Thomas Dreher writes an interesting, piece on Pervasive Games: Interfaces, Strategies and Moves on a German website IASL Online. Since it’s not published in a conference, a book or a journal, I figured it could perhaps use the little publicity we can give it here — it’s been out in English since October 2008, but I found it only last week. Also, he takes a few punches at our direction, which makes me all the happier to blog about it!
Basically, he argues that we should drop concepts like magic circle and immersion, as they do not properly apply to openness of pervasive games:
The theories on pervasive games by Montola, McGonigal and Brown omit some central aspects because first they follow the integration of ethnological play research in theories on computer games and second they modify these theories of closed game systems for games in surroundings. My central thesis is: Abandonment of the confines caused by the reuse of game research concepts based on the “magic circle”.
He’s perhaps a little more understanding towards the writings of Eva Nieuwdorp and Bo Kampmann Walther, but he argues that the current concepts should be dropped; instead, we should investigate interfaces instead:
All presented theories on pervasive games hark back to theories developed for plays and computer games. Either the authors have not been able until today to fulfill the aim of a sufficiently broad theory adequate for different kinds of pervasive games, or the problem has to be found in the procedure of adaptation causing the loss of important aspects. The interface model offers a restart.
He proposes a three-part analytical tool, consisting of a world-interface, a game-interface and a game-oriented world interface, which should explain pervasive games from the perspective of mediating players’ bodily and cognitive perceptions of the world with their perceptions of the game.