GCG Feature: 'Soapbox: The Appeal of the Real'

In this latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, Technical University Braunschweig and the Br...
In this latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, Technical University Braunschweig and the Braunschweig University of Art's Arjan Dhupia discusses the current state and possible future of location-based gaming. In the following excerpt, Dhupia discusses some of the mystique and fascination surrounding location-based games, a genre that, despite its relative age, is still viewed as something of a “freak show”: "Location-based games have been around for a while now and yet few of us have actually gotten our hands on them. Why is that? It seems as if the game industry still views location-based gaming with a profound mixture of fascination and fear. A few years ago, game experiments with location awareness technology popped out from universities around the globe. Then came a bunch of savvy business men hastily trying to get a piece of the promising market with the first commercial cellphone games like Botfighters or Gunslingers. In these early adaptations of location-based gaming, players used their mobiles to play Massive Multiplayer Games out on the real streets. The game would use the cellphone network or GPS to locate the player's position in real space, allowing them to identify opponents within their range. Most of these first wave location-based games were based on JAVA, resulting in rather simple gameplay and poor graphics. Ever since, this new game genre has been handed around like an oddity for carnivalesque inspection. To the game industry, location-based games still seem to be some kind of "freak show." While fascination with this form of gaming is strong, real insights in the genre are still slow to come. While we might all agree that a third arm would be a great thing to have, members of the audience (game designers and businessmen alike) continue to quietly ask themselves: "How are we gonna use it exactly?" " You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature to learn more from Dhupia concerning the emerging popularity of the gaming element (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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