ARGs Against Cancer

Via my pal James Wallis comes a note from Adrian Hon (James’s partner at the wailing-new Six to Start) about a project dedicated to concocting a brand-new Alternate Reality Game designed to raise money for cancer research. You can find out all the details at

In short, they’re asking for 500-word game concepts. They’ll pick the best and give the design team £1,000 of seed money. It’s a worthy cause, and there’s a lot of fun to be had. If you have the time and inclination, please give it a crack!

Today, I’m launching a new project with Cancer Research UK called
‘Let’s Change the Game’ that will develop an ARG whose aim is to
raise money for cancer research.

This is a serious game with a difference. Not only will we be
measuring its success *directly* through how much money it manages to
raise, but we’re inviting teams from around the world to submit game
designs. The team behind the winning design, as chosen by judges who
include Sean Stewart, Rhianna Pratchett and James Wallis, will then
be invited to develop the game.

They’ll have guidance and advice from the judges, plus the full
resources of Cancer Research UK; that’s over 600 stores, monthly TV
ads, hundreds of races and live events, and mailings going out to
over 20 million people. It could be the biggest ARG, ever – and we’re
giving new designers the chance to create it.

As for funding, I’m donating UKP1000 (US$2000) towards the development of
the ARG. It may not be enough, and hopefully we’ll get in-kind
donations from other sources, but it’s my belief that this UKP1000 will
be multiplied many times by the ARG into a much larger donation for
Cancer Research UK.

We’re really excited about this project, not only because it has the
potential to help cancer research, but it’ll also help provide
experience to aspiring game designers. People always used to ask me
how they could become ARG designers, and I would always say that they
should try and gain experience – but with such a small field, the
only way to do that is through grassroots games. While people might
have plenty of time to volunteer, grassroots games still cost *some*
money which people often can’t spare. This is a way to give lots of
people experience in thinking about game design, and one team the
opportunity to make a really significant game.

I’m very pleased with the way that Cancer Research UK have gotten
behind this project. It’s a big organisation, and big organisations
are prone to ‘not invented here’ syndrome; however, the idea of an
ARG that will combine every arm of the charity has really caught on,
and I think there’s a real opportunity for something amazing to
happen here.

Anyway, there’s plenty more information at

The first round of 500-word game designs are due in on November 16th,
so you have almost seven weeks to get cracking