WHAT do you get when you combine technology, advertising and unconventional storytelling? Scores of “Batman” fans roaming the streets of San Diego wearing Joker costumes and carrying smart-phones. One of hundreds of alternate-reality games (ARGs) orchestrated for marketing purposes, this elaborate quest, staged at a comic-book convention in 2007, began with $1 bills that led players to a Joker-themed website. The site, in turn, gave them a time and a set of satellite-positioning co-ordinates. At the time and place specified, players found a plane writing a phone number in the sky. Calling the number sent them on a scavenger hunt with online components.
From: "Monitor: Serious fun | The Economist."
Alternate reality gaming (ARGs) and ARG game design have the potential to accomplish something no other gaming-for-health movement has yet done...create a game both patients and providers (and family members, visitors, etc) can engage in together.
The location-oriented web+real world avatar+mobile integration possible with ARGs is exactly what's needed to build an alternate reality gaming microsystem within real world brick-and-mortar healthcare environs.
The environmental 'cues' mentioned in this Economist article *could* be translated to the hospital setting to engage spontaneous 'game mobs' - which sure as hell beats watching daytime TV post-op.
Thinking about this is projecting so far out into the potential future of healthcare gaming it makes even my brainpan hurt a bit, but Contagion is looking hard at where this kind of integration actually makes big-time sense.
Thanks to @mbhulo for working with Contagion here, continuously and patiently, and @chiah for the heads up on ARGs in general.