A Real Little Game : The Performance of Belief in Pervasive Play

  • Mcgonigal J
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Abstract

Ubiquitous computing and mobile network technologies have fueled a recent proliferation of opportunities for digitally-enabled play in everyday spaces. In this paper, I examine how players negotiate the boundary between these pervasive games and real life. the desire for a game to be transformed into real life, or conversely, for everyday life to be transformed into a "real little game. I trace the emergence of what I call the Pinocchio effect Focusing on two examples of pervasive play the 2001 immersive game known as the Beast, and the Go Game, an ongoing urban superhero game I argue that gamers maximize their play experience by performing belief, rather than actually believing, in the permeability of the game-reality boundary.

Author-supplied keywords

  • gaming reality
  • immersive games
  • performance studies
  • pervasive play

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Authors

  • Jane Mcgonigal

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