Thursday 16 October 2008

Red Cross makes me think

The British Red Cross has launched an alternate reality game (ARG) called Traces of Hope to inform about one of the services they perform; tracing and connecting people who have been separated by war or disasters.

The game is played by entering your email address on the registration page. Some time after after registration, for me long enough to have forgotten that I registered, the player will receive an email from Joseph, a man who has been separated from his family by the war in northern Uganda.

While I write this, the game has just about begun. I've received three emails from Joseph, the last including a link to a Reuters satellite comms system whith several clues for where to look for more info. I am reminded of the Nokia Game ARG in the early 2000's, and although Nine Inch Nails bagged a prestigious grand prix in this years Cannes Cyber Lions, I feel that this marketing format still has a lot of unexplored potential.

Traces of Hope has so far not wandered far from other ARGs that I've seen, but it seems that Red Cross and the game developer Enable Interactice have teamed up with commercial sponsors in an interesting way (I mentioned Reuters, yes? Penguin also, apparently). For corporations who want to venture into charitable sponsorships, I find this to be a very interesting path. A partnership that is both useful to the Red Cross and puts the sponsor forward without being just charitable or even tacky.
I'm curious to see how the game will continue, but it's certainly a way forward for interactive learing tools.

More on the issue over at ARGnet.

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