An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive networked story that employs the real world as a platform and uses transmedia storytelling to bring a story that may be changed by participants' ideas or actions.
The form is described by powerful player participation with a story that takes place in real-time and builds up according to participants' replies. Later, it is shaped by characters that are keenly controlled by the game's designers, in place of being controlled by artificial intelligence as in a computer or console video game. Players interrelate frankly with characters in the game, crack plot-based challenges and puzzles, and collaborate as a community to examine the story and manage real-life and online activities. ARGs usually use multimedia, such as telephones, email and mail but rely on the Internet as the central binding medium.
ARGs are rising in fame, with new games emerging frequently and a growing amount of experimentation with new models and subgenres. They tend to be free to play, with costs absorbed either through supporting products or through promotional relationships with accessible products. However, pay-to-play models are not unique.