Tutorial for playing Alternate Reality Games

by the Collective Tutor
To help make the Alternate Reality Game experience easier and more rewarding, the Collective Tutor has written a series of articles explaining some of the basic tools and skills players have found useful.

Nothing is as it appears:

There are many ways to hide or encode information in ARG.  Here are some systems to look for.

Pm pa svvrz sprl aopz aolu paz wyvihisf bzpun h yvahalk hswohila.
ROT Translating

Morse Code
.. ..-. / .. - / .-.. --- --- -.- ... / .-.. .. -.- . / - .... .. ... / - .... . -. / .. - ... / .--. .-. --- -... .- -... .-.. -.-- / .. -. / -- --- .-. ... . / -.-. --- -.. .
Morse Code Translating

Destegging Pictures
Do you suspect that there might be a file hidden in an image?
Learn how to use two popular steganography programs to find out.

Source Code
Tips on how to look through Source Code for information and on manipulating elements of the web page.

File Extensions and Conversions
Learn how file extensions and conversions are used to make things more interesting.

Find out who owns the sites where the game is being played.  One never knows where clues might be hiding.

For those late nights when PMs are up to puzzle mischief and in the morning you discover things have changed. Learn how to recover missing or altered puzzle and site material by checking your cache.

This section will tell you how to determine if a string of numbers like this is ascii code and how to decipher it.

Modular encryption
You come across a set of numbers in the source code of a page and the highest number is 27.  But wait, there are only 26 letters in our alphabet, so it can't be a simple a=0, b=1 substitution.  What do you do?

Walkthrough a puzzle or two.

Ever come across a puzzle that looked so completely foreign to you that you couldn't even begin to know how to solve it?  You are not alone.  The brilliant minds of the Tutorial Staff have agreed to provide a glimpse into the (admittedly somewhat twisted) thought processes of the puzzle-solvers. Sapagoo and Jamesi have written two walkthroughs just for us. A Birthday Trail *and a little fun with JMX.

*Birthday trails are a series of puzzles created by individuals intent upon wishing a certain person or persons (in this case SpaceBass and Ozy_y2k) Happy Birthday with online greeting that have to be located by solving each puzzle in the trail to find the next.

Playing well with others:

Most games are played in a collective environment, generally in forums such as Collective Detective or Yahoo forums.  To be a good ARG citizen, learn how to Read the Guide and Trail  and become fluent in these Posting Guidelines.

From Martavius

*Alternate Reality Games