Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Location-Based Games and Place: A YouTube Playlist

On 26th August, I took part in the 2020 RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Twitter Conference.

This conference was organised after many academic events were postponed or cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning that postgraduate geographers have had limited opportunities to share and receive feedback on their work, as well as connecting with other scholars.

For this conference, participants were asked to present their research in 5 tweets. This meant not only adhering to the 280-character limit for each tweet, but also finding creative ways to demonstrate research findings using images, videos, GIFs, emojis, and more.       

As I’m approaching the final year of my PhD, when I’ll be writing up what I’ve found from the past couple of years of research, I thought that the most useful approach to this task would be to think through how I’ll be structuring my research findings in my thesis.

For my conference tweets, I decided to make three short videos (3-4 minutes each), outlining what I’ve learnt about the significance of location-based games for thinking about how people experience place in today’s digitally-mediated world. These draw on examples from my practice-based PhD fieldwork, for which I have been making and testing location-based games myself.

Each video focuses thematically on a particular set of research questions, design challenges and observations I have encountered during my research on location-based games, and connects to a substantive chapter of my thesis:

Interfacing Multiplicity: How can location-based games account for, and engage with, this diversity of embodied, discursive and material elements that make places meaningful? And how is this multiplicity, and the platforms used to interface it, experienced by players?

Bounding Contingency: How can developers of location-based games negotiate the limitations, specificities and contingencies that come with designing games set in physical locations? And how do players themselves negotiate these affordances; how does the playing of games set in physical locations enable people to engage with place in particular ways?

Structuring Feeling: How can we design location-based games that make the process of interacting with a place engaging, meaningful and evocative? What kinds of unique experiences and subjectivities might emerge from the gameplay?

I have now shared these videos as a playlist on YouTube called ‘Location-Based Games and Place’, which you can watch below.

Many thanks to the RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum team for designing such an innovative conference format and making it run so smoothly. It was inspiring to see a great variety of geographical research presented so creatively on Twitter. Thanks also to those who connected with me during the event by discussing our research and asking/answering questions.

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