Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) was the focus for Week 5, those games that spill over into “real life” and make use of a range of delivery platforms to present clues to puzzles that generally are intended to be solved in a collaborative fashion. Of course, there are many flavours of ARG and with it, its own particular language. Terms such as “rabbit hole” (the event/activity/artifact/trigger that gets you started in the ARG) and “puppetmaster” (the person overseeing the game events) give a taste of the generally playful nature of these types of games.
Educause offers a punchy scenario for the use of an ARG as a uni orientation tool along with 7 points explaining the concept and benefits here – and Jane McGonigal explains the six key elements (cross-media, pervasive, persistent, collaborative, constructive, expressive) in a slideshare here
Seth Priebatsch (founder of SCVNGR) gives an interesting TEDx talk about putting a game layer on top of the world
Some of his game dynamics:
Appointment dynamic – in which to succeed, players must return at a predefined time to take a predetermined action (e.g Happy Hour, watering crops at a certain time in Farmville)
Influence and status – the ability of one player to modify the behaviour of another’s actions through social pressure (e.g Platinum Amex card, BLAP)
Progression dynamic – a dynamic in which success is granularly displayed and measured through the process of completing itemised tasks (e.g LinkedIn profile progress bar, levelling up in WoW)
Communal discovery – a dynamic wherein an entire community is rallied together to solve a challenge (McDonalds Monopoly, DARPA balloon challenge)
And to wrap up, just a stray thought that I might mull over further in time – Is gamification too heavily focussed on social interaction and collaboration – the natural home of the extroverts. Can there be more gamified options for introverts – what shape would they take?