... Now, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., has gone where no museum has gone before, providing a rabbit hole for the new alternate reality game, or ARG, called "Ghosts of a Chance."

In partnership with the ARG design company CityMystery, the Smithsonian has become the first museum to sponsor an ARG, a move it hopes will inspire other museums to follow suit.


The Washington Post

There is something lurking in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Restless spirits are bothering staffers, and there is only one way to appease them -- make visitors explore every nook and cranny of the museum, examining tucked away artwork, deciphering codes and following treasure maps.

Plus, you learn details about art you might have otherwise overlooked. One clue requires you to remember the name of an artist so that you can find a piece by (him) in another part of the museum.


Reality Is Broken, Why Games Matter by Jane McGonigal

About Ghosts Of A Chance — There is a sense in the museum that history lingers in the art objects, almost like a ghost, waiting to whisper its tales to visitors... (that) was the inspiration for the Ghosts Of A Chance game.

We have become accustomed to viewing museums as places of consumption —of knowledge, of art, of ideas... Ghosts Of A Chance shows how we can turn them into spaces of meaningful participation.

Two warring factions, the Staves and the Knaves, try to restore balance after intruders from the "real world" have upset their virtual world called Terra Tectus. From the makers of Ghosts of a Chance, the Smithsonian's new game Pheon will debut this month with a live event at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in Washington, D.C., on Sept.18, from 12 p.m. to 6p.m. In addition to creative activities, the live event will feature clues somehow encoded into a belly-dancing performance.

... Even though Pheon will highlight the Smithsonian American Art Museum's collections, it will be playable around the world.

Mark Fallows, Director Of Creative Technology, McCann Erickson New York blog:

Met with the wonderful John Maccabee (of CityMystery) in SF today. John's history of writing and narrative development has been fused with the talents of game designers — to create game based storytelling experiences. Many people talk about transmedia storytelling, John is doing it. With his game for the Smithsonian, Ghost of a Chance he drove footfall, extended their digital reach and educated players into the bargain.

His new game is called Pheon and sounds like this will redefine missionbased games for brands and institutions alike.

Narrative lies at the heart of its charm and attraction. Game dynamics play a core role. Brands step up and jump in.

All you need is a healthy injection of creative thinking as to how to utilize this game.

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