Alternate Reality games (ARG), otherwise known as Transmedia games cross multiple platforms to fully involve the player with real world elements such a parcels in the post, phone calls and co-ordinates for meetings. They are fully immersive games in which players interact with the characters as well as each other. Each ARG has a trailhead which starts the game and helps you to find the next place to go.
The Dark Knight used ARG to good effect to promote the release of the film, the success of the ‘Why so Serious?’ campaign was phenomenal with 10 million participants online:
Black Helix is a new ARG that is running throughout March 2011 and looks to take Transmedia gaming a step further. Over a period of four weeks players are engaged into an interactive game that will include live events, phone calls, parcels in the post, real world tasks and a final role playing event.
Unlike most ARGs (and this is where it gets really interesting) players of Black Helix will become part of an unwritten story – the game is responding to the players and the alias names, information, research and sub plots that develop over the period of the game will all be integrated into the final story to create a unique ebook.
What’s more, players can join the game at any point via the Black Helix website where all of the videos, photos and clues so far are presented. There is also a Black Helix Facebook page and Twitter feed.
The plot revolves around the kidnapping and players must hunt both online and off to discover the victim’s whereabouts. Here’s the first video:
The game is set to step up a notch tonight at 9:30pm GMT with a live interrogation on Tolerate Nothing with players able to ask questions to help them in their hunt to solve the case.