Academic research into my game

I finished my last post with the following questions:

  1. Why is this a compelling product? What has prompted it’s design and what justification can be offered for the design?
  2. In what ways will my product be original? i.e. what other similar products are available in the market?
  3. In what ways will the product be relevant to the audience?
  4. In what ways will the product offer unique selling points?
  5. How does academic research either challenge or support my assumptions?

Fundamentally my game is a pervasive mobile game, which utilizes the players (or more precisely, their mobile phones’) position to manage and facilitate the game state. My investigation of scholarly work in this field began with a Masters Thesis written by Alison Harvey. As the author points out in their opening paragraph, unlike many other games, pervasive mobile games blur the line between how the game is played and where it is played. This paper also supports the notion of liminal potential with regards to those who play the game (the players) and those who observe or spectate the game (those who inhabit the same space but who aren’t engaged or those who may follow someone who streams such a game from their phone to an online streaming platform such as twitch).

Whilst one source alone is insufficient to support a theoretical proof of concept, it is heartening to see academic work outlining my theoretical concept.

Further qualitative work has been undertaken by Arjoranta, et al.where they have explored players attitudes, behaviours and their proclivity towards complying: Exploring Features of the Pervasive Game Pokémon GO That Enable Behavior Change: Qualitative Study.

They noted a large number of positive outcomes for players, including: Added Activity in Life, Enhancing Routines, Exploration, Increased Physical Activity, Strengthening Social Bonds, Lowering Social Barriers, Increased Positive Emotional Expression and Self Treatment.

My game idea is different to Pokemon Go. It is a timed game, which increases the urgency of trying to win (and consequently the effort). In addition to the above, I’d argue that my game takes some of these ideas even further (particularly exploration and increased physical activity). Matchmaking will be a key variable to determination of how strenuous each game is likely to be and although likely to be beyond the scope of my original design, it will be an interesting domain to build a feature around. In terms of suitability for audience, the game is one of chase and may be of interest to specific ethnographic communities (those who enjoy skating, cycling or parkour).

Although there are pervasive mobile games and this is clearly an expanding field having looked through Googles’ play store and Apples’ Itunes store, I’ve yet to find an example of a pervasive game which moves beyond the traditional ‘treasure hunt’ model pioneered by games such as Pokemon Go, Wizards Unite and Ingress.

My research leads me to conclude that my game is;

a) Original

b) Experimental

c) Commercially viable

I will now move onto producing a detailed game design document.