Saturday, August 3, 2013

Urban spaces in location based ubiquitous games

Mobile platforms like tenqyu’s project Stroma are strategic enablers for location based games to augment the real, concrete urban space with a narrative, interactive, multimedia game structure.

These game structures encourage the player to construct, consciously, a more intimate relationship between game-play and everyday life. They activate everyday objects and places into touch-points for interaction.

This layer of dynamic and contextual data over physical space is a particular case of a general aesthetic paradigm: The juxtaposition of diverse spaces. For a game that is intimately connected with it’s locality, the challenge is to integrate the game’s content with right augmented information without losing immersion.

Historically, urban designers exerted control over they way people interact with their environment through physical and temporal means. Now with the ongoing developments in technology and media, this perception of space and time in urban environments is extended far beyond their original scope.

In the video-game Grand Theft Auto 4, the rendition of Liberty City closely resembles a modern New York city.

In addition to the rich history of New York’s urban center, now a synthetic story with an artifical experience has been embedded into the narrative architectural structures.

Within project Stroma, this narrative structure has been taken out of the living room and into the actual streets thereby creating an enchanted village where players can search and experiment with activated content. In reality, the player can dive into a historical quest to search for the fragments of the Singapore stone.

                     "Players are artists who create their own reality within the game."

                                                                            Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo)

For most players, a strong sense of “reality” and “feeling connected” comes from seeing and being seen by other players.  Players’ driven by the desire for status, access, power, and physical rewards create new communication patterns from playing at the same time or in the same area. This paradigm shift in how we use the urban space, creates pressure on urban planners who now face the difficulty to evaluate the narrative potential of city spaces.

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