The Red Cross has launched a charity Alternate Reality Game called Traces Of Hope. Set in Uganda, the game lets you use real-world internet resources like email, Facebook and search engines to help guide a sixteen year old refugee - Joseph - back to his mother.
"We've pulled out all the stops to create an experience where players will feel they are really interacting with Joseph's world - by communicating directly with Joseph, players find themselves caught up in a hunt across the internet to reunite him with his mother," said Dorothea Arndt, British Red Cross, New Media Manager.
One slightly unfortunate side-effect of the game's quest realism became apparent when I realised I had missed four of the email messages from Joseph because I wasn't expectng them and they they triggered my mental Spam/Scam filter. Top tip guys, starting a seemingly unsolicited email with either "Hello! It is me Joseph... I am near Hopetown, Uganda!" or "Thanks for your email the other day" is going to set off alarm bells...
My idiocy aside, Traces Of Hope is worth a look. The Red Cross are a great cause and they are genuinely trying something new here.