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Ludic Mobilities: The Corporealities of Mobile Gaming

Richardson, I. (2010) Ludic Mobilities: The Corporealities of Mobile Gaming. Mobilities, 5 (4). pp. 431-447.

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Traditional critiques of computer and video games argue that the 'magic circle' defines the parameters of game-play, marking off a temporary world wherein particular game rules apply. In this view, to play a game means, materially or conceptually, 'entering' the magic circle of the game. Yet, increasingly, online multiplayer games, mobile location-based games (LBGs) and hybrid reality games (HRGs), erode the notion of a magic circle or dedicated game-space. In this paper I examine the hybrid ontologies and realities that typify networked and mobile location-based and hybrid reality games, exploring some of the phenomenological, embodied or somatic aspects of the practices and perceptions of 'mixed reality' gamers. A number of alternative corporeal and ontological metaphors for game worlds are proposed as substitutes for the magic circle, including the porous and organic cell membrane, the permeable window or frame, and the network. The composite, interconnected and dynamic ontology of the network trope, it is suggested, provides a more authentic figuration of the game environments specific to LBGs and HRGs, and also helps us to interpret the 'playful turn' in contemporary new media culture and the infiltration of a ludic sensibility into the mobilities and practices of everyday life.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright: © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
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