The University of Chicago, in conjunction with the Chicago Summer of Learning, is developing a STEM-based alternate reality game called The Source to be played by youth across Chicago July 8-August 16.
The Source focuses on Adia, a 17-year-old African American girl living in Chicago. The narrative is communicated through a series of webisodes in which Adia speaks from her webcam to the players of the game. One day Adia stumbles across a letter that changes her life. Adia is desperate to figure out what the contents of the letter mean but feels that her mother is overburdening her with extracurricular activities, keeping her from being able to do so. Though Adia is unable to leave her house after she gets home from school, she begins to gamify and crowdsource the letter's mystery, so she can find the answer she is looking for.
The Source is composed of 5 major ludic episodes that involve investigatory tasks, code-breaking challenges, STEAM-based puzzles, and media production opportunities. Participants join ten-player teams to help Adia to reach out to other communities to solve problems and to compete against each other for an ultimate prize.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Check out our digital timeline highlighting moments during The Source
Week 1: Power Play
Premise: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has broken up the GennaRator (TM) energy syndicate's monopoly on Hexacago. Increase your energy output, expand your grid, and emerge as the dominant power in the city.
Week 2: Caduceus Quest
Premise: Collect a team of health-care professionals to pitch the best proposal for grant money to solve one of Hexacago’s problems.
Week 3: Investigation!
Premise: Players assume the role of a detective and cryptologist to reconstruct the events of Abe’s crime. Some information is relevant Some information is relevant to the crime, while others help to reconstruct the identity of Adia’s father. Read through all the clues and put together a police report that reconstructs the day’s events.
Week 4: Constellations
Premise: An artificial intelligence named hAIti has taken over Adia's father's site, adiacenter.org.
Week 5: Insane in the Mainframe
Premise: hAIti has retreated into his own electronic mind and threatens to spread beyond the confines of The Source. Players must enter his own virtual world to activate Abe Adawale’s failsafe mechanisms in order to restore hAIti to full operating capacity...or destroy him for good.
Follow the process with Game Changer Chicago designers!
- On an Ongoing Experiment: Games, Connected Learning, and the Future of Education: Patrick Jagoda
- On The Source Narrative: Patrick Jagoda and Seed Lynn
- On Mentoring Youth Through The Source: Mollie McFee
- On Game Design for The Source: Peter McDonald
- An Overview of The Source (Week 1): Chris Russell
- On the Role of Health in The Source: Dr. Melissa Gilliam
- On Learning about Health Inequities and Research Through The Source Game: Karriem Watson
- On Transmedia Strategy for The Source Alternate Reality Game: James Taylor
- On The Source Platform: Amanda Dittami
- An Overview of The Source (Week 2): Philip Ehrenberg
- On Badges and Games: Patrick Jagoda
- On Gaming, Learning and Health Research: Brandon Hill
- On Youth Mentorship and the Code Wars! Game: Jacob Mooney
- On the Role of an Area-Specific Teacher-Actor in The Source: Daniel Weinstein
- An Overview of The Source (Week 3): Ashlyn Sparrow
- On Being an Alternate Reality Newb: Lauren Whalen
- On Transmedia Storytelling and Sexually Transmitted Infections: Leslie Gailloud
- On Youth, Digital Media and Learning at The Source: Megan Macklin
- On the Sublime Logistics of Alternate Reality Games: Angela Heimburger
- An Overview of The Source (Week 4) or, On Taking a Lusory Attitude to Design: Peter McDonald
- On Research and Evaluation of a Learning Game: Alicia Menendez
- On Alternate Reality Game Realities: Philip Ehrenberg
- On Youth Mentorship and an Inspiring Game Changer: Rodney Allen
- On Empathy and Art in The Source: Anna Dozor
- An Overview of The Source (Week 5): Megan Macklin
- On The Conclusion of The Source Alternate Reality Game and the Future of the Game Changer Chicago Design Lab: Melissa Gilliam and Patrick Jagoda