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Alan Wake: Tag – You’re It

June 21, 2010

Just finished a second full play-through of Alan Wake (went through the game once on Normal difficulty and then did it again for the Nightmare & Hard difficulty achievements and to clean up the couple of remaining missing collectibles), and I was happy to see the use of Microsoft Tag technology within the game.

For good or for ill, as game production value and investments get larger and larger, it seems there is more and more “bleed through” of information, advertising, etc. in the “real” world into the game world (and vice-versa). One common example is the use of real-world advertising within the game, such as the almost unavoidable Verizon wireless ads throughout Alan Wake on billboards, in-game TVs, fliers, on cell phone game objects, etc. The ads shown in some games are even “live” in that they aren’t just built into the game as static content but are actually seeded from external sources so that they can be relevant for the current point in time. Some cool examples I’ve seen of these is the placement of upcoming game and movie advertising within a game world or ads for current-model vehicles (Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter was doing this a while back for the Dodge Ram truck line).

Alan Wake surprised me with a new twist though: use of Microsoft Tag technology within the game which linked to Verizon Wireless-sponsored assets within the real world. If you’re not familiar with the Tag tech you can check out http://tag.microsoft.com/overview.aspx for details, but in short Tags are encoded images which act something like HTML hyperlinks to resources of many different kinds: web links, videos, phone numbers, etc., and Alan Wake uses them to good effect. Free MS Tag reader implementations can be found here. I use the one for iPhone, and it’s available in the App Store as well.  There a three tags scattered about the game world: one which links to a web site offering a downloadable Alan Wake Xbox Live theme, and two which link to phone numbers for answering machines of in-game characters.

If you want the details, check out my Alan Wake: Tag – You’re It (Spoilers) post.

Even though it’s advertising, this avenue of delivery (“advenue”?) is preferable to me – what do you think?

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From → Gaming, Microsoft, Xbox

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