This past week I submitted the camera-ready version of an accepted paper, "Smart Magic City Run: Exploring the Implications of Public Augmented Reality Games". The paper is written together with two fellow CESC researchers (Tina Ringenson, Miriam Rivera Börjesson) and four (ex-)students of mine (Lisa Schmitz, Maria Krinaki, Nino Prekratic and Björn Lundkvist).
The paper is based on a student project, "Magic Run", from the project course "Future of Media" that was ended before Christmas. Eleven student groups worked with the theme "The Future of Computer Games" and these particular students' project was very interesting. Also, it perfectly fit a call for papers to a workshop on "Playable Cities: The City as a Digital Playground" that I came across a few months ago. This is part of the call for papers:
"[The] notion of ‘making cities playable’ was introduced some years ago [...]. Originally it was meant to distinguish playable cities from smart cities, where smartness is identified with intelligent and efficient city management. This is contrasted with playfulness that can become part of an urban environment through the use of new and advanced information and communication technology."
"There is a lot of talk about ”smart” (intelligent, efficient) cities, but what about games, play and leisure in the ”smart city”? I propose a lovechild between the Future of Media project group ”Magic Run” and (some of) my smart smart city researcher-colleagues. [...] I’m the midwife.
In short, I’d like to float the idea that we (some of us) write a short research paper (4 pages) together which marries the super-fun ”Magic Run” concept to some more theoretical musings about the smart-city-implications of such an idea. To explore if this project has legs, I propose a one-hour brainstorming session together."
Those who later became co-authors of the paper met up for two brainstorming sessions and based on this we wrote up short paper that we submitted in the beginning of April. The reviewers liked our submission but had a variety of suggestions for how to improve the paper. I was hard to reconcile their suggestions with keeping the paper as short as was requested so we got permission to extended the paper to 7 pages (with references) and we submitted the final version at the end of May. The paper will be published as part of the conference proceedings which will be published by Springer and here's what the paper is about:
Smart Magic City Run: Exploring the Implications of Public Augmented Reality GamesDaniel Pargman, Tina Ringenson, Miriam Börjesson Rivera, Lisa Schmitz, Maria Krinaki, Nino Prekratic and Björn Lundkvist.
Abstract.This paper presents an augmented reality smart city gaming concept, Magic Run. Magic Run has entertainment value and fulfills its’ original brief, but several aspects of the game were found to be problematic during a workshop with smart city researchers. We present problematic aspects of the game as well as ideas for how to redesign the game to control or ameliorate problematic interaction between future smart city players and bystanders.
4 Redesign and outcome
If Magic Run and similar games potentially endanger the lives of its users, we urgently need to discuss possible changes in the design of the game. We will briefly discuss three avenues of thought to that effect, the first being aimed at increasing the security of bystanders, the second at increasing the safety of players and the third discussing emergent norms that mediate between bystanders and players.