Alternate Reality Games: Promotion and Participatory Culture, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Alternate Reality Games

Promotion and Participatory Culture, 1st Edition

By Stephanie Janes


148 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780815386803
pub: 2019-08-12
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Using textual analysis, interviews with game designers, audience surveys, and close analysis of player forum discussion, this book examines the unique nature of the producer/consumer relationship within promotional Alternate Reality Games (ARGs).

Historically ARGs are rooted in advertising as much as they are in narrative storytelling. As designers often have to respond to player actions as the game progresses, players can have an impact on the storyline, on character behaviour, and potentially on the final resolution of the narrative. This book explores how both media consumers and producers are responding to this new reconfiguration of the producer/consumer/prosumer dynamic in order to better understand the diverse advertising experiences available to media audiences today.

With a focus on participatory culture and the political economy of promotional communications, this in-depth analysis of ARGs will appeal to academics and researchers in the fields of games, film, advertising, and media and cultural studies.

Table of Contents

List of Figures



1. Promotional ARGs in Context

2. ARGs as Marketing

3. The Promise of Participation

4. Promotional ARGs and Digital Labour

5. Conclusion



About the Author

Dr Stephanie Janes is a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at King’s College, London. She has previously lectured in Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London and Media & Communications at the University of East London. Her research interests are in film and media promotion, and media convergence with an emphasis on film and gaming. She has previously published on promotional ARGs for films in Arts and the Market and edited collections including: The Politics of Ephemeral Digital Media: Permanence and Obsolescence in Paratexts, eds. Sara Pesce & Paolo Noto, and Alternate Reality Games and the Cusp of Digital Gameplay, eds. Antero Garcia & Greg Niemeyer.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Advertising Studies

Routledge Critical Advertising Studies tracks the profound changes that have taken place in the field of advertising. Presenting thought-provoking scholarship from both prominent scholars and emerging researchers, these groundbreaking short form publications cover cutting-edge research concerns and contemporary issues within the field. Titles in the series explore emerging trends, present detailed case studies and offer new assessments of topics such as branded content, economic surveillance, product placement, gender in marketing, and promotional screen media. Responding quickly to the latest developments in the field, the series is intellectually compelling, refreshingly open, provocative and action-oriented.

Anyone interested in contributing to the series should contact the series editor Jonathan Hardy at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies