|Democrat and Chronicle web developers Kyle Omphroy and Tim Trayhan (far right and far left) join Associate Professors Stephen Jacobs and Elouise Oyzon (center) in the judging of entries in the “Recipe Run.”
A new alternate reality game has RIT students stepping away from their computer screens and out into the community. “Picture the Impossible,” a partnership between RIT and the Democrat and Chronicle (D&C), offers locals a chance to get to know the city, play games, solve puzzles, and benefit a local charity while playing. The game now has over 1,800 participants.
“Picture the Impossible” offers a combination of puzzles, web games and local challenges to match a weekly theme. These activities can be found online via their website and within the D&C’s published newspaper. Each challenge earns the participant points that will affect both his or her individual ranking and his or her team’s total score.
The game divides participants into three different teams: Tree, Watch and Forge. Each faction’s performance benefits the Golisano Children’s Hospital, the Wilson Commencement Park and Foodlink, respectively.
At the end of each week, the highest-scoring faction will receive $1,000; the second will receive $600; and the third will receive $400. In addition, the top 150 participants and the winners of individual challenges will be given two tickets to a post-event gala being held on October 31.
The brainchild of Elizabeth Lawley, director of the Lab for Social Computing and associate professor in the Interactive Games and Media department, “Picture the Impossible” successfully incorporates aspects of the D&C’s newspaper and
“Our hope was that if we got people to start looking at the paper because it was part of the game, that they might find that there are actually things in the paper that are interesting and useful,” said Lawley.
Another main goal of this project is to help people learn more about the city of Rochester. “A lot of people who have been playing it so far have learned things that, living most of their life in Rochester, they didn’t know about,” said Sophia Lafergola, a graduate student of Bioinformatics at RIT who writes the narrative content for
Participants are given the opportunity to discover (or re-discover) Rochester’s Public Market. As part of the food and drink theme, September 25’s challenge, the “Rochester Recipe Run” required participants to visit the market and purchase one of four local ingredients: pizza crust, peppers, honey or habanero cheddar. The chosen ingredient was then used to create a unique dish which was dropped off at the Student Innovation Center for judging. By 10 a.m., two of the public market vendors had already run out of their ingredients.
Ariel Kirk and Allison Pitkin, both from the Geneseo area, submitted dishes using honey as their special ingredient. Kirk baked sweet potato scones and Pitkin brought autumn wontons with butternut squash. Pitkin said her best local discovery throughout the event was finding Starry Nites Café during a scavenger hunt.
Jared Lyon, the web developer at the Office of University Publications, brought gear-shaped banana walnut bars as part of the honey category. Lyon says that “Picture the Impossible” “gives tech people something to do in the real world and online.” He had never been to the Public Market before he purchased the honey for his recipe.
For those interested, it isn’t too late to jump in and start playing. Although the event began on September 12, it will run until October 30. While new users will be behind in individual rankings, they can catch up by participating in high point activities.
To register for “Picture the Impossible,” visit http://picturetheimpossible.com.