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The Player as Author: Exploring the Effects of Mobile Gaming and the Location-Aware Interface on Storytelling
English Department, College of Liberal Arts, Washington State University, 202 Avery Hall, Pullman, WA 99164, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 November 2011; in revised form: 1 February 2012 / Accepted: 13 February 2012 / Published: 17 February 2012
Abstract: The mobile internet expands the immersive potential of storytelling by introducing electronic games powered by portable, location-aware interfaces. Mobile gaming has become the latest iteration in a decades-long evolution of electronic games that seek to empower the player not just as an avatar in a gameworld but also as a co-author of that gameworld, alongside the game’s original designers. Location-aware interfaces allow players to implicate places in the physical world as part of their gameworld (and vice versa) for the first time. In addition to empowering the player as a co-author in the process of constructing a compelling gameworld, then, mobile games eschew linear narrative structures in favor of a cooperative storytelling process that is reliant in part on the player’s experience of place. While such an author-player “worldmaking” approach to storytelling is not new, mobile games evolve the process beyond what has yet been possible within the technical and physical constraints of the traditional video gaming format. Location-aware interfaces allow mobile games to extend the worldmaking process beyond the screen and into the physical world, co-opting the player’s sensory experiences of real-world places as potential storytelling tools. In our essay, we theorize the unique storytelling potential of mobile games while describing our experience attempting to harness that potential through the design and implementation of our hybrid-reality game University of Death.
Keywords: mobile technologies; location-aware interfaces; hybrid-reality games; mobile games; video games; narratology; ludology; storytelling
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Bunting, B.S., Jr.; Hughes, J.; Hetland, T. The Player as Author: Exploring the Effects of Mobile Gaming and the Location-Aware Interface on Storytelling. Future Internet 2012, 4, 142-160.
Bunting BS, Jr, Hughes J, Hetland T. The Player as Author: Exploring the Effects of Mobile Gaming and the Location-Aware Interface on Storytelling. Future Internet. 2012; 4(1):142-160.
Bunting, Ben S., Jr.; Hughes, Jacob; Hetland, Tim. 2012. "The Player as Author: Exploring the Effects of Mobile Gaming and the Location-Aware Interface on Storytelling." Future Internet 4, no. 1: 142-160.