The phrase “This Is Not a Game” has resonated over the years as an often misunderstood mantra for alternate reality gaming. Thus, I say the following with a bit of hesitation: This is Not a Game is, surprisingly enough, not actually a game. At least, it isn’t if you’re talking about Walter Jon Williams’ newest novel of the same name, due out March 24th.
This Is Not a Game (not to be confused with Dave Szulborski’s book of the same title) is a novel about Dagmar, an alternate reality game designer trapped in Jakarta during a revolution. When one of her co-workers is gunned down in the parking lot, she draws on her game’s player base to help her without their knowledge, diverting player talents and energies to solve her problems within the context of the ARG.
Walter Jon Williams is no stranger to alternate reality games, and worked with 42 Entertainment as a writer for Last Call Poker, working with prose, radio plays, comic books, sound files, puzzles, and teleplays. You can read more about his time working on Last Call Poker at his blog, Angel Station. His experience with Last Call Poker inspired him, in his words, “to take this bright, hot, blazingly hip new medium and turn it into ink on dead paper.” Williams’ goal with This Is Not a Game is to capture both the frantic pace and sense of danger ARGs can convey due to the immediacy of feedback and dynamic nature of the game due to player involvement.
While the plot of the novel centers around alternate reality gaming, there are no plans to develop cross-media…yet. However, Orbit Books has already picked up two more books in Williams’ new universe, starting with a direct sequel, Deep State.
Click here to pre-order This Is Not a Game at Amazon
Dave Szulborski, author of “This is Not a Game,” will be featured in an hour long live radio interview tomorrow night, June 9th at midnight on the show Beyond Strange and Mysterious. The show is broadcast on WSNR 620 AM from New York City and reaches New York, Pennsylvania, parts of Connecticut, and is also syndicated in Virginia.
Dave will be speaking about his experiences as an amateur and professional ARG creator, including his involvement with Audi’s Art of the Heist campaign. He’ll also be speaking about his book This Is Not A Game, the release of the hard cover edition, and upcoming books he will be releasing very soon. You can expect him to drop a few hints about his upcoming projects as well, including Project Game Light and a few other tantalizing surprises.
A new book is scheduled to hit the shelves that will really have a big impact on Alternate Reality Gaming. This Is Not A Game: A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming by Dave Szulborski will be available in e-book and print-on-demand format in mid-January 2005 and in a traditional print version in February 2005. An MP3 book “on tape” will also be available. For a limited time, the first 2 chapters of this book are available to download for free!
Dave is the creator of several successful and critically acclaimed Alternate Reality Games including Chasing The Wish and Urban Hunt. From the book’s website:
Some of the founders and leading lights of the newest and hottest trend in entertainment announced today that they have joined forces to produce the first ever how-to book on the subject. Titled This is Not a Game, the new book promises to be a how-to resource for the casual game developer and media strategists alike who wish to explore the genre of Alternate Reality Gaming also called immersive gaming….
…While Alternate Reality Gaming has been around for several years, the recent phenomenal success of the online game “I Love Bees“, produced by Microsoft and Bungie to promote the release of the much anticipated video game Halo 2, has brought thousands of new participants into the genre and launched Immersive Gaming into the mainstream consciousness once and for all. ARG/immersive gaming has been featured in media venues such as CNN, Trendcentral, BBC, New York Times and countless other sources as of late.
This is Not a Game provides a concise and easy-to-understand explanation of the alternate reality game and why so many major marketing and entertainment companies are now turning to immersive gaming and marketing efforts to promote their biggest product releases. Tracing the roots of the genre back to the earliest days of online interactive fiction up through the most recent alternate reality games, This is Not a Game allows anyone, regardless of their level of knowledge and experience with the Internet or online gaming, to jump right in and become fully immersed in this exciting and engaging new form of entertainment.
The new book will also contain contributions from author and media theorist Joseph Matheny, ARGN founder Steve Peters, professional stage illusionist Ben Mack with website and cover design by cutting edge gaming artist Denny Unger of Worldworks Games.
Keep an eye on immersivegaming.com for future announcements and details as they become available.