By Tom Whitwell


Alternative Reality Games are like video games, but in real life. Players get clues from websites, newspaper advertisements or voicemails, then go out into the world to find more clues and report back to internet forums and message boards.


Some are huge – WhySoSerious was a complex mystery, attracting hundreds of thousands of players, to promote The Dark Knight. Players were sent text messages telling them to collect cakes from bakeries all over the US. Baked into the cakes were mobile phones, which were sent further clues.


Meanwhile, earlier this year, Penguin Books ran We Tell Stories, an elegantly crafted game, which attracted around 30 players. At one point, six of those players arrived at a pub with gifts for a mysterious man who was sitting in the corner. Fortunately, he was part of the game. Unfortunately, his character was supposed to be French, but he couldn’t speak a word of the language. Here’s a 85-page forum post about the game.


Fascinated? Planning to be in New York at the end of this month? (home of the Alternate Reality Gaming Network) has information about an intriguing Big Apple Hallowe’en game, Sea of Glass. 18/11/08