List of alternate reality games

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An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform, often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell a story that may be affected by participants' ideas or actions.

Name Year Developer Story summary Gameplay summary Scale
Ong's Hat 1999 Independent Legend Tripping, on-line experience. Puzzle solving by online communities. Very influential.[1]
The Beast 2001 Microsoft Murder mystery set in the future featuring human like robots. Puzzle solving by online communities. Rewards in the form of new websites and videos. Very influential.
I Love Bees 2004 42 Entertainment An AI from the Halo 2 universe is stranded in our world and needs help. Puzzle solving by online communities. Information released by phone calls to public telephones. Rewards in the form of new websites and videos. 600,000+ players.[2]
Last Call Poker 2005 42 Entertainment A cursed gun, passed down through generations, threatens the granddaughter of its last owner. Puzzle solving by online communities. Real world missions in cemeteries. Online poker with dead characters. Rewards in the form of new stories and videos. Over 500,000 active participants.
The Lost Ring 2008 AKQA 6 olympians from another world came to help us save this one. Puzzle solving by online communities. Real world missions. A new Olympic sport "The Lost Sport" was introduced. 3.000.000 players from over 150 countries.
Commander Video 2008 Puzzle solving, currently, done by online communities. Email correspondence, Twitter, and various Internet interactions are the areas of play. New; Ten recruits are the major players thus far.
Year Zero 2007 42 Entertainment Set in a dystopian future where the government surveys everyone. Players solve puzzles, listen to recordings, and watch movie clips, to gain more info and find sites.
Xi 2009 The world's first console and virtual world-based ARG created by nDreams. It was set in secret areas in the world of PlayStation Home where users helped to find Jess and the meaning of Xi. Users solved puzzles, watched video clips, and did objectives in and out of Home to gain more information to help find Jess and the meaning of Xi. Users searched in Home as well as in the real world depending on the puzzle or objective. Over 5 million visits
Gbanga Famiglia 2010 Explore real-world locations to take-over your city and become the Supreme Mafioso. Join or start your own Mafia Famiglia and take-over virtual establishments you discover whilst walking around the city. Establishments are linked to real-world establishments, so players must physically move between locations. A successful take-over depends on the Famiglia's power, determined by the number of Famiglia members and the cash total for special items collected. Worldwide
Lewis Hamilton: Secret Life 2010 Centered around Lewis Hamilton, a secret agent in the game, showcasing a new Reebok technology such as RunTone or ZigTech. Players worked together to solve puzzles and complete tests online, on mobiles and in the real world. 637,000 players from over 154 countries
Conspiracy For Good 2010 The Company P Tim Kring's narrative focused on charity and against the fictional corporation Blackwell Briggs exploiting Africa Players cooperated online, on mobiles and in the real world. Four big events took place in London during summer 2010. Gamers on Unfiction, on the game web and in the streets of London during the summer events
A Map of the Floating City 2011 Thomas Dolby Set in a dystopian dieselpunk past, a global cataclysm has left the world's inhabitants suffering from amnesia and struggling to move north to the "Floating City" to escape the rising temperatures. Players worked cooperatively and competitively as tribes to collect items, make inventions, solve a mystery, and move north. The game was unique in that the inventory was all based on lyrics from Dolby's back-catalog and (at the time) upcoming album of the same name. The winning coalition of tribes received a private concert as a prize. Worldwide
Potato Fool's Day 2011 Valve GLaDOS of Portal is attempting to reboot herself. By playing a selection of 13 independent games, you can assist her. Solving puzzles using clues found in aforementioned games Anyone who purchased the Potato Sack on Steam
Oxenfree 2016 Night School Studio Based on the game, the Oxenfree ARG delves into the true ending of the game and the secrets that the teenage characters face. The community of the game work together to translate Morse Code, keep up with Twitter feeds, travel to locations, and call phone numbers to solve the mystery. ~900 members of the subreddit though no community headcount has been taken.
Frog Fractions 2[3] 2014 Twinbeard A sequel to the Flash game Frog Fractions was successfully funded through Kickstarter, but the catch was: it would not be named Frog Fractions 2 or likely resemble Frog Fractions, it will not be credited to Twinbeard Studios as the creators and its release date would not be revealed. The launch of the ARG began with clues within the pitch video itself, as it was quickly interrupted by a message from the year 2023 that warned the viewer "It's too late for our timeline, but it may not be for yours." Since then, there have been clues everywhere from podcasts by the developers, to an Obama Shaving Simulator, to real life events such as Indiecade and ARG-specific events around Berkley and LA.[4] Puzzle solving by online communities. Small portion of the gaming community
The Black Watchmen 2015 Alice & Smith In the first ever Permanent Alternate Reality Game, you join the ranks of The Black Watchmen, a paramilitary group dedicated to protecting the public from dangerous phenomena beyond human understanding: ritualistic murder, occult secret societies, and the paranormal, to name but a few. Puzzle solving mainly by individuals, but acts in a similar fashion to community puzzle solving ARGs. Small portion of the gaming community
Afterbirth[3] 2015 Edmund McMillen An ARG that began with the release of the Afterbirth DLC for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. Upon conclusion, a new playable character called "The Keeper" was implemented.[5] Puzzle solving by online communities. Small portion of the gaming community
Sombra[3] 2016 Blizzard The Sombra ARG is an ARG involving Overwatch, a game made by Blizzard. Sombra is the name of a then-unreleased Overwatch hero that was hinted at by Blizzard as being an upcoming playable character. Clues and ciphers referencing Sombra were found in various developer updates and short animations released by Blizzard, and this ARG consists of those clues.[6] Puzzle solving by online communities. Large portion of the gaming community
LEVELS 2016 Unknown LEVELS was discovered as a mysterious site inviting people to figure out how to register for it and thereby being placed into a level from 1 to 7. The site had been down for a period of time, but it opened again, this time the site creators provided players with official forums and a discussion Hangout. The project has continued with a dedicated fanbase who work hard to upgrade their level by solving challenges, helping others, and setting their own puzzles. Players are also uncovering a creepier side to the ARG, wondering just who is running the site and why. Puzzle solving, puzzle creation, education and general entertainment. Small portion of the gaming community
Hello Neighbor 2017 TinyBuild, DynamicPixels Hello Neighbor is a Stealth Horror Game about sneaking into your neighbor's house. It might seem like a normal game, but the creators said on their Twitter that the game is really a ARG and released some suspicious dog tags. Every comes with a code. Not much is known yet, as the game is still in alpha. Puzzle solving, horror, adventure and general entertaiment. Medium portion of the gaming community

Media with ARG themes[edit]





  1. ^ McMahon, Chris (May 2013) "The Rise Of The ARG: games™ investigates alternate reality games and what the future has in store for the curious experiment."
  2. ^ McGonigal, J. (2008) "Why I Love Bees: A Case Study in Collective Intelligence Gaming."
  3. ^ a b c "List of Investigations - Game Detectives Wiki". Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  4. ^ "Frog Fractions 2 - Game Detectives Wiki". Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  5. ^ "Afterbirth ARG - Game Detectives Wiki". Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  6. ^ "Sombra ARG - Game Detectives Wiki". Retrieved 2016-10-25.