Posted by: Montola | September 14, 2009

Review #5: Gerdes

Claudia Gerdes reviews Pervasive Games for a new German magazine Weave. Don’t know much about the reviewer or the magazine, but the keywords in the magazine cover are interactive design, konzeption and development. Stories range from iPhone apps to Flash tutorials and toy hacking. She writes:

Bereits ein Klassiker ist “The Beast”, in dessen Geschehen die Mitspieler per Telefon, Fax, Web oder durch mysteriöse Zeitungsannoncen verwickelt wurden. Oder “BotFighters” — ebenfalls aus 2001-, wo man die Rolle eines Kampfroboters annimmt, der von anderen per GPS lokalisiert und mit dem Handy angegriffen wird.

Vergnügungen wie diese haben gemeinsam, dass sie die Grenzen von Brett- oder Computerspiel durchbrechen und sich ins wahre Leben ausweiten. Geläufiger als Pervasive Games (von lateinisch pervadere: durchdringen) dürften manchen die Begriffe Mixed Reality oder Alternate Reality Games sein. Letztere sind eine Untergattung der pervasiven Spiele, bei denen es stärker ums kollektive Lösen komplexer Rätsel als um Wettkampf geht. Das alles und noch viel mehr vermittelt dieses Buch, das Theorie, praktische Realisierung sowie politische und ethische Implikationen der Spiele behandelt. Womöglich ein neues Standardwerk — und manche behaupten, die urbanen Abenteuerspiele würden die ultimative Spielform des 21. Jahrhunderts.

My German is rusty beyond belief, but “Womöglich ein neues Standardwerk” sounds good enough to me!

Translate with Google/Babelfish.

Earlier reviews: Holter, Noyons, Pettersson, Harviainen.


  1. Google is actually not that bad, here is my attempt:

    “Already a classic is “The Beast” which got players involved by phone, fax, web or via mysterious newspaper ads. Or “BotFighters” – as well from 2001 – where you take on the role of a battle robot, which others can find via GPS and then attack with the help of their cell phone.

    Entertaining activities like these have in common that they break the boundaries of board and computer games and extent into real life. Probably better known than Pervasive Games (from Latin pervadere: to pass through) to some might be terms like Mixed Reality or Alternate Reality Games. The latter are a subgroup of pervasive games where the focus lies more on solving complex riddles collectively than on competition. All of this and much more is covered in this book which deals with theory, practical realization as well as political and ethical implications of the games. Perhaps a new standard work – and some claim urban adventure games will become the ultimate form of gaming in the 21st century.”

  2. I finally managed to start reading it on saturday and so far I´m impressed. You really managed to summarize & compile the important aspects. Some chapters will be mandatory for my students next semester.

  3. Richard,

    Thank you for the proper translation! After all, this was our first non-Amazon review!


    Thank you for the compliments. May I ask what’s your teaching position and where? :-) We are using some chapters already on our course on role-playing research in University of Tampere with Jaakko — we’ll have our students read the ethics chapter as pervasive role-playing is one part of the lecture series.

    – Markus

  4. […] reviews: Gerdes, Holter, Noyons, Pettersson, […]

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