Game the City

Alternate reality games are seriously a pain for me. When I find out about one, I want to follow the narrative, but it comes across in so many channels (online forums, the game’s site or sometimes sites, Flickr, real-life events) and so quickly that it often feels like a full-time job just to keep up and so I don’t. Still, I like the idea of big games ranging all over the city, or even portions of it (a la the Go Game, which we’ve written about before). Even then, those can occur few and far between.

The things I’ll do for 15 points

Someone slipped our fearless leader a link to San Francisco Zero, which bills itself as a collaborative production game. The short version is this: you sign up, you go out and do some of the tasks, you come back and post proof (text, photos, audio, video) of completing a task, and you get points. If you do an outstanding job, you can get bonus points. Some of the tasks are simple and can be done in front of your computer, but many of them involve exploring the city, interacting with other players or even non-players, and creating physical objects or art. You also have to select one of five teams and don’t have immediate access to other teams’ tasks; for that, you have to befriend members of other teams and get them to collaborate with you, meaning you’re going to eventually meet someone new. Even better, you can participate at your own pace; there’s a sort of narrative going on, but more of a webloggish one than a fictional tale.

There’s a lot more I want to write, but I’m saving it until after Saturday’s event, listed as:

There is beautiful high place where you’re not supposed to go in the center of the city. From there you can see many wonderful things. SFZero will lead the way up. At the top we will provide a collaborative art project to work on. Everyone is invited.

Meet at the Peace Plaza in Japantown (near the corner of Post and Buchanan) at 4pm.

File under urban exploration.

Though I’m sure my drive to play as much as I can in a short amount of time will start to wane once I hit level 3, I’m definitely in for a beautiful high place. It could be a good thing to check out if you want to find out more about the game from the creators.

1 Comment so far

  1. derek (unregistered) on March 17th, 2006 @ 7:01 am

    feel free to add me as a friend
    and thanks for the link

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