Election ARG

Agnes Cameron, Mike Hao Jiang, and Sam Posner


Only 40% of the eligible population votes in the typical US midterm election, and among young people turnout is even lower. In this experiment, we develop a game that encourages people to influence their friends to physically go to the polls. The system is reminiscent of Fifty Nifty, where people competed to amass points by both calling representatives and spreading the message to others. In addition to awarding points, aims to motivate players by allowing them influence over the outcome of a shared narrative that develops in real-time before (and during) the election. Interactive stories with real-world game mechanics are characteristic of alternate reality games (ARGs), which have received scholarly attention for their potential to instigate viral communications among players who self-organize to solve complex problems. The purpose of this study is to test whether ARG techniques can motivate gamers to solve the intractable problem of getting their peers to vote.