Alternate reality games, usually presented by the acronym ARG, are intended to be non-harmful and typically improvised, and played only off-the-clock (aka only time when not being paid by anyone to do work.)
Practical alternate reality games require at least two players, but some ARGs, such as the recent Level of Concern game by Twenty One Pilots, have millions of players.
Playing an ARG has to be voluntary and anyone can decide to stop playing an ARG at any time. Talking about things that are working and not working with an alternate reality game are critical to making the game better for the current players and for any future players.
It is helpful to know at least one person also playing the alternate reality game before joining one yourself. Hints are typically available online through websites, social networking, and search engine results. (I personally recommend Swagbucks, and joining Swagbucks here helps me recoup costs for being a main designer of The Stellethee Group set of ARGs.
It's not practical to invite people personally to play an alternate reality name by offering an opportunity to anyone one by one. Wearing merchandise about a game or an ARG designing organization helps fund the game, and more players make it more interesting.
The first Stellethee Group ARG is called Prevent the Trace. The Half-Life franchise of computer games by Valve, and their first publisher (Sierra Online) were the instrumental influence to these ARGs.
Because the Half-Life Crowbar was something Half-Life was impossible to play without finding right away, the first help site for the Stellethee Group ARGs is named whomovedmycrowbar.com.
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