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The hybrid ontology of mobile gaming

Richardson, I. (2011) The hybrid ontology of mobile gaming. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 17 (4). pp. 419-430.

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This article examines the hybrid ontologies that typify networked and mobile location-based games, exploring some of the phenomenological, embodied or somatic aspects of the practices and perceptions of 'mixed reality' game-play. In particular, it focuses on the potential cultural and corporeal effects of mobile gaming since the introduction of the iPhone and subsequent touchscreens, and the specific technosomatic arrangements such devices demand in everyday life. Mobile media and game-play in both urban and domestic places evoke particular kinds of embodiment, indicative of emergent habitual and quotidian behaviours, gesturings, positionings and choreographies of the body, at times partially determined by the culture of the user, at others by the technical specificities and demands of the interface. Location-based mobile games and applications also modify our experience and perception of 'being online', and effectively disassemble the actual/virtual dichotomy of internet 'being' into a complex and dynamic range of modalities of presence. Finally, this article suggests that the kind of ontological and 'containment' metaphors we use to describe the space of screen-based game-play - in particular, the magic circle, and tropologies of the screen as a fixed window or frame - are ill-suited as descriptors for the complex layering of material and virtual contexts specific to mobile location-based and mixed reality gaming.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: International Council for Adult Education
Copyright: © The Author(s) 2011.
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