I’ve been thinking to write about video games times ago. Their ability to create communities; change behavior; create new ways to use the city; collect, analyze and organize information; learn and teach. And for fun, of course. I could talk a lot about traditional video games, but I prefer to focus on new opportunities that arise by mixing the game dynamics, the network and the physical environment (the city). The evolution and innovation of online games or MMOGs (massively-multiplayer online games) started a few years ago. Games like Modern Warfare or World of Warcraft, which have global communities of many thousands of players who live most of their time in these virtual worlds. But when these dynamics, thanks to cell phones and GPS, move into the city, will permit at least transformative changes, and as Seth Priebatsch said we are still at the beginning.
In this lecture-presentation of the platform SCVNGR, Seth says that if the previous decade was the decade of social, this will be the game’s decade. There is not a game infrastructure yet but it already exists for the social (whether we like it or not is facebook). In the lecture he encourages to create it because of its great potential and utility. It also describes 4 dynamics of game:
+ the appointment dynamics: a dynamic in which to succeed, one must returns at a predefined time to take a predefined action.
+ influence and status: the ability of one player to modify the behavior of another’s actions through social pressure.
+ progression dynamic: a dynamic which success is granularly displayed and measured through the process of completing itemized tasks.
+ communal discovery: a dynamic wherein an entire community is rallied to work together to solve a challenge.
There are several interesting examples that I would like to highlight, one of them is from 2001 and another one will start next week:
+ Can you see me now? (2001) is a project of a group of artists called Blast Theory in which is staged, in a hybrid form, the classic game of police and thieves. In this case the thief is at home in front of the computer and the police is on the street with a stange device (it was a long time ago) with GPS and a monitor displaying a map where he can see his position and the thieves. While the police is running around the city, the thief from his house, is moving an avatar with arrow keys trying to escape.
+ Getaway stockholm (2010) is an advertising campaign of Mini centered on a game located in the city of Stockholm. Through using a mobile application you sign in and start the game. On the screen you see your opponents located on the map and a flag with the name Mini, it is about to run to the flag and the first who is less than 50 meters closer will be done with it. At that time if any opponent comes closer than 50 meters to you, the flag will pass to the opponent. The participant who has the flag after an intensive week of game will win and as present they will give him a real Mini. Certainly, you can not lose cell phone connectivity, running out of battery or go out of the town.
Samples and references:
 Mission Impossible? | The pop-up city.
 SCVNGR | Seth Priebatsch.
 Economía política de los MMOGs (“massively-multiplayer online games”) | Juan Freire.
 Freeciv: otra de videojuegos (educativos), y ahora open source | Juan Freire.
 Can you see me now | Blast theory.
 Motivación, felicidad y Teoría de juegos para el auto-aprendiz online | el caparazón
 Persuasive games, the expressive power of videogames | Ian Bogost
 Personas como sensores; personas como actores (ponencia) | Fabien Girardin
 Una historia de la ciudad de software: arquitecturas dinamicas y sistemas digitales urbanos (ponencia) | Jose Luis de Vicente