An Alternate Reality Game, Participatory Politics, and the Color of Civic Engagement

Agloro, Alexandrina
Public: A Journal of Imagining America

What can civic engagement learn from game design? Specifically, what can university-based civic engagement learn from the opportunities and challenges of designing and playing alternate reality games (ARGs)? To understand these questions, this article uses The Resisters, a 2014 ARG about local people of color’s historical activism in Providence, to imagine how game-based technologies can be harnessed for social change. Using the game as an instrument for community engagement, I reflect on the spaces where game design unlocked opportunities to go deeper with community, including discussions on race, place, and belonging. The work around designing and playing The Resisters was a vehicle for an extended community project; the work was less about a game as a final product than it was about the process of game-making and the relationships that formed while the project was in development...