ARG stands for “alternate reality game.”¬† The basis behind this is to break through the “fourth wall” of a game’s own self-contained universe into the real world.¬† You may have heard of¬†ARGs with the Halo 2 “I Love Bees”promotion or EA’s short-lived life-invading Majestic.¬† ARGs usually take the form of a scavenger hunt where you need to scour the internet for coded information or “hack” through websites designed specifically for the game.¬† Sometimes you’d be directed to¬†be at a specific payphone at a certain time to receive some information.¬† Majestic was known for harassing you through email, phone, fax, and IM, and would often scare those unfortunate to inadvertently receive the messages but not be in on the game. (Speaking of which, check out the Michael Douglas movie The Game.)
As you may see, the experience can be invasive, whether into someone’s personal life or some public space.¬† Half the fun could be the aspect of playing the role of a covert agent, and acting suspiciously in public aids in that.
But what if everyone’s in on the act?¬† What if the “puppetmaster” doesn’t have to worry about planting hints and clues without setting off some federal watchdog alarm? Remember what happened with Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Boston.
It looks like Disney is doing just that with the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure in Epcot.¬† Teams are assigned a “Kimmunicator” (read: Verizon/LG cellphone) that delivers them location-aware clues for their scavenger hunt as they “roam the globe” in the World Showcase.¬† I’m not sure if it uses RFID or GPS, but I’m guessing the former as the device also allows you to activate certain exhibits.¬† There are seven different villains from the show you can chase after, and your immediate mission can change depending on what’s nearby.¬†
It sounds like fun and a more pro-active tour guide than the interactive Mickey Mouse dolls they’ve had for the past few years.¬†¬†Between the numerous family vacations, school trips, and random trips thanks to going to college in Orlando, I’m pretty much all theme-parked-out.¬† But with all my years of of Epcot visits and no rush to cram in rides/attractions into a short day, I think this would be something very much worth checking out.