The classic ARG storytelling technique involves putting content into the real world and web as if the story were really happening. But the line between truth and fiction online is blurry -- and getting blurrier all the time -- so not everyone who finds your content will know it's not for real. One person's hoax is another's deeply immersive experience. And what one considers a killer practical joke can be a terrifying ordeal to somebody else. So how does a transmedia designer learn to strike the right balance between immersive and responsible?
Andrea Phillips is a transmedia writer and game designer. Her work includes a variety of educational and commercial projects, including Routes Game, Perplex City, The 2012 Experience for Sony Pictures, Cathy’s Key, and True Blood.
Routes Game was commissioned by Channel 4 Education in the UK in partnership with the Wellcome Trust. Routes was an educational project aimed at teaching teens – and particularly teen girls – about genetics and related science topics. To date, Routes has won the Prix Jeunesse Interactivity Prize, a Broadband Digital award, a BIMA, an IVCA Gold and an IVCA Grand Prix award, and been nominated for several others, including a BAFTA, a Rockie, and a MediaGuardian Innovation Award.
Perplex City created a persistent online world that gave the player community a physical treasure to dig up and an overarching mystery to solve. Andrea served on the story team for this independent alternate reality game for the entirety of its two-year run. This project was the first stand-alone commercial ARG. It won the Origins Vanguard Innovation Award in 2005 and was shortlisted for a BAFTA in 2006. In 2007 an interstitial episode of Perplex City, Frozen Indigo Angel, was nominated for the Radio Academy Edge Innovation Award.
Andrea is a co-moderator for the first community of ARG players, the Cloudmakers. This 6,000-member group created many of the methods and social dynamics used by the ARG community to this day.
She is a founding member of the IGDA special interest group on alternate reality games, and has served on its leadership council since 2005. She also served as the group’s chairman from May 2009 to 2010. Andrea was a major contributor to the group’s 2006 White Paper on alternate reality games, writing the Methods and Mechanics section and co-authoring the Business Models section. She is also a founding member of the Transmedia Artists Guild.
Andrea writes about games, storytelling, digital culture, and gender issues on her blog, Deus Ex Machinatio.
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