Playing for real: Designing alternate reality games for teenagers in learning contexts

Elizabeth Bonsignore, Derek Hansen, Kari Kraus, Amanda Visconti, June Ahn, Allison Druin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

An Alternate Reality Game (ARG) is a form of transmedia storytelling that engages players in scavenger hunt-like missions to collectively uncover, interpret, and reassemble the fragments of a story that is distributed across multiple media, platforms, and locations. ARGs are participatory experiences, because players have a central role in reconstructing the storyline. Furthermore, players interact with the game as themselves, not via avatars. Although transmedia formats like ARGs have garnered increasing attention in entertainment and education, most have been targeted for adults 18 and older. Few studies have explored the design process of education-based ARGs for children. In this paper, we detail the design and implementation of an ARG for middle school students (13-15 years old). We describe the strategies we used to distribute story elements across various media and to encourage players to participate in an authentic inquiry process. We found that a "protagonist by proxy", or in-game character with whom players related closely, served as a strong motivator and a model for positive participation. We highlight student interactions and offer insights for designers who implement ARGs and similar immersive learning experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of IDC 2013 - The 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children
Pages237-246
Number of pages10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Event12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2013 - New York, NY, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2013Jun 27 2013

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series

Other

Other12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2013
CountryUnited States
CityNew York, NY
Period6/24/136/27/13

Keywords

  • Alternate reality games
  • Learning
  • Teens
  • Transmedia storytelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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