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Instructables' Alternate Reality Game. Why not? Answered

While I was at work I hit on an idea.  The instructable's community if filled with people with broad expertise, talents and interests from all over the world.  This is the key element in both creating and solving alternate reality games. 

For those who may not know, an ARG is a game that is played by hiding clues around the world for people to find and solve.  These clues can be extremely vague or even downright unbelievable.  This sounds daunting and like it wouldn't work but it actually works better than you could believe.  ARG's have been used to promote movies, products, etc by engaging players in a reality within our own and attracting press attention. 

Some better known examples are:
A.I.(The Beast) - This site also includes some other examples
Star Trek - this one is unbelievably complicated but with thousands of dedicated fans it was pretty much solved.

The thought is we, the community here at instructables.com, could run an ARG to draw in people and the media to promote a topic of our choice using the people and talents found here.  If we work together we might be able to succeed at something amazing and promote instructables or even environmentally friendly lifestyles and technology.  I don't know if I personally have the time to fully dedicate myself to something as big as this and I have never had the chance to participate in one but with the right group of instructable members this could become a reality.

Story example:  Messages from a future where the world is coming to an end due to widespread global disasters begin to appear all over the planet warning and guiding its players through efforts that might be able to prevent such a future. 

It might even be possible to run the game over several years/decades and never let people know if it is real, just a game, or even who is doing it.  If done right, this might even cause people to affect evironmental change in their area.

This would work kind of like the biggest, longest stealth flash mob ever created : )  The benefit is the costs would be significantly lower than traditional ARG's since we are all over the world and know how to do/build amazing things and love doing so in our free time.

Any thoughts?

I would suggest that specific details should be kept out of public forums like this one to prevent an information leak if this becomes a reality.

UPDATE:  I have setup a webpage(http://arg.42dotservegame.org) to help manage the different aspects of a multi-user project like this.  The page is restricted to only those that have been invited to join.  To get an invite, please PM me and I will get you setup with an account.  The username will be the same as your instructable username to prevent confusion.  This is to limit access initially until everything gets rolling.  Later, active users will be given rights to invite others they think will be good resources.  As of right now there are still some things that need to be worked on within the page but I think it is functional enough to be used. 

Features that are provided are:
-Integrated chat
-Limited/restricted file uploads and downloads


I know someone who can setup a website for things like these. All I have to do is wait until he becomes online in Yahoo Messenger... Hmm, this will take a while... Meanwhile, I'll try to contact a couple of people I know that uses instructables (one of which is completely dormant, zero activity (but I know his location)). I'll also contact a few other people to check if they use instructables as well. I also happen to know a good place for hiding clues...... Time to PM you.

I have a webpage setup right now and it is pretty functional but if your friend wants to set something up then that would be great.  I don't have a lot of time so having someone else administer a site would be appreciated.


People hide clues around the real world to help with an online game?

<scratches head>

If you check out the links it will explain it better.  Basically the game takes place in real life.  The players know something is going on but they are trying to solve it to be led to the next step as it plays out.  The Star Trek video is the best example.  I will try to find a better way to phrase the above.  It is late here so I should probably do it after I get some sleep.

 I dunno if we havea large enough membership. 'cept for the Bay Area and such,  last we checked, we very rarely have active members (folks who would participate) within the same city. Now in San Fran it might work, but for everybody else.... not so well.

Don't really know where everyone is.  Most people don't give their location but we can try.  Besides, the entire game can be done via the internet with little real world interation.  You just have to come up with a good story line to explain this. 

Right now I am trying to find a good webbased system to allow us access to what we need to organizing/discuss something like this in private.  I am thinking a type of CMS since a Wiki doesn't provide the best organization for proper discussion.

 a while back there was an interactive map built mapping out the majority of the "really active users".

does it still exist?  If you have a link I think this would be really cool.  I am going to try and find it but a link would definitely help.

It does but it's well-out of date - no point in digging that up.


How was it made? Would it be possible to do another one?

Wow, we really do need something cool like this.

This is something you should put together. Start doing it and see where you get.


Not quite sure how to get something like this started.  Right now I am thinking the best place to start is by providing a private forum for discussion.  I am setting up a MediaWiki site using a web server I already have.  I will post the address when I have it up so people will be able to request access and maybe it can get started.