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Foreword - Pg. xiii

Foreword Sean Stewart Fall 2000. Jordan Weisman and Elan Lee were talking about a new kind of game, one that couldn't be confined inside a video-game console. Jordan's phone rang, as it does constantly, but this time both men stared at it, and then Jordan said: "Wouldn't it be cool if that was the game calling?" *** From the classic college campus assassination game Killer and the simple short mes- sage service-based BotFighters, which allow players to fight one another as they move through their regular lives, to intensely immersive theater pieces like Momentum, in which players were possessed by the spirits of dead revolutionaries around the clock for 36 consecutive days, pervasive games are entertainments that leap off the board, con- sole, or screen and into your real life. The authors of this book have created the defini- tive history of the genre, as well as a compendium of case studies, design directions, and moral questions for the next generation of people interested in the intoxicating mixture of game and real life. *** I was introduced to the concept of The Game That Would Call You in January of 2001 when I was hired as a lead writer to work with a giant project for Steven Spielberg's upcoming movie A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Jordan's plan was to build the whole world of A.I. online and then let the audience walk into it, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. The game world would be vast and elaborate. Hundreds of linked Web pages would form the skeleton: personal blogs, avant-garde art hangouts, the entire online catalog of a manufacturer of geisha robots, political action groups, government agencies, and not one but two complete universities with dozens of departments. The first time we wrote a list of all the things we would need to bring this world to life, it was 666 items long; that's where the project earned the nickname The Beast. Along with Electronic Arts' Majestic, The Beast would spawn an entire subgenre of pervasive games called alternate reality games (ARGs). These are interactive stories in which you, in the audience, are also a crucial character, and your decisions drive the narrative. We had a few basic design principles: Come into the players' lives in every way possible. We hosted Web sites for you to browse, sent emails to your inbox, and arranged for faxes to be sent to your office "by mistake." We got a gravel-voiced Microsoft employee to record a menacing message from a robot revolutionary and then called players on their phones, which was electrifying, xiii