Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Play! but is it Fun?

Reading a lot about play at the moment... conferences and articles everywhere. This from the New Scientist: an account of various urban games including Uncle Roy is All Around You (I think this was played at the ICA a couple of years ago).
Uncle Roy All Around You is one such game, developed by interactive technology researcher Steve Benford at the University of Nottingham, UK, as part of a European effort called the Integrated Project on Pervasive Gaming, or iPerG. Matt has just an hour to find the eponymous Uncle Roy by following instructions or clues fed to him via cellphone text messages. But every time he moves, the positioning technology on his phone transmits his exact location onto a virtual map of London, allowing other players in the game to track his movements and hunt him down. Meanwhile a small band of performance artists called Blast Theory shadow Matt like spies, interacting and manipulating him in his quest to find Uncle Roy.
Lots going on at the University of Nottingham, I came across them again today reading about Ubiquitous Computing, and of course they run the PLAN mailing list and events.

I also like the sound of Pac-Manhattan, in which New Yorkers dress up as Pac-Man and flee other gamers dressed up as ghosts (showing my age). Interesting intersections of the physical city and location based technology. And it gets you fit. Which is more than can be said for most ICT related activity.

A couple of conferences... one which has already happened at the Banff centre called Bodies in Play: Shaping and Mapping Mobile Applications. They were to consider the use of the location based and experiential technologies not just for gaming but also for tourism, recreation, and learning. Tourism again.

Another conference to happen at the ICA called Playtime! The Cultures of Play, Gaming and Sport, organised by the London Consortium. There's to be a treasure hunt through London using mobile phones...

And finally (for the moment- this seems to be a hot topic) from the Guardian, a mention of Human PacMan (again! nostalgia). In this one you wear augmented reality headsets so you actually see cookies and sugar pills... I think I prefer the Manhattan version.


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