Designing, Playing & Assessing Plunkett’s Pages: a Case Study of the 1916 Easter Rising Alternate Reality Game

Presented by: Ronan Lynch

Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) are a new kind of narrative game genre that deliberately blur ‘normal’ game features to create tension and excitement. Boundaries between what is real and what is fictional, where the game-space is, who the players are or who pulls the story strings are consciously disguised, producing a compelling experience. Players work collaboratively online and offline to collate the fragments of an underlying narrative by deciphering codes and clues. Serious/Educational ARGs create alternative ways for learners to learn; they encourage collaborative teamwork that develops interpersonal skills. This allows learners to develop their own understanding through problem-solving, engagement and interactive game play, and aids knowledge retention. ‘Plunkett’s Pages’, a Serious/Educational ARG created between October 2012-February 2013, allows players to learn about the events surrounding the 1916 Easter Rising through the medium of play. The accompanying presentation outlines the learning outcomes and assessment aspects of the ARG. The development of ‘Plunkett’s Pages’ game design is presented, whilst insights into the motivation, collaboration, problem-solving and learning aspects of the Serious/Educational ARG are also discussed. Finally, the presentation includes a brief summary of first-hand accounts from players who have played ‘Plunkett’s Pages’.

Presenter Biography:

Mr Ronan Lynch is a Doctoral Researcher in the School of Informatics & Creative Arts in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) where his supervisory team is Dr. Bride Mallon and Dr. Cornelia Connolly. Recently transferred from a Research Masters to the Doctoral Register, Ronan currently is broadening his research in the area of Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), focusing on their educational uses.