Night at the Museum ARG Concept
Back when I was at Full Sail, I got to take a course called Gaming and Transmedia Storytelling. In that course one of my assignments was to chose a non-profit to create an ARG for, I chose NYC’s American Museum of Natural History. Keep reading to see the initial concept designed to boost traffic at the museum and increase publicity for the Disney+ Reboot.
One of their main goals is to “disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe”. The museum gained some popularity through the film franchise, Night at the Museum, and I thought what better way to set up a story than with the film since it is getting rebooted by Disney and Fox in the future. So we can set the game physically throughout the 45 permanent exhibits with clues and puzzles leading you to do further research around the exhibit’s period in time or even explore around New York City Parks and Historical Monuments. For example, in the ancient Egypt exhibit, you could place a sheet of hieroglyphs that can be translated to a riddle linking you Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems which could be displaying a fake gem. The gem's information card would have a weird name that can be ciphered and give coordinates of the Theodore Roosevelt Statue, where a phone number is waiting to be called. The voicemail is a message from Tilly, the night guard from the British Museum who now has the tablet, requesting you to help her with a problem with the tablet. Players will need to use their phones to do research and find ciphers and more. Inspiration could be pulled from EPCOT’s former Kim Possible/Perry the Platypus now Ducktales World Showcase adventure with certain exhibits being brought to life when correctly triggered via an app or website. Other mediums clues that could be hidden is include: the Planetarium, Rocks in the Dinosaur Exhibits, positioning/arrangement of the animals in their exhibits and fake newspapers in the gift shop. Clues will be tied back to real history with clues given by characters from the films such as Teddy, Sacagawea, the Cavemen, and the Easter Island Head. Players will help move the narrative along by finding the videos, hidden handwritten notes, and voice messages with hidden numbers to call or text throughout the museum. Players will use them to find the clues to the next location, decipher codes, input keywords into a website/app to trigger IRL events to not only create a fun experience throughout the museum with nods to the franchise (and potentially link it to the reboot), but to learn more about history and share their fun and findings with their friends and families to disseminate the information.