Steve Peters

Experience Design

How to Design an ARG in 20 Easy Steps

So, since I continue to be an open-source kinda guy where Alternate Reality Games are concerned, here are (apparently) the simple steps to building an ARG, to save everyone the trouble of re-inventing the wheel every time:
  1. Distribute mysterious, cool SWAG out to bloggers, previous players, or crowds at huge events that contains...
  2. A PUZZLE (or even better, a QR Code, OMG) that leads to a flashy website with a...
  3. COUNTDOWN that, when it hits zero, launches a...
  4. WEBSITE for a nefarious corporation, with links to...
  5. SOCIAL MEDIA accounts for various characters, one of which is...
  6. A HOT BRUNETTE ASKING FOR PLAYERS' HELP, so she directs them to...
  7. A SIGNUP PAGE (or even better, Facebook Connect) so players can have the hope of getting...
  8. FREE SWAG in exchange for spamming their friends and giving up their contact information, which is then used to...
  9. EMAIL everyone with a link to a...
  10. CASUAL FLASH GAME that 5000 people (give or take) have to beat to reveal...
  11. GPS COORDINATES/CITIES and TIMES on a big list that will cause players to spend valuable time and petrol to attend...
  12. LIVE EVENTS (preferably a scavenger hunt...with helicopters), where you can get lots of photos/videos, generate lots of buzz, give out even more free swag (first come, first served), and reveal clues to another website where players can submit...
  13. USER GENERATED CONTENT, which you reward by sending them...
  14. MORE FREE SWAG, which contains a puzzle that leads to a...
  15. PHONE NUMBER, that reveals someone getting killed somewhere, but after they hang up, they get a...
  16. TEXT MESSAGE that reveals pieces of a photograph that players must...
  17. SHARE INFORMATION TO SOLVE, and when they do, they find an...
  18. EXCLUSIVE DIGITAL TRAILER that has a...
  19. HIDDEN LINK to a page where they can sign up (first come, first served) for a...
  20. PREVIEW SCREENING OF A FILM where they will receive even MORE SWAG and a SURPRISE PHONE CALL.

Take all of the above, bundle it up in a Light Narrative Wrapperâ„¢, and voila! You're now an ARG Designer! Congratulations!

Note: This list can also be used as an ARG Drinking Game.

Enjoy! And, you're welcome! :)