Interactive Games Make Museums A Place To Play

User-submitted images from the “Ghost of a Chance” interactive multimedia game at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “We think we’re the first museum in the world to host an alternate reality game” …

Interactive Games Make Museums A Place To Play
January 12, 2009

Jane McGonigal, who works for the Institute For The Future in Palo Alto, Calif., has been called the “guru of alternate reality games,” or ARGs. Millions of people play ARGs on their computers for several hours each week

She’s come up with four elements she believes we all need to be happy:

  • satisfying work,
  • the experience of being good at something,
  • time spent with people we like, and
  • the chance to be a part of something bigger.

Games, she says, do all of these things.
“Games work better than most of reality because they give us clear instructions. We know exactly what we’re supposed to do,” McGonigal says. “They give us better feedback; you can’t be good at something unless you’re getting feedback … Gamers don’t mind criticism.”

She says the shared experience of sharing a fictional narrative creates a sense of community among players — tapping into the need to be a part of something bigger.

Beth Merritt, head of the Center for the Future of Museums
“Biologically, games are how we’re hard-wired to learn — that’s its evolutionary role,” Merritt says. “Why shouldn’t adults play games? It’s still the most effective way to learn and push our buttons to get information into our heads.”

World Without Oil (official website is down)

Ghosts of a Chance (was available until 2010. See also: Pheon)

a new game launched in 2010. Browsers block it because of an invalid security certificate

Superstruct Game
live until 2008


The internet mystery that has the world baffled

The internet mystery that has the world baffled
The Telegraph. 6 December 2013

For the past two years, a mysterious online organisation has been setting the world’s finest code-breakers a series of seemingly unsolveable problems. But to what end? Welcome to the world of Cicada 3301


digital steganography: the concealment of secret information within a digital file. Most often seen in conjunction with image files, a recipient who can work out the code – for example, to alter the colour of every 100th pixel – can retrieve an entirely different image from the randomised background “noise”.

the cyberpunk writer William Gibson – specifically his 1992 poem “Agrippa” (a book of the dead), infamous for the fact that it was only published on a 3.5in floppy disk, and was programmed to erase itself after being read once.

Alternate Reality Game (ARG)
Microsoft, for example, had enjoyed huge success with their critically acclaimed “I Love Bees” ARG campaign. Designed to promote the Xbox game Halo 2 in 2004, it used random payphones worldwide to broadcast a War of the Worlds-style radio drama that players would have to solve.


App, Secret Sites Create The Immersive World Of ‘Night Film’

App, Secret Sites Create The Immersive World Of ‘Night Film’
August 19, 2013

When you watch a DVD these days, there’s a whole array of extras waiting for you after the movie — commentaries, deleted scenes, special re-creations that add to the experience.

But what if you are a novelist and want to do the same? Could you? Should you?

In her new thriller, author Marisha Pessl mixes traditional literature with elements from the digital world.
The book is called Night Film, and it’s the fast-moving tale of a relentless journalist trying to unravel the mysterious death of a famous filmmaker’s daughter.

But the story doesn’t end there.