Thursday, July 11, 2013

Delving into the world of ARGs and Transmedia

Since things are slow in the world of ARGs (I really have no interest in Disney's The Optimist), I've been reading and exploring different blogs, websites, books, articles, and resources that focus on ARGs and transmedia. I'm very interested in bringing these approaches to my classroom in the fall, using ARGs and/or transmedia approaches to teaching in both my university classroom and in the public schools (I work closely with public school language arts teachers).

To be honest, I am pretty underwhelmed by what I see out there. This is not to say that I can do any better! I've run a couple of ARGs and it's not easy, especially without money and/or a team. Current ARGs seem to be either very grassroots and often poorly designed (for some reason I can't "get into" so many of the games out there. No compelling narrative OR web design as far as I can see), or they are very corporate and heavily sponsored. These are so slick they seem to run on rails and are no more interesting to me than watching a sitcom or reading a magazine. Entertaining and diverting in their own right, but they don't feel like "alternate reality" to me.

I keep turning to the ghosts of ARGs past for inspiration when developing projects for my students this fall. Does this mean that the time for ARGs is past? Or are they still so much in their infancy that there is not yet a consistent model that we can count on?

I realize that ARGs and transmedia projects are not always one and the same. I'm still learning about both of these fields and I look forward to encountering more of the creative and innovative thinking that I've seen in past games.

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