Pervasive games and mobile distributed group work
In their paper entitled "New uses for mobile pervasive games - Lessons learned for CSCW systems to support collaboration in vast work sites", Matthew Chalmers and Oskar Juhli discusses how such games could be of benefit to conduct research about mobile and distributed work (e.g. infrastructure management at airports and road inspection, as well as public bus transportation). From what I can tell, it's a sort of longer development on their previous workshop paper "New uses for mobile pervasive games"from the Computer Games & CSCW Workshop at ECSCW'05. They take on the analogy of space and place issues in both domains (pervasive gaming and mobile distributed group work), more especially concerning the focus on the geography both as a topic and a resource in the work. They then show how different pervasive game they worked on (Treasure, Road Rager, Backseat gaming, Castles) as well as the results from user studies can give fruitful information:
"we suggest that there are valuable lessons to be gained from research into games in which players create their forms of play subject to the rules of the game, the technology they use and the wider social and environmental situation. We see strong and useful parallels with the situation of workers who create their work within organisational rules but also within their wider technical, social and environmental setting. "
Why do I blog this? This was the approach we also adopted in CatchBob during my PhD thesis work. What I find important today is that beyond the current serious game trend, there are more and more initiatives that try to employ games as platform to do other things than playing. The paper above is an example but thing such as Superstruct, i.e. the use of ARG as a foresight tool, is another interesting sign.