Alternate reality games (ARGs) weave together real-world artifacts with clues and puzzles hidden virtually any place, such as websites, libraries, museums, stores, signs, recorded telephone messages, movies, television programs, or printed materials. At the 2009 ELI Annual Meeting, attendees were thrust into the world of ARGs during a conference-wide effort to uncover clues left behind by a researcher in distress. Starting at the opening session, attendees learned that Professor Rufus Bluth would not be showing up for his scheduled concurrent session. Instead, he implored the audience to follow the clues to find his research before they did. For the rest of the meeting, attendees followed hints and riddles left on Bluthâ€™s research site and throughout the meeting space to piece together what, exactly, he was researching and who was out to destroy him.
Behind Bluthâ€™s disappearance was actually a team of remote collaborators who worked together to build the gameâ€™s overarching narrative and weave together a series of physical and virtual clues to conceal the various pieces. Through riddles, images, and audio files, the â€œBluth Crewâ€ created a complex tapestry of content, designed to foster interaction and collaboration between attendees and to demonstrate the possibilities for game-based learning. During this one-hour webcast, go â€œbehind the curtainâ€ with the team, learning about the phases of the gameâ€™s production and how you can scale a similar project on your campus. Attendees are also encouraged to share their own reflections about participating in the game.