity to develop community bonds through play, while promoting local charities at the same time. If you live in the Rochester area, give “Picture the Impossible” a try, and see if it makes you look at the city in a different light. If you don’t live in the area, maybe now is the time to visit. While the game doesn’t start for another week, registration opens today at PicturetheImpossible.com. You can also follow along by becoming a fan of the game on Facebook.

Alternate reality games are often touted for their ability to capture attention on a global platform. For example, last year McDonalds sponsored The Lost Ring, a massive alternate reality game that reportedly attracted millions of players across the world, from Beijing to Buenos Aires. The same techniques that lead to the formation of massive global communities can also serve to foster closer connections within local communities, while providing unique ways for tourists to experience cities. With hope, we’ll be seeing and writing more about these experiences in the near future.

Click Here to learn more about the game at the Bing community blog.
Click Here to learn more about the game at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.