Interested in investigations, intrigue, and real life experiences?
The Black Watchmen is an up and coming ARG which has been in development for quite some time now. TBW was originally developed for the online MMO game, The Secret World, but has since branched out— it does involve the same level of immersive communication, research, and more! They have a Kickstarter here, if you’re interested!
Straight from their site:
Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) are a type of entertainment in which a virtual storyline blends into the real world. In a cross-media environment, players have to interact online to find clues, solve real-world puzzles, and fulfill different types of missions.
The game blurs the fine line between the digital world and reality. You’ll receive text messages from fictitious characters, investigate real buildings to find hidden clues to an online puzzle, or, get kidnapped in a black SUV (ok, this happens less often)… The goal? Maximize your entertainment by creating an engaging multi-sensory experience!
If you enjoy LARP-ing, this is definitely the sort of thing for you! If not, there are less involved levels of gameplay (restricted to SMS and emails) where you can get into the community and the puzzle solving without having to leave your room or worry about your privacy or personal space being invaded.
- That sounds way too intense/not intense enough!
As mentioned, there are different tiers of involvement. From their Kickstarter page:
RED is the lowest level of immersion and will be limited to e-mail or sms.
ORANGE is a little more intense, with voice mail, real life local reference in your mission (nearby restaurant, church or park), live stream from your home-town and right through to live communication via the phone booth down your street.
YELLOW is the highest level available. It involves “any time of the day” call-generation with real actors, suspect package sent by mail and other ways to immerse you fully in the game.
You can also apply for LEVEL GREEN involvement. This requires a full medical exam and a signed waiver on your life should any harm come to you during the course of your mission. Yes, we are serious. If you are selected for Green Level, be warned: this is not for the faint hearted! But you better believe it - this is an experience you will remember for the rest of your life.
Because you are playing as yourself, the skills you have as an individual are the skills you have in the game. Also, the skills (research, puzzle solving, hacking, communications, and other experiences) that you obtain in ‘the game’ are skills you will gain for real life as well. There are also four classes in the game, for different player’s specialties.
You can read about the classes at the bottom of this page.
- The Reward Tiers and Add-Ons are confusing!
If you’re confused about reward tiers versus add-ons, Tiers serve as pre-packaged combinations of add-ons. If there are any specific add-ons you want without purchasing a required tier, simply add the necessary cost of the add-on and the shipping cost ($5 shipping as well, no matter how many you add) to your final pledge without changing your pledge tier— a survey will be sent out later asking how you want to split up your extra money!
- Where can I find more Information?
They have a website here, and a forum here, where you can ask around and even now start getting involved in the community! They also have a twitter @division66, where you can follow for updates and also mention at them for questions! They’re extremely responsive.
Hey, guys, check this out. If you follow me and love the kind of stuff I do, this is definitely your kind of project to back - bringing together the virtual and the real for an immersive experience.
So give it a look! It needs $25k CAD (EDIT: FIXED WHOOPS) as of this post, and it can absolutely get there.