RSE10 Video: Kars Alfrink on Transmutation

23 Jun 2010 - 9:24am
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Kars Alfrink presented at Raum Schiff Erde in February 2010.

The talk¹s title -- Transmutation -- refers to alchemists¹ quest to turn lead into gold, which sometimes feels similar to what we¹re trying to do with pervasive games in public urban places.1 To summarize: I start by talking about the fact that games are essentially useless, and that this means applied game design should look for useful results in second order effects. I argue that the contribution of urban games lies primarily in the increased diversity of use of our streets, which is a good thing in itself. I talk about the care designers need to take with the games they deploy, since not everyone is looking to play and we should respect that. Playing games is a voluntary thing by definition. Towards the end I go into different strategies for using games to increase systemic awareness using several games as examples. I wrap up with a look at reward systems we commonly find in games like Foursquare, which now serves as templates for a lot of work in this area. I feel that this leads people away from what game design is about in the first place: creating interesting activities.

His talk is now online at

enjoy Matthias

-- User Experience and Interaction Design ::

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