WK 8 Digital Urban Gaming

Digital Technology is no longer easy to contain. The mobilization of this technology means that the user can interact with the virtual world anywhere giving us the opportunity to experience existing spaces differently. As the technology weaves through our cities these spaces become smart spaces. Foth et al defines the smart cities as spaces that take advantage of cloud computing and broadband connectivity to gather big data. Apps developed to interact with these spaces often use sensor networks and urban interfaces to impact on the users environment. Foth et al describes implementation of the structure as a “Top down” (2016. Pg.3) approach as data is stored on the information gathered for corporate use . Foth et al goes onto describe how the user interacts and engages with the technology as a ‘bottom up’ approach.

Using this type of technology to interact with gameplay has seen the launch of the gaming phenomenon Pokemon Go last summer. I interviewed an 18-year-old Fine Art student about his experience of using the app. He explained that he used the app when babysitting to allow those he was looking after to interact with their immediate environment creating a whole new universe. Foth et al highlighted that this type of gameplay had a positive experience on it users that “develop a platform for inspiring playfully motivation in players to reconnect with their environment” (Foth et al, 2016. Pg. 17).

While Hjorth and Richrdson agreed that the interactivity of the game with the users immediate environment was positive. There were elements of the game that “from productive social dimensions…to the darker debates around isolation, safety, surveillance and risk.” (Hjorth and Richardson, 2017. Pg. 4). This was an element bought up by the fine art student who thought that engagement with the game meant that you would not always be aware of your surroundings and this could endanger the user who’s focus on the screen would mean that they were not aware of potential hazards.

Bibliography

Foth, M. Hudson-Smith, A. and Gifford, D. (2016). Smart Cites Social Capital, and Citizens at Play: A Critique and a Way Forward. In Research Handbook on Digital transformations. Cheltenham. Edward Elgar Publishing, pp 203-221

Hjorth, L. and Richardson, I. (2017). Pokémon GO: Mobile media play, place-making, and the digital wayfarer. Mobile Media & Communication, 5(1), pp.3-14.

 

1 thought on “WK 8 Digital Urban Gaming

  1. Foth states that urban digital gaming inspires players to “reconnect with their environment” (Foth et al, 2016: 17). However, there is an interesting dialectic of exploitation and empowerment in Pokemon Go. (Hjorth and Richardson, 2016: 10). Positively, players can explore their urban environment and collaborate with other players. However, negative repercussions include breaches in the data security and private information.
    Natalie describes her Pokemon Go playing interviewee as focusing on the game playing on his smartphone, rather than being aware of potential hazards (Garner, 2017). This links with De Souza’s theory that we live in a “visual screen culture,” (De Souza e Silva and Sutko, 2009:1-15) where we are so engrossed in our screens that we can bump into other pedestrians.

    Bibliography:
    De Souza e Silva, A. and Sutko, D. M (eds). 2009. Digiital Cityscapes: Merging Digital and Urban Playscapes. New York: Peter Lang. Pp. 1-15.

    Foth, M. Hudson-Smith, A. and Gifford, D. (2016). Smart Cites Social Capital, and Citizens at Play: A Critique and a Way Forward. In Research Handbook on Digital transformations. Cheltenham. Edward Elgar Publishing, pp 203-221.

    Garner, N. 2017. Wk 8 Digital Urban Gaming. Digital Cities Blog. Available: http://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/digitalcities/2017/03/27/wk-8-digital-urban-gaming/

    Hjorth, L. and Richardson, I. 2017. Pokémon GO: Mobile media play, place-making, and the digital wayfarer. Mobile Media & Communication, 5(1). Pp.10.

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