Vanished is a "curated game," a format derived from alternate reality games (ARGs) for museums, being developed by Education Arcade for the Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C., with NSF funding. The game ran from April 4 through May 22 2011, and targeted middle school age kids in informal settings like afterschool programs.

The ARG aspects of the game included going to museums and interacting with real world places and objects as kids solved puzzles to unravel a fictional interdisciplinary science mystery that touched on life sciences, environmental sciences, paleontology, archaeology, geology, anthropology, math, the arts, and language arts. Players collaborated online and in-person while receiving help from MIT students who acted as facilitators and conferenced with Smithsonian scientists.
The project staff hopes to have changed students' conception of the scientific method to one where they view scientific problems as interesting mysteries to be solved. Another goal of the project is to develop a set of open source web tools with documentation that will enable others to create more games in this new genre.
With the game play concluded, Vanished is currently undergoing open sourcing and analysis of collected data.

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