Games for mobile platforms (phones and PDA) tend to be simple remakes or clones of gaming hits like Snake and Defender or in the case of high end-devices, Starcraft and Myst. Only a very small number of games use the unique properties of mobile computing. These location-based or mixed reality games represent a game form in its infancy, struggling to find functional gameplay models. Is it possible to create powerful immersive game experiences using the mobile platforms unique properties? How can technical limitations like limited display size, resolution and sound quality be made to work with the game instead of against it? What challenges face designers of games played on handheld devices in a real physical setting? Using the functional Visby Under prototype as a starting point this paper presents a novel approach to location- based mobile games. The mobile gamers presence in physical space, his ability to move though and interact with it, is seen as the central quality of the game-form. Using experiences from live-action-roleplaying design the paper explores the possibilities of using the real world as the primary user interface for deep mobile games. The device is used as the engine for story-progression and gameplay without breaking the illusion of the fiction, transforming everyday reality into an engaging multi-player game space.
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