Alternate Reality Gaming: Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You?

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.

Posted via web from Jen's Posterous

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