Alternate Reality Games
Commentary from http://www.argn.com/what.html :
"Alternate Reality Gaming is, according to CNET, "...an obsession-inspiring genre that blends real-life treasure hunting, interactive storytelling, video games and online community...
"These games are an intensely complicated series of puzzles involving coded Web sites, real-world clues like the newspaper advertisements, phone calls in the middle of the night from game characters and more. That blend of real-world activities and a dramatic storyline has proven irresistible to many." (http://news.com.com/Blurring+the+line+between+games+and+life/2100-1024_3-5590956.html)
These games (which are usually free to play) often have a specific goal of not only involving the player with the story and/or fictional characters but of connecting them to the real world and to each other. Many game puzzles can be solved only by the collaborative efforts of multiple players, sometimes requiring one or more players to get up from their computers to go outside to find clues or other planted assets in the real world.
For more info, see Stewart's introduction and explanation of The Beast , the first mainstream Alternate Reality Game." (http://www.argn.com/what.html )
- Alternate Reality Gaming Network at http://argn.com/
- Wired article at http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/16-01/ff_args
- Reason article at http://www.reason.com/news/show/34085.html