Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A little disappointed but ready for the next one…

I’m not sure what I expected when I approached Intellagirl with the idea of running an ARG and trying to recruit faculty to play it. In my wildest dreams I imagined hordes of faculty members running around campus, furiously tweeting, collaborating, and one-upping each other, but those were pretty wild dreams. I hoped for a few faculty members playing and lots of them lurking and following the action to see what this thing was like. A few people promised me they would lurk, and of course I don’t know for sure if they did. It’s a pretty unfamiliar genre for this particular demographic.

This all started when I realized that, with James Gee’s visit on March 23rd, we had a great opportunity to give this kind of learning experience some exposure. Like a good hostess, I’m reading the 2nd edition of his book What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy (because I get to drive him to the airport). One of the things that has struck me from his narrative about his experiences playing games has been his claim that baby-boomers (and I’m one of ‘em) are often impatient about the non-linearity of games. We want to figure out the quickest way to get to our goal; we don’t want to wander around wondering what items we should be picking up. Maybe we are the epitome of wanting to know what’s going to be on the test and studying that. And we’re likely to at least start playing a game by ourselves instead of in a community. None of that thinking is really very useful in an ARG. When you start, you rarely know exactly what you are after or how you are going to get it, so why even get embroiled in the whole thing (to say nothing of the fact that you might “fail”)? Then you have to follow several threads – blogs, twitter accounts – and that’s just kind of annoying. I will have to admit that if I wasn’t involved, I might have decided I was just too busy to mess with the whole thing.

In retrospect we might have gotten off to a faster start if we had called it something besides an Alternate Reality Game, a title that gets a lot of blank stares. Intellagirl thought we might have gotten more traction if we called it a game that is played via social media or something. Maybe. I just think everyone needs more exposure; they need to get used to the idea. Maybe we’ll call it something else next time, but there will be a next time…

No comments:

Post a Comment