Introduction: Emerging Participatory Culture Practices: Player-Created Tiers in Alternate Reality Games
This minisite is a companion to an essay published in the Feb 2008 issue (vol 14, no 1) of Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. The essay, 'Emerging Participatory Culture Practices: Player-Created Tiers in Alternate Reality Games’ is in the special issue edited by Henry Jenkins and Mark Deuze on 'Convergence Cultures'. Specifically, this minisite is referenced in footnote  of the journal essay.
The intention of this online extension is to provide more examples of the taxonomy types referred to in the essay, to be a resource for fellow researchers and practitioners, to encourage curiosity in those considering reading the essay, and to provide some information for those that can't access the essay.
Access the Essay:
To help situate this online component, here is the abstract of the journal essay:
This paper introduces an emerging form of participatory culture, one that is not a modification or elaboration of a primary producer's content. Instead, this paper details how the artifacts created to 'play' a primary producer's content has become the primary work for massive global audiences. This phenomenon is observed in the genre of alternate reality games (ARGs) and is illustrated through a theory of 'tiering'. Tiers provide separate content to different audiences. ARG designers tier their projects, targeting different players with different content. ARG player-production then creates another tier for non-playing audiences. To explicate this point, the features that provoke player-production -- producer-tiering, ARG aesthetics and transmedia fragmentation -- are interrogated, alongside the character of the subsequent player-production. Finally, I explore the aspects of the player-created tiers that attract massive audiences, and then posit what these observations may indicate about contemporary artforms and society in general.
In summary, the essay interrogates:
- the ways ARG designers trigger player-created gameplay resources;
- the types of gameplay resources that are created;
- and possible reasons for their uptake by massive audiences.
By concentrating on these elements in the essay, I was not able to provide detailed information about 'tiering' and ARG gameplay resources (nor is it appropriate in an academic essay). Therefore, this online augmentation offers that information in a general style and obviously not what is the journal.
- The first section introduces 'tiering' and tiering levels;
- The second section explains types of tiering in ARGs;
- The third section outlines a taxonomy of ARG GamePlay Resources and provides examples of sources;
- The fourth section continues giving examples of ARG GamePlay Resources, specifically the types of resources;
- The fifth section more ARG GamePlay Resources, but this time looking at their degrees of fictionality;
- The sixth section briefly looks at the implications of the points in the essay;
- The final section contains the bibliography for this online augmentation.