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    Grr … ARGs

    Hi there!

    Hey! Y’know what I just realized? That I can actually make BLOG posts on this site without having to stammer my way through a video every time! That’s special! 😉

    My boss just sent me an article about the various ways that academic libraries attract freshman into their library space.  Showing here: http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6703840.html?nid=2673&source=title&rid=2048373597& Although this article mentions a few different ways to get users into the library, I’m going to focus on the briefly mentioned “ARGs”.

    When I was younger, I used to write out these complicated ‘Dventures (because leaving off the initial “a” makes it cooler) in which I’d leave clues to a “treasure” all over the neighborhood and force my brother to begrudgingly find it.  I got my idea from movies like “Midnight Madness” and “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World”. (and one episode of The Incredible Hulk which ripped off The Most Dangerous Game) I’m told that nowadays, people construct byzantine scavenger-hunt-type “Alternate Reality Games” which throws roleplay into the mix by getting people to imagine that they’re international spies, super-sleuths, or even Hitchcockian “Ordinary Men” who must uncover a fiendish plot by following clues.

    This is pretty much the kind of thing that I was BORN to do. Getting a bunch of people to do something silly and immature in the name of gaming is kind of my forte.  Making it LIBRARY-based only sweetens the deal.  There’s only two things that make me nervous about this. 1) Getting a bunch of jaded college kids excited about library research, and 2) organizing an event that requires people to sneak around campus acting suspiciously and leaving unattended packages all over the place in our paranoid post 9/11 world. 😦

    Has anyone out there had any experience in playing/organizing ARGs? I’m afraid that this would either be a project far too complicated for me to accomplish, or else I’d wind up with some pitiful little exercise where students  go on a boring little scavenger hunt for books. 😦 (or, that the first person to go through the game will muck up the clues for others)

    If I knew that actual GAMERS were going to play with this, I’d know exactly how to handle it, but these are [gasp!!] … students. 😦 I guess one alternative would be to do some kind of tabletop gaming session where people are forced to perform library searches while at the game table. The article up there even shows kids seated at a table with maps and other print resources spread out before them.  So that might work, too. Maybe a weekly game throughout the semester where students have to get me the answer by each week for the “story” to continue. At the end of the semester we give out a prize? That would be great if we get a bunch of people playing, but if there are only two or three students involved, it loses something. 😦

    Any suggestions?

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