Blog Post

Updates on the ARG at UNC

Just wanted to give you all an update with where we are at with the alternate reality game (ARG) at UNC.

We have finished creating all the puzzles and have mapped out the entire storyline with puzzles and content and clues in a big diagram. I would love to show this to you but there are many things about the game that must be kept secret for now. When the game is concluded, I will probably make the diagram available on our website.

Last weekend we had some undergraduate students work with us to test the puzzles and the overall game. Emily King and Libby Evans conducted the game testing. Later one of the students told me about her experiences with the game testing. She talked about one puzzle we have that seems incredibly difficult at first; but once you figure out the trick to it, it's actually quite simple. She said she had been working with the other students to figure it out (yay! collaboration!) and they went round and round with it for about half an hour before they figured out the trick. I asked her, "If you were doing this on your own not as a volunteer to help us test the game, would you have given up at some point?" And happily she said, "Oh no! I wanted to figure it out!"

It is interesting to me that some people think young, college-age adults have limited attention spans. Clearly this is not the case. The puzzle bugged her and the other game testers enough to encourage them to keep plugging away at it. They really wanted to figure it out. They stuck with it. (So cool, they probably felt challenged and engaged!)

We also met recently with our sponsors to give them an update on our progress and ask for feedback. That meeting went very well. Brian Sturm, our storymaster, led them through a mini-ARG intended to teach them about our UNC ARG. In other words, the series of puzzles and story he walked them through was intended to be an enjoyable and concise way to help them understand the storyline we've created for the ARG. They seemed to really enjoy the puzzles and I think the meeting was a success.

So we just keep moving forward. I am excited that we have made so much progress. Stay tuned.


1 comment

Thanks for the update on this project. I had considered, briefly, constructing my masters thesis as an ARG but quickly nixed the idea when the massive logistic needed to pull it off set in about 5 min after I came up with the concept. I can't wait to hear how this goes.