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Geocaching and Alternate Reality Games

Nick Farr
Chaos Communication Camp 2007
Indexed on
Mar 27, 2013
File name
File size
387.2 MB

Geocaching and Alternative Reality Games are the first wave of "global gaming", involving players who use the GPS and internet technologies to create and solve challenges in physical space. This talk will highlight how these global games are helping illustrate the problems of the future and training players how to use their technology, wits and available resources to solve them. Geocaching and Alternative Reality Games are the first steps into true, physical world "global gaming". Players use digital technologies like GPS, geospatial imaging and online communication tools to create and solve challenges in the physical world. While these games attract adventure seekers of all levels from all walks of life, the players acquire the skills necessary to address global challenges beyond the capabilities of traditional institutions. These games are creating a new class of informed, networked global citizens who will shape the solution to tomorrow's problems. This first part of this talk will describe what Geocaching and Alternative Reality Games are. The intersection between the two is not readily apparent. Those participating in Geocaching use GPS devices and clever placement of "caches" in the real world to create a challenging pastime that encourages players to think critically about their world. Those who take part in ARGs mix issues, events and physical spaces in the real world to create situations that encourage players to, as in Geocaching, think critically about their world. The two pastimes are starting to intersect in ways that few non-participants could imagine. While these pastimes seem simple on the surface, players are creating and solving new challenges for each other that require a perfect intersection of digital and physical-world knowledge and skills. Few games in the past have called for skills ranging from scuba diving and rope climbing to cryptanalysis and social engineering. These games present no simple solutions, and require players to think on their feet. The second part of this talk will discuss three major challenges that have required players to acquire and use a mix of physical and mental skills. The final part of this talk will illustrate how players from many different cultures, backgrounds and classes are connecting with each other to not only play the game but advance in the hierarchy of gameplay by pooling knowledge and resources. These interactions among players are helping create relationships and skillsets that are showing us what the problems of tomorrow will be and how "everyday people" will unite to solve them.

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