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.