Blowtooth : Pervasive Gaming in Unique and Challenging Environments


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Blowtooth : Pervasive Gaming in Unique and Challenging Environments

  1. 1. Blowtooth: Pervasive Gaming in Unique and Challenging Environments Conor Linehan, Ben Kirman, Shaun Lawson, Mark Doughty, Lincoln Social Computing Research Centre (LiSC)
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>We created a pervasive game that requires players to use strangers to smuggle virtual drugs through real airport security . </li></ul>
  3. 3. Blowtooth <ul><li>The player plants small amounts of contraband on unwitting fellow travellers. </li></ul><ul><li>The player must retrieve as much of their stash once it is “safe” to do so, e.g. at the other side of a security check. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forced to wait at least 10 minutes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Points are awarded based on the number of packages recovered. </li></ul><ul><li>Can the combination of this very simple game mechanic and the unique airport environment produce an interesting and engaging experience? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Disclaimer <ul><li>Of course no real drugs are involved </li></ul><ul><li>The game simply polls a player’s vicinity for Bluetooth devices, and allows the player to conceptually dump or retrieve contraband from those devices. </li></ul><ul><li>No interaction with the other devices is made other than to discover it’s unique hardware address </li></ul><ul><li>The “patsies” or drug mules are never made aware that they were involved in the game. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why? <ul><li>The intention is to challenge opinions on appropriate locations for play </li></ul><ul><li>Are high security environments a suitable place to situate pervasive games ? </li></ul><ul><li>A response to the growing role of our own devices as spies/surveillance tools for the state. </li></ul><ul><li>“ 1984 is not what happens when privacy is lost, it is what happens when the camera only points one way” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Pervasive Games <ul><li>Pervasive games should not be just about the technology . They should be about context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tired of treasure hunts set on University Campuses? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Real environments aren’t boring! </li></ul><ul><li>Real environments already elicit curiosity, intrigue and excitement. Let’s exploit that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>places, spaces, societal attitudes, behavioural norms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The environment should not just be where a game happens to be played, but an integral part of the game itself </li></ul>
  7. 7. Security & Surveillance <ul><li>Airport is a high security and high tension environment where </li></ul><ul><ul><li>oppressive control technologies are implemented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expectations of privacy/freedom are altered. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mysterious authorities have special powers to search and detain. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>different expectations on travellers’ behaviour than would be expected outside of this context. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They are “Non-Places” </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Pervasive games in airports? <ul><li>So, is it really a good idea to play games based on the narrative of illegal activities in the most secure environment the typical citizen is likely to encounter over the course of their lives? </li></ul><ul><li>Pilot study – We had 6 participants play the game through real international airports. </li></ul><ul><li>Player comments suggest that Blowtooth was an engaging, fun, and thought-provoking experience that “really helped relieve boredom,” related to international travel. </li></ul>
  9. 9. alt.Discussion ….(contd) <ul><li>CHI Review discussions were very active </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Playing the game could have some real effects on the security of airports – distracting security staff, causing false alerts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some wanted more powerful tools for finding stashes. Privacy was not an issue for them. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This game teaches real, transferrable skills to help drug smugglers/illegal activity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>this work is an apology of crime </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. alt.Discussion <ul><ul><li>Appropriate games could be used to ease anxiety in tense environments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical games – examining your environment - the narrative triggers players to think like a drug smuggler </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relation of media to context - while it maybe socially acceptable to read an Andy McNabb novel at an airport, it might be less acceptable to play the infamous &quot;Airport Scene&quot; from Modern Warfare 2 </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Future Work <ul><li>New multiplayer server based version unveiled this week – </li></ul><ul><li>Allows leaderboards, awards for airports each player has smuggled-through, for tracking of the movement of packages, stealing of other peoples stashes. </li></ul><ul><li>Also – we are creating the top 10 list of easiest airports through which to smuggle drugs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This list will be available for sale. Unmarked bills in a brown envelope, please. </li></ul></ul>
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