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Title: Playing with reality : a technocultural ethnography of pervasive gaming
Author: Dixon, Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 1235
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2018
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Pervasive games are an experimental game design practice that engages with technology development and everyday space. These experiences range from technology experiments to avant-garde performances to explorative urban play. This PhD is an ethnographic exploration of two questions. First, how does the technocultural situation shape the history and future of pervasive games? Secondly, how does this technocultural situation shape and affect the enactment (the design, play and performance) and the core experience? This thesis is comprised of ethnographic research carried out at pervasive gaming festivals, analysis of games and interviews with designers, artists and technologists working in the field. It reflects a historical situation in an emerging and dynamic field of practice. The work develops a set of methods that uses the concepts of liminality, materiality and practice to inform an assemblage of data gathering and analysis techniques that are specifically intended to engage with new technocultural forms. This is intended to deliver an understanding of these forms in a wider cultural relationships as well as give insight into how they are experienced. It uncovers a framework of tensions that explain the underlying nature of the play experience and design of pervasive games. This research uncovers overlooked aspects of the practice of pervasive gaming. Firstly the ways in which the social and cultural background of the players and designers moulds the form, content and meta-narrative of these games. Secondly that the overlooked, and often unexpected or invisible, materiality of these games shapes the ways in which they have developed. The often unconsidered physical materials of the games take on rich and vital meanings through design and play. The relationship between designer and the mesh of object agencies have led the practice in unexpected directions and charted a trajectory away from technology experiment and into experience design exploration. It is in this wider context of the design of experiences that the practice will have the longest-term impact.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ethnography ; Technoculture ; Games ; Cultural Studies ; Design Studies ; Material ; Liminality ; Practice