PURPOSE : The purpose of this paper is to present the gathering, integration and analysis of digital information sources for the creation of a conceptual framework for alternate reality games (ARGs). ARGs hold potential for libraries, education, healthcare and many other sectors.DESIGN / METHODOLOGY / APPROACH : Case studies were performed on three previously played ARGs to create case reports. The various digital information sources for each game, sourced from multiple media, are compiled into a chronologically ordered game narrative which formed the case reports. The focus of the paper is on the analysis of the case reports using constant comparative analysis to identify categories and subcategories. Relationships are established, based on each game, between the categories and subcategories to inform the creation of game diagrams. The game diagrams are then combined to create a conceptual framework that describes the functioning and components of an ARG. FINDINGS : The conceptual framework effectively described the types of information found within an ARG as well as how these different categories of information interact and link to one another. The framework also provides an abstract description of the components of ARGs, namely narrative, game actions and community. ORIGINALITY /VALUE : The conceptual framework produced by the analysis enables an understanding of ARGs and how they are played and designed. Insight into how to analyse ARGs based on the information generated for the play of the game by both the players and the game designers is gained. Where other studies have provided insight into the phenomena of ARGs, this study focuses on constructing a conceptual framework of ARGs using the information generated by the game.