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ARGh

All the technology websites are flooded with news from South By SouthWest Interactive (SXSWi), all of which seems surprisingly remote from the technology that people actually use and the stuff I report on. This post caught my eye, though:

She [Jane McGonigal] thinks reality is broken, and that games can fix that. Games are not part of another world, but an alternative way of experiencing this one.

Which makes me think, in order: “depends on how you define it in the first place”, how, and, er, yes. Anyhow, there’s more:

McGonigal wants games everywhere; on a plane, passengers could all work together on a mission that lasted the length of the journey, and walking the dog in the park could be turned into a game of tag using GPS. She talked about Trackstick, a small GPS device that plots your location every five seconds, and showed how that could be used for quest-based games as well as for geocaching.

The thing is: I like games. I like technology. Come to think of it, I generally like the combination of the two – but every time I hear about this kind of “alternate reality game” (or ARG, which sounds a bit like the noise I’d make if asked to play one) concept I cringe. I just wonder what your average (yes, yes) person in the street would make of one. Either I’m a horrible technology snob, or I’m stuck in the past, or the whole thing is a big, fat bubble of hype. Or, I suppose, all three could be true.

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