Lessons Learned

I stand here on the cusp of finishing the first half of my Sophomore year in college and I am both terrified and excited. My love of technology and media helped my decision to not only take this course, but to also minor in media studies and my blog shows this love. This essay stands as a testament to what I learned, along with what I experienced while working on my project The Ultimate ARG. While yes I had some issues getting started on WordPress and staying motivated throughout the semester was difficult, but I got through it. The final thing I want to say before I begin is that I thoroughly enjoyed this class, even with my early on-set procrastination.

I will discuss my project in three parts: its planning/the research, the implementing, and what I learned from the project. With the project you could choose between doing a research project, a digital game, a multi-media, or create an ARG. I chose to do the latter and created an ARG, The Ultimate ARG, a cross continental/ cross-country game of technology and communication. A summary of my project is a multi-level ARG with elements of various authors and technologies to show how communication evolved along technology and that communication itself is a technological revolution.

Here is a link to my project: Ultimate ARG


Planning: When I began to think up ideas for my project I decided to pick a topic/subject that would be manageable for a single person. I thought that researching/creating an ARG would be easy, so I chose that option. I was sorely wrong, but more on that later.  The cross country/cross continental aspect came from my love of the reality show The Amazing Race and similar shows. I decided on my subject after looking at the points chart, with each level being based on a different piece of technology and used that as the themes for each level. After that I looked back towards the beginning of the semester at the articles by James Carey and Kevin Kelly and their works about evolving media and used them as the major spine of the ARG. Their works also gave me the idea for one of the only rules of the game, The barrier rule. The rule works as for most of the challenges players are on their own and cannot work with one another, nor use their personal devices. This was to create the feeling of separation between players and as the technology evolved players could interact with one another more. I chose to center at least part of my game on Plato and Aristotle’s argument on written verses spoken learning and the opposite’s flaws. Looking back, I could have also implemented Danah Boyd’s piece, “I blame the media. Reality check time.” into the final stages of the game. I would have implemented Boyd’ as part of the final level that takes place inside the internet. After rereading the articles, I had a deeper understanding of media as a whole along with what we discussed throughout the course. As part of my research I studied well known ARGs, how they were implemented and what they did for their players. Looking back, as a media studies student I believe my project closely depicts how media and communication have evolved. For a new student of Media Studies my project could be enlightening and confusing. My project would show them how communication and media are interwoven, but without implementation of my ARG it would not be as clear why certain obstacles are where they are and what they mean in the overall game.

Here are the texts I used, along with the text I could have used:






 Implementation: The first thing I would like to say about creating an ARG is this, it is very difficult, not only in design, but also in its planning. There is a reason why most professional ARGs are done mostly online and have little to no physical games/challenges. One of the many things I changed throughout the entirety of the project was the number of challenges. In the beginning I had planned to have thirteen puzzles, but when I tried to integrate various media it fell apart. While there are several pieces of media I could have used by adding more challenges it would have muddled the ARGs overall message more than it already was. While working on this project I watched a mockumentary about ARGs and studied various ARGs, some of which were used to advertise/ promote various movies, games, and TV shows. I also studied exactly what an ARG was to ensure my project would be as close to a real ARG, just without the implementation. These sources helped guide me along the path to the completed product and understand better understand how integral media is. One of the other challenges of my project was because I did not have to (couldn’t) let people try out my game, I was unable to receive feedback on their experiences or what their opinions of the project was. This caused me to panic towards the end, since I felt like my final project was too similar to my design document. Looking back, I believe that my project could have been more successful if I had in some fashion had people try out some of the challenges on a smaller scale.


Final Thoughts: Overall I believe that my project was a success, even with all the bumps and bruises. I designed the project to be over the top, in both the scale and the challenges, but for a reason. I designed my ARG to teach people about media’s evolution and its ties with communication and that shows. While I was not able to implement my ARG nor test it on various subjects I am happy with how it turned out. While working with evolving media I thought about the future of media. I believe that media in the future, as shown with the media of the past break barriers between humans. Allowing society to grow, becoming more thoughtful of ideals and passion of the world. However, with the advent of any new communication and media there are those who would abuse the system for themselves, or to hurt others. Some people would use the lack of barriers to attack those who are not the same as them. So as media evolves we as a culture need to evolve with it, or be plagued by those who would abuse the new media.

Updated Student Pings

Jacob Dowell numerical 09/27/16 (counted)

Zach project 10/23/16

Zach Game Economies 11/29/16

Darby Sims 11/29/16

Jordan Games and Movies 11/29/16

Josh Cyberdrama 11/29/16

Would you say the same is true with games that are more movie than game? Where do you draw the line in how much a game should be story and how much an actual game?

Bryce Sins 11/29/16

The idea of the seven deadly sins being displayed by various people online and on social media has been a hallmark of discussion among media scholars. Do you think previous booms in social media (print, radio, phone, etc.) caused similar depravities or do you think it’s due to the internet’s use of anonymity?

Sam Fandom 11/29/16

Forrest Internet 12/4/16


Final Project: The Ultimate ARG

The Ultimate ARG!!!


Total Budget needed 2.8 Million Dollars

The central idea of my ARG is how Media has evolved alongside humans and how Media in all of its forms are forms of communication.The ARG will highlight every major milestone of Media as a means of communication since the dawn of civilization and its impact on not only technology but how it impacted on how humans communicate.

This ARG will function as a linear game, with an emphasis on solo work later evolving into cooperation between players deeper into the game. This game was designed to be similar to the popular CBS reality show The Amazing Race and similar cross-continental games. Each puzzle’s location is in some way related to the puzzle whether by the medium or by inventor of the medium. While each puzzle is open to whomever wants to play, those who finish previous puzzles will have the knowledge of when/where the puzzle will be.

The ARG will begin as advertisements for a brand new, fake museum in Dallas called the White Rabbit Museum of History with both flyers and commercials. These ads will be distributed all over the world, with emphasis to visit the website, then will flash a code.


This is an example what the site will look like:



Once on the site people will find several photos and an announcement for the opening which will focus on the history of media as a form of communication. Deeper inside the website possible players will find an area of the website that is password protected. By placing one of the passcodes found in the advertisements the website will unlock, revealing a picture of three cavemen with GPS coordinates and a date. With that information anyone who is interested will travel to Tanzania wildlife reserve and begin the game. The ARG will function as a linear game, with an emphasis on solo work later evolving into cooperation between players deeper into the game.


Puzzle 1

Translate the Cavemen

The challenge is located in the Tanzania wildlife reserve to both simulate the more primitive days of humanity and due to the theory that all humans migrated from Africa. The first challenge imitates the first use of communication between humans, our hands, used along with various tools and sounds as the earliest form of communication between two people. For this challenge players will try to communicate with the cavemen, bringing/doing what each one wants. The players will be restricted from communicating with other players or their phones/technology. This will simulate how it was for early humans who couldn’t communicate with one another. The reward will be a piece of animal hide with sign language written on it, revealing the next puzzle in Greece.

Puzzle 2

Aristotle vs. Plato

The second challenge will be an experiment based on the argument between Aristotle and Plato on speech verses writing. The puzzle will take place inside the Parthenon, a structure famous for the great minds who once taught there. All contestants that arrive will be given either a red or blue card which will dictate which puzzle they go to. Those with a red card will see a performance Gorgias, while those with a blue card will read the script. After the players are ready they will have to perform the Gorgias, trying to stay the closest to the original. After the actors are pleased with a players’ performance they will hand the player a Bible with a lock on it. 24 hours after the puzzle players will receive a key to unlock the bible revealing the location of the next puzzle.

Puzzle 3

Printing Press Stress

The third challenge revolves around the Gutenberg printing press, an invention used to quickly spread the bible to the people of Europe. Mainz, Germany is the home of the Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the famous printing press. In this puzzle players will need to find missing pages of the Gutenberg Bible spread around Mainz and repair them. This will be the first puzzle where players are allowed to work together, however they will still not be allowed to use their own personal technology. After finding the enough pieces, players will need to repair the books, and once the curators are pleased they will give the next clue.

Puzzle 4

Telegraph the News

The fourth challenge takes place in Nome, Alaska and is based on the story of Balto, the sled dog that helped bring medicine to Nome during an outbreak. This puzzle revolves around the telegraph and Morse-code, the medium used to deliver news across the frozen land during the time. Players will need to decode and respond to messages received from Anchorage, Alaska via telegraph. After the puzzle concludes players will receive a phone call revealing the location of a phone in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Puzzle 5

Telephone Tag

The fifth challenge will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia in reference to Alexander Graham Bell, who lived in Canada during the years of working on the telephone. This puzzle revolves around players answering various phones throughout the capital within a time limit. This puzzle is also in reference to I like Bees, a successful ARG used to promote Halo 2 which used a similar puzzle. This puzzle is built to have all players working together in order to answer all the phones. Once all the phones have been answered all players will receive an email form the Pentagon, requesting the players’ assistance.

Puzzle 6

Sputnik Sweetheart

The semifinal challenge takes place at the Pentagon, in Washington DC because of its use of satellites for militaristic purposes. The challenge involves the US government finding a mistake was made in a broadcast to a foreign country and now the country is threating war. However, there was a power surge causing the Pentagon’s satellites to become disconnected from their network. The players are tasked with launching a new satellite into space and positioning it to broadcast the apology to the foreign nation. Immediately after the foreign nation accepts the apology the ARG will begin the end game.

Puzzle 7

End Game

After Sputnik Sweetheart concludes the NSA will discover that a virus has infiltrated their data system and threatens to destroy the internet. It is up to the players and the internet to stop the virus by trapping the virus into the site that began the ARG, White Rabbit Museum of History. This will cause the site to delete itself, sending a letter of congratulation for winning to all participants. The sites destruction will also cause the “villain” of the game, the prime minister of Canada to proclaim “I lost the Game”, thus ending the ARG.


Week XIII Text Response: Did Social Media ruin the 2016 Presidential Election


This week we discussed “Changing Practices in Democracy and the Public Sphere” a topic that is very fresh due to the election. This topic brought up a very important question in light of the election and what led up to it. Did Social Media ruin the 2016 Presidential Election? With the Presidential election almost two weeks old at this point many people online are still questioning the results online with hashtags like, #NotMyPresident, #GetOverIt, and my favorite #BoycottHamilton, (because boycotting a very popular musical will help). These links will take you to Twitter and you can see how different each hashtag is from one another. But what role did social media, like Facebook and Twitter, play in shaping this year’s election? Sam Sanders wrote on this point the morning of the election and brought up several good points, including on how people used social media to attack(unfriend) one another and spread false information. This essay will try to be unbiased, looking at the whole picture without putting blame or focus on any particular Candidate’s actions.

The first thing to discuss would what happens during an election on social media. During the election many feeds are bombarded with friends reposting images and posts either to boost their own opinions or defame/belittle other’s opinions. Sanders writes, “They write something like “If you can’t support candidate X/Y, we don’t need to be friends anymore.” Or “Congrats, if you’re reading this, you survived my friend purge!” Etc. You know how it goes. This public declaration, if not celebration, of the end of friendships because of politics” (Sanders). Sanders brings up the point of how people will block or unfriend each other over political opinions, like it is a game (friend purge). This problem is rampant especially on Facebook and seemed even more severe this year verses past elections. I would know since I had to block a few people because their posts either made me uncomfortable or their posts annoyed me. The other issue that came up during the election was the spread of information, both factual and false. Sanders describes that sites let you anonymously post various articles, claiming them as truth, saying, “Twitter around politics isn’t a conversation at all; it’s a loud mess” (Sanders). This rampant spread of information helped spread false information across the web, confusing undecided voters, and angering those who had place the boots on the ground for their candidate. Many experts blame this contagion of false information for the low voter turnout and ignorant voters.

Over the past year and even more so during the fleeting days prior to the election people used social media to fullest extent for their beliefs to either sway other’s to vote for their party or to attack others for their beliefs. Either way the election finally came to a close, with people now arguing who truly won. It is my opinion that social media did not ruin the 2016 presidential election. It did not help, but if we keep smearing each other on social media over opinions instead of thoughtful, researched discussions in the future I can see how social media could affect future elections.

Design Document


The central idea of my ARG is how Media has evolved alongside humans and how Media in all of its forms are forms of communication.

The AGR will serve as a visual of how Humans have changed alongside media and how dependent we are on it.

The ARG will highlight every major milestone of Media as a means of communication since the dawn of civilization and its impact on not only technology but how it impacted on how humans communicate.

The ARG will begin as fake promos for a brand new museum, called The White Rabbit Hole of History, sent to various people in various towns and cities across several countries.

In the commercials and on newsletters will be various images of historic events, the museum’s website, and a six-digit code

Example: 4?39A$

By exploring the website, the players will find an area where if the code is typed in the website will decode itself revealing the ARG.

From there players will begin with the puzzles, which will take place in several historical places and museums. The puzzles will be open to the world, but those who participated in earlier puzzles will have clues with the times and locations of future challenges.

The puzzles will be linear, requiring participants to finish one challenge before they can start another, as the reward for each challenge will contain clues pertaining to the next challenge. The only rule of the ARG will be that certain challenges will forbid certain types of technology until later on in the narrative. This will show one of the aspects, about how dependent humans have become to technology and how simple tasks become arduous without it.

There will be seven challenges/puzzles to solve, each one pertaining to a different milestone in the evolution of communication. With each subsequent puzzle becoming increasingly difficult, this will compel players to communicate with each other to finish later puzzles. This will show how vital communication is in the modern world.

Check the second page for a list describing the different puzzles.

I will be using the concepts of mostly Carey & Kelly for most of the ARG by using the concepts of evolving Media as a communication.

I will also be using pieces by Aristotle, and Plato for one of the puzzles on their point of speech vs. writing.







  1. Puzzle title: Translate the Cavemen

Location: Tanzania wildlife reserve

Task: Listen to the grunts of several cavemen/Neanderthals and bring to them what they are asking for

Reward: A picture of hands doing sign language telling players the location of the next puzzle.


  1. Puzzle title: Aristotle vs. Plato

Location: Parthenon, Athens Greece

Task: Players that arrive will be split into two groups, the monologue group and the text group. Each group will go through the Gorgias, with one group hearing it performed, while the other reads it. Than both groups will perform it to the actors, until they have it correct.

Note: This puzzle will follow the debate between Aristotle and Plato on written vs spoken in relation to learning

Reward: 24 hours after players have finished the puzzle they will each receive a bible with a message telling them of the next location.


  1. Puzzle Title: Printing Press Stress

Location: Mainz, Germany

Task: Throughout the town will be pages of the Gutenberg Bible, players will need to find all of the pages and repair one of several Bibles in the Gutenberg Museum, note this is the first puzzle where players may work together.

Reward: A sheet of paper with location of the next puzzle written in Morse-code


  1. Puzzle title: Telegraph the News

Location: Nome, Alaska

Task: Receive a series of messages from Anchorage, Alaska and respond accordingly

Reward: Players will receive a phone call of the next location


  1. Puzzle title: Telephone fishing

Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Task: There will be a chain of phones ringing each one revealing the location of another phone by longitude and latitude and it’s the players job to find each phone within the given time slot

Reward: An email from the Pentagon requesting players to assist.


  1. Puzzle Title: Sputnik Sweetheart

Location: Pentagon, Washington DC

Task: The US government found that a mistake was made in a broadcast to a foreign country and now the country is threating war. The players are tasked with launching a new satellite into space and positioning it to broadcast the apology.

  1. Puzzle Title: End Game

Task: After the last puzzle the US government finds out that a virus has infected the grid and threatens to destroy the internet. It is the mission to all players to work together and stop the virus and find out who released the virus.


The ending of the ARG will commence with the Prime Minister of Canada declaring to the world, “I lost the game!”.

Week IX Text Response


This week in class, we discussed media in relation to narrative and simulation. We used Gonzalo Frasca’s chapter entitled “Narration vs Simulation: Introduction to Ludology”, in which he discussed the difference between narration and simulation and why he considers games to be a form of simulation.


In this essay, Frasca mentions the concepts of goal rules, and manipulation rules and how they work during a game. He explains that goal rules as the rules in which are in place to win a game, like taking the King in chess. Frasca then goes on to explain that manipulation rules are “rules that do not imply a winning scenario” giving an example from soccer “you cannot touch the ball with your hands, unless you are the goalkeeper” (Frasca 231). Goal rules and manipulation rules are inverses of each other, with one is necessary to win, while the other is not.  The idea of goal rules, and manipulation rules reminds me of a game I played last year called Depression Quest.


Depression Quest is a digital game that tells a story of a character dealing with depression and how that affects their life. How the game works is that it gives a story scenario, then poses a problem in that scene, and then provides 4 to 6 choices for the character to pick from. The choices range from wildly optimistic, to despairingly pessimistic. However, the game has a system in place to prevent you from automatically picking the most optimistic choices. To fit in with the idea of being depressed, the game provides you with choices that you CANNOT pick. These choices are usually the most optimistic or happiest choices and making them inaccessible represents the choices that someone in a depressed state either doesn’t think of or can’t bring themselves to say or do.  This makes you, the player, feel more anxious and helpless as you see the choices that you want to make are blocked. So the game as a whole works as you are trying to get to the end of the game as this character while coping with their depression, with this being the goal rules of the game. While, on the other hand that is not the only way to play. With manipulation rules you could (but I certainly would not) play the game with the goal of trying to make the character more depressed, (or worse). Although the creator/s of the game probably did not think ahead to guess that someone would try that path they wrote the game with the CHOICE to play that way.

Here are some screen shots from Depression quest

download-1 2

In the end goal rules, and manipulation rules work off of each other, allowing players to play a game the way they want. With Depression Quest the game is set up to where players could help their avatar with its depression or, make it worse. So in a way Depression Quest is an almost perfect representation of how players could use goal or, manipulation rules to play the game.

Project proposals

Project proposal 1
Digital game/ similar to depression quest
Using Boyd anonymity (Guardian Sins
I would design a game that tells the story of either a cyberbully or their victim and their interactions with one another. You would pick the story you played through based on whether you played anonymously or not.
It would benefiting to the community by showing how what you do online may be hurtful to someone else, even if you’re not doing it purposely.
A twine games account?

Proposal 2
Kelly/Carey, Plato/Aristotle
Design an arg using the concept of evolving technology to show how dependent we are as a society on modern technology/ how all technology is an evolution of some form of communication.
Show how technology is an evolution of communication and/ or our dependency on it

PoNM: Numerical Representation and Modularity

Numerical Representation: 

  1. Receiving a grade in a class on a scale between 0-100 and knowing how well you did. Grades
  2. The value of notes on a scale and how long each note should be held/sung. Notes


  1. A pocket knife as multiple parts need for it to function. You need the handle, the blade, screws, and springs. Knife
  2. A book is a group of pages with writing on it bound together between to ends. Separate the book and it’s just a pile of numbered pages. Books