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Session Name:

Capturing Children's Attention and Imagination with Investigative Play


In Vanished, a modified ARG for middle-schoolers, over 6000 players participated in an online community for 8 weeks in order to solve a large-scale scientific mystery. During the game, players were so invested that even when they found cheats, they avoided using them because they cared about the game and the community and were unwilling to ruin the game experience. This session will discuss how we encouraged greater participation, squashing the ARG triangle, set up a complex, cascading mystery, and conducted an online game with children still covered by COPPA, all the while creating an edge-of-your-seat experience.

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