Montola and Sterno’s discussion on how ARGs challenge the magic circle proves implicitly how the presence of the non-player group, as well as “reality” outside that of the game’s, contributes to the gaming experience. Players’ alienation from the reality they were used to enables them to perceive reality through a novel angel, while the surprise they feel because of their alienation from the ordinary cannot be separated from the fact that they know what ordinary reality feels like. The traffic Russian Roulette, for example, may not feel as dangerous if the player does it as part of her daily routine, but its danger is perceived when contrasted with her ordinary walks outside the game. On the other hand, Players’ awareness that an ARG is partially “unreal” fuels their awe when the game proves its reality. This is shown by how players of The Source positively responded to Adia’s appearance, perceiving that her appearance increases the reality of the game and that the two realities have merged together. Player interaction with non-game reality can increase their in-game possibilities, and may give them the potential to alter the game’s plot. The uses of the environment players of Killer think of, emergent events produced by interactions between realities, as well as player’s protests during S.E.E.D. that coincided with larger protests at the time all demonstrate how “real” events and awareness of a real beside the game may alter ARGs, add to their meanings, and increase player involvement.
One hence wonders if a world-wide, whole-time ARG is truly possible without sacrificing the charm given by “limited” ARGs in which players are aware of a reality beside the game’s and an out group beside themselves. Suppose that the reality beside that of the game is completely muted, then emergent gameplay made possible by interactions between two realities may never be a part of the playing experience. Players may no longer have a reality to be alienated from when playing and hence may not see their everyday experiences via novel angels. They may also never feel the awe when the game demonstrates its reality—as there is no other reality to compete against, or that the game can interact with or merge into. The game without another “reality” beside it loses its magic, the terror it can generate through challenging boundaries, and the possibility of any expansion—it becomes unchallenged reality itself.
Hence if an Alternate Reality Game is to stretch all over the globe, it must exist simultaneously with alternate realities if it is to hold on to its charms outlined above. Though it can be played by all players and stretched over all their time, players must simultaneously perceive a reality not included in that of the game–they hence can be continuously surprised, alienated and challenged through the many realities they experience.