Usc 04 10_13 copy


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  • Six years ago the games I designed were called ARGs, then the name morphed to transmedia, which seemed more palatable than the esoteric-sounding Alternate Reality Games. But now what I design exists somewhere in and among ARGs, transmedia and mission-based games. These are game narratives with beginnings, middles and ends, and live components, which make the games inherently theatrical. The mix of real time and virtual changes storytelling and stories can exist anywhere, at any time. This talk right here right now can have a clue embedded in it that drives a larger game. Does it? Or is my talk just a talk? That line between what is real and what is imagined is what draws people into the story. Okay, let’s look at story telling and character development.
  • In gamespeak, this is called a rabbit hole, one of several ways into the narrative. Players surged forward, snapping pictures, a Flickr stream appeared and a blog, and these images lead to …
  • Called a Lover’s Eye. Players surged forward, snapping pictures, a Flickr stream appeared, and these images lead to …
  • An iconic image from the Smithsonian’s collection. It took players several hours to arrive at this page.And this particular rabbit hole leads you directly to the crux of the plot. The Smithsonian has become haunted. In the haunting, the ghosts have Inverted the text, and clicking on it leads you to the first game site.
  • And our first request for players to actually make something for the game – our players leave an incantation [we capture their cell numbers], and they post their own lovers’ eyes [we capture their email addresses]. At this point the audience can’t really be called the audience. They have become participants.
  • Hundreds of them, and eventually thousands. They work for the game. And that is what propels the narrative forward, and every time the players make something for the game, more of the ghosts’ stories is revealed. The object of the game is to reveal these stories, to honor them in some way, and to free them from having to haunt, and to free the museum from being haunted. We designers can have a dialogue with them. In-game characters can call specific players and one of the rules of the game is that whatever interaction a player has with the game has to be shared with other players.
  • Remember our bodybuilder? He is the recent incarnation of one of our in-game characters, a terrible ham of an actor from 1855. He calls select players. One of the rules of the game is that whatever interaction you have with the game must be posted for everyone to see. Some of our in-game characters have facebook pages, they record ghost sightings.
  • So, what we have designed is a story that blends media, and in that way it is like a Google search, the player stitches the game and the narrative together.
  • And the basic building blocksof these games are missions. Missions that take you into the real world. Missions that must be completed by having you upload evidence of your completion into the game.
  • This game lasted six weeks. We used lots of mediums – Flickr, snail mail, blogs, cell phones, live events.
  • This game was designed to play for one and a half hours. Mixing generations – families and friends.
  • Pheon is a game built around a graphic novel that depicts a war raging in a mythical world that exists at the heart of our world. It has missions and submission. Pheon is also a proof of concept. Like the early days of TV, most games are single-sponsored. Pheon broke that mold. We have at least five sponsors. But instead of the story being sponsored, mission-based games suggest that the missions themselves, what participants actually do for the game, is sponsorable. By sponsoring missions, a brand tells its own story while providing the point of engagement for the player.
  • Interestingly enough, with all this new media landscape, the business model is as old as radio and TV. Sponsorship. Sample mission: Get yourself invited to someone’s house for dinner, then sing for your supper, having your host videotape your performance as proof of completion. Who are likely sponsors? How about something you would bring your hosts to thank them? A bottle of wine? A six-pack of beer? A box of candy?
  • Missions tie the brand message with an action. Narrate your way to work as if you are a sportscaster. Advance in the game if you use any sports for Dummies product, and the game itself offers a point of sale.
  • Test products, test markets, test stories.
  • Training games.
  • .
  • Usc 04 10_13 copy

    1. 1. © 2013 CityMysteryUSCAnnenberg Innovation LabApril 10, 2013MISSION-BASED GAMES
    3. 3. OVER HIS HEART IS A TATOO© 2013 CityMystery
    4. 4. © 2012
    5. 5. © 2013 CityMystery
    6. 6. © 2013 CityMystery
    7. 7. © 2012
    8. 8. OUR GAMES BLENDAN ARRAY OF MEDIATHAT PERMEATESPLAYERS’ LIVES IN APrintYouTubeFaceBookLiveEventsWebChatVoice-mailBlogsWebSitesPuzzlesPhotosMobileWebCastsYouCanWhat-everThinkup© 2013 CityMystery
    10. 10. HOW MISSIONS WORKIt’s all about engagement, sharing what you do and keeping the gamemoving forward.ExampleTo progress in this game you must digitally insert yourself into this artwork.© 2013 CityMystery
    11. 11. THE SMITHSONIAN EXAMPLEGhosts of a Chance combined live and virtual events for families and groups of friends[ages 12 – 55]. Players completed missions that moved the game along.A near naked man attends aconvention with a tattoo on hischest and is posted to FlickrSnail maildated 1855 issent toparticipants toengage andmove alongthe storyOne playermade TheFortuneCookie asPredictor ofImminentDoom .Playersworkedalone usingmobile appsand onlinein teamsPlayers attended CSI-likeevent, a post mortem of theremains of an in-game character© 2013 CityMystery
    12. 12. COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG EXAMPLEA game strategy that engages 8-12 year olds(digital natives) and their parents (digital immigrants).*Players invited tosave the cause ofAmerican Liberty byprotecting a crucialpatriot on the eve ofthe Battle ofYorktown.Players collectsecretclues, deciphercodes, and learn thetricks of the spytrade.Players textanswers toclues andstay intouch toreceiveupdates.Live eventswith historicalcharactersdoubling asin-gamecharacters.* Spring break, 2012 [4 days]: 6,000 Players generated 50,000 texts.© 2013 CityMysteryCLICK IMAGETO PLAY VIDEO
    13. 13. MULTI-BRAND EXAMPLEBlend brands and institutions in a single gamePheon used missions designed to showcase brand messages – allwrapped in a story about two warring tribes battling for control of amythical universe.Game launched with a liveevent at the Smithsonian.Players take quiz onFacebook Page todetermine which teamthey belong to.New story elementslaunch over time.Playersprogress inthe game asthey solvemissions.Performancedepends onhow otherplayers ratetheirsubmissions.© 2013 CityMystery
    14. 14. SPONSORED MISSIONSThe Proposition:Get yourself invited tosomeone’s house fordinner. Sing for yoursupper. Have your hosttape your performance.This mission is worth250 points.Score an additional 500points if you bring a bottleof Moet……and an additional 1000 points if you buy itfrom© 2013 CityMystery
    15. 15. MORE SPONSORED MISSIONS…companies, institutions, brands sponsormissions that reflect their core valuesThe Proposition:Narrate your route towork as if you are aprofessional sportscastercalling football plays andearn 2500 pointsScore an additional 500points if you use any“Football for Dummies”Book. More points forbuying it on this page.© 2013 CityMystery
    16. 16. webex invites you to form a network of players inLos Angeles, Minneapolis and Baltimore to bake acake from scratch.© 2013 CityMystery
    17. 17. © 2013 CityMysteryAPPENDIXEdu and training games
    18. 18. A STRATEGY FOR EDU-GAMES© 2013 CityMystery“The Disco Ceiling” is a game strategy to teach 11th graders aboutthe physics of sound and light waves while offering themopportunities to hone music and performance skills.11th graders arebroken into teamsand told they aregoing to competeat an InternationalMusic Festival.Then told thatbusestransportingsound and lightequipment hasoverturned.Everythingdestroyed!Teamsassemble tobuild ampsystems andlight show.Teams perform their ownmusic live to an audience, andissue challenges to otherschools to do the same.Each medium contributessomething to the experience.
    20. 20. HERE ARE TEN OF THEM1. Missions ask students to interact in the realworld as well as the virtual.2. Combines education & self-directed learning.3. Blends education with new media.4. Creates fresh context for learning.5. It’s completely interactive.6. It speaks to kids in their vernacular.7. Offers them the ability to share what theycreate with others online [i.e. minecraft].8. Makes a lasting impact through fun.9. Generates excitement around learning.10. Flexible enough for many learning situations.© 2013 CityMystery
    23. 23. © 2013 CityMysteryHOW IT WORKS: COMPANIES LICENSEPACKETS OF MISSIONSLeadershipSalesCommunicationOnboardingLicense them inpackets of 3, 5 and 8missions designedaround specific skillsets.We have customizablemission templates thatincorporate your bestpractices.They are distributed to yourparticipants and facilitators viasmartphones, laptops &tablets.Think of missions as workbooks or textbooks.
    24. 24. Let’s playClick here to begin© 2013 CityMystery
    25. 25. WHO IS CITYMYSTERY?• Founder John Maccabee has designedgames for the Smithsonian, ColonialWilliamsburg, and George WashingtonUniversity, and has written and/orproduced for Sony, Warner Bros, NBC &CBS.• Our teams include Sean Mahan, Ian Kizu-Blair, and Sam Lavigne, founders of thelongest-running mission-based game inhistory, and Design Director Josh Levy.© 2013 CityMystery• Dr. AnitaMcGahan, Economist, University of Toronto• Michael Edson, Dir. Of NewMedia Strategy, SmithsonianInstitution• Kirk Read, Chairman ofHumanities, Bates College• Robert Lenz, Co-Founder, CEOEnvision Charter Schools• Jeneatte Boudreau, Esq.• Owens, Wickersham andErikson, P.C.A webby-lauded San Francisco mission-based game companyoffering strategy, development and implementation.AdvisorsThe Team
    26. 26. © 2013 CityMysteryJohn Maccabee415-377-6839, YOU
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