United Colonies Alternate Reality Game

United Colonies was an alternate reality game (ARG) played over an entire semester in the 2012-2013 school year at the PlayMaker School. It was a partnership between GameDesk and Mike Minadeo. I served as the sole GameDesk contributor to the project and learning designer. Mike Minadeo was the Creative Director and game design lead. To date, United Colonies is one of the most complex and successful ARGs ever implemented in a K-12 context.

United Colonies was an alternate reality game (ARG) played by the PlayMaker School students over the course of a semester during the 2012-2013 school year. During initial curriculum development brainstorming and creative meetings with experts in Live Action Roleplay (LARP), the idea had come up to run an ARG. I was tasked with implementation and partnered with Mike Minadeo, an award winning ARG designer. Together we conceptualized, designed, and ran the United Colonies ARG. Mike served as the Creative Director and is responsible for the bulk of the graphic design and game design. I was the sole GameDesk contributor and was responsible for learning design, creating some of the games and game materials (any video and web-based content), advised on game design and mechanics, collaborated with Mike on logistics and implementation, and helped to define the overall game structure and schedule.

The project was a learning experience for me and Mike, but exceeded our wildest expectations. The kids who participated loved United Colonies so much they ran their own ARG the following school year for the next group of PlayMaker School students. To date, I haven’t seen a K-12 ARG that was this extensive or with the same amount of learning outcomes evidence.

Press Coverage:

Darvasi, Paul. “How to Transform The Odyssey into an Epic Game in Alternate Reality.” MindShift. October 13, 2014.

Presentations:

2013 ARGFest

2014 Serious Play Conference

2014 SXSW Edu

Lessons:

Module 1

Module 2

Videos:

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