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This returns to ARGs' framework of transmedia storytelling, which necessitates that ARG designers relinquish a significant degree of their power to the ARG's audience, problematizing traditional views of authorship.The majority of the scholastic review on ARGs analyzes their pedagogical advantages.

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Sean Stewart, another of the three principal designers, notes that designing and running an ARG bears some similarities to running an RPG, and the influence of that particular game form is further suggested by the fact that Jordan Weisman, the game's third main designer, was also the founder of leading RPG company FASA.Stewart also noted that the sort of "creative, collaborative, enthusiastic scavengering behavior" The conspiracy in Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 may be an ARG set up by Pierce Inverarity to bedevil Oedipa Maas, as may be the hallucinatory Turkish frontier across which A. Hill's Stephan Raszer tracks his quarry in the current literary thriller Nowhere-Land.collectible puzzle cards fund Perplex City) or through promotional relationships with existing products (for example, I Love Bees was a promotion for Halo 2, and the Lost Experience and Find 815 promoted the television show Lost). There is a great deal of debate surrounding the characteristics by which the term "alternate reality game" should be defined.Sean Stacey, founder of the website Unfiction, has suggested that the best way to define the genre was not to define it, and instead locate each game on three axes (ruleset, authorship and coherence) in a sphere of "chaotic fiction" that would include works such as the Uncyclopedia and street games like SF0 as well. This prompts the unique collaboration emanating from ARGs as well; Sean Stewart, founder of 42 Entertainment, which has produced various successful ARGs, speaks to how this occurs, noting that "the key thing about an ARG is the way it jumps off of all those platforms.Due to the influence the Beast exerted over the form of later ARGs and the willingness of its creators to talk about its development, its sources of inspiration are both particularly relevant to the evolution of the modern ARG and somewhat more verifiable than other possible antecedents.

Elan Lee, one of its creative principals, cites the 1997 movie The Game as an inspiration, as well as the Beatles' "Paul is dead" phenomenon.

Notably, in the classroom, ARGs can be effective tools for providing exigence on given topics and yield a collaborative and experiential learning environment.

In a contribution to a volume focusing on play and cities in Springer's Gaming Media and Social Effects series, Eddie Duggan (2017) provides an overview of pervasive games, and discusses characteristics in ARGs, LARPs, RPGs, assassination games and other games where the notion of the "magic circle" as elaborated by Salen and Zimmerman Ong's Hat/Incunabula was most likely started sometime around 1993, and also included most of the aforementioned design principles.

Players interact directly with characters in the game, solve plot-based challenges and puzzles, and collaborate as a community to analyze the story and coordinate real-life and online activities.

ARGs generally use multimedia, such as telephones, email and mail but rely on the Internet as the central binding medium.

Dreadnot was a (non-commercial) ARG produced with a grant from the San Francisco Chronicle and published on in 1996.