Alternate reality games, advertising and entertainment: how digital media are changing the way we tell stories

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  • Alternate reality games, advertising and entertainment: how digital media are changing the way we tell stories

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Abstract:

  • Abstract

    Alternate Reality Games are structured around interactive narrative that uses multiple media – text, audio, still images, animation, video, and interactivity – and game elements to engage players, encourage collaboration and tell a story that can be affected by the players’ ideas or actions. They are typified by the idea of ‘Game as Platform’ where there is not one specific platform that the game is played on. Instead it uses numerous elements, both online and offline to tell the story and the game itself is the uniting factor.
    These games have been used successfully in the advertising and entertainment industries to promote brand awareness and to absorb viewers in the settings and themes of films and television shows. They can also be used to engage diverse groups of people in discussion on global issues such as the environment and politics.
    In May 2008 we ran Ireland’s first Alternate Reality Game to a successful conclusion. Using our own learning through this experience and drawing from the experience of others, the aim of this paper is to explore the various factors that influence the relative success of these types of games. The paper will look at their previous usage in entertainment, advertising and conflict resolution and their potential applications as both a social and educational tool.