Friday, August 22, 2008

Partial Syllabus

Course Syllabus: ATEC (EMAC) 4326

Course Information

ATEC (EMAC) 4326 Thursdays 4 - 6:45 PM (Emergent Media Production – Part 1)

a.k.a. The “Alternate Reality Game” Class (

Professor Contact Information

Dr. Adam Brackin – 214-354-6161 (

Course Description

"This is Not a Game" is the catchphrase for "Alternate Reality Games", the newest form of Interactive Online Entertainment. They were born from interactive forms of "Guerrilla Advertising" and are made up by a blending of Social Networks, Interactive Fiction, and MMOGs. This class will explore all things ARG from its history to its future, including the known boundaries of "Interactive Online Entertainment" and "Chaotic Fiction" as they relate to ARG, as well as the art and science of creating and playing ARGs.

Student Learning Objectives/Outcomes

Students will be asked to research, follow, and analyze past and current ARG games and to engage in the first steps in creating an online fictional self within the context of an interactive online environment through tools such as,,, and the project, as an interactive part of mapping the genre as it discovers itself.

Required Textbooks and Materials

THIS IS NOT A GAME - Dave Szulborski

ISBN-13: 978-1-4116-2595-2

(or at


ISBN-10: 1592007376

ISBN-13: 978-1592007370

Suggested Course Materials (Req. for Grad Students)


ISBN-10: 0240809599

ISBN-13: 978-0240809595


ISBN: 978-1-4116-4828-9

Assignments & Academic Calendar

WK1 (8-21) - Quick and Dirty Intro

WK2 (8-28) - Intro to ARG

WK3 (9-04) - Social Networks

WK4 (9-11) - Real World Elements

WK5 (9-18) - Interactive Storytelling (Chaotic Fiction)

WK6 (9-25) - TINAG – textbook / BR – textbook

WK7 (10-2) - Pregame – Presentations

WK8 (10-9) - Mainstream ARG – Presentations

WK9 (10-16) - Grassroots ARG - Presentation

WK10 (10-23) - Extended TV - Presentation

WK11 (10-30) – New Media / Future of ARG

WK 12 (11-6) – Current games – Presentations

WK 13 (11-13) – Current games – Presentations

WK 14 (11-20) – Current games – Presentations


WK 16 (12-4) – Current games – Presentations

WK 17 (12-11) - Final Class (if needed)


Regular weekly HW assignments (email to me / bring to class)

Weekly contribution to internal class discussion blog (

Regular Contribution to ARG community (email regular “monthly” status updates)

The project game forums site

other sites?

presentation to class about chosen “historical” ARG (10/2-10/23)

3-5 page paper about chosen historical ARG (due your presentation day)

presentation to class about chosen “current” ARG (11/6-12/4) from ARGn or UF “What’s Hot” lists about an ongoing game

3-5 page paper about chosen current ARG (due your presentation day)

Course, Grading, & Instructor Policies

This class relies heavily on discussion and class participation. Students will be expected to attend ALL classes unless you have a special circumstance in which case you MUST contact me in advance by phone or email! A student who misses more than one class session or misses without approval will be required to do an additional project or have their grade dropped by one letter for the course. Late work will be dropped by one letter grade for each week it is late. No Exceptions.

The five deliverables for the course will be weighted equally and averaged (20% of course grade). A student who attends all classes, completes all coursework on time, and whose five deliverables all meet the high standard expected of a University student will receive an A in this course.

Technical Support

If you experience any problems with your UTD account you may send an email to: or call the UTD Helpdesk at 972 883-2911.

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