What Games Can Change: Pervasive Gaming & Urban Subversion


I was invited to give a paper on pervasive games at the Centre for Media Research‘s seminar series at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland on the 16th of March. I had a great time chatting about pervasive games with some really interesting academics and designers. My gratitude to the University for the invite and to @alan_hook for putting me up and for some really useful feedback, comments, and inspiration for the future.

Here is the Prezi I presented with. I appreciate it won’t make much sense but should give an idea of the structure and theme of my paper. Below the Prezi is the synopsis of the talk.

If you’re not used to Prezi, navigate the presentation using your left and right arrow keys.


At a time when the act of console-centric digital gaming has become increasingly popular both as a legitimised past time and as a subject of theory, an apparently contradictory phenomenon is occurring. Designers and players alike are engaging with a distinct mode of play that has come to be termed ‘pervasive gaming’. Pervasive gaming is a form that, at least on the surface, is as much defined by its physical, non-digital elements as it is those aspects it shares with digital gaming.

Pervasive game designers have brought gameplay back into everyday urban spaces and, consequently, alter perceptions of those spaces, sometimes temporarily for the sole purpose of play, increasingly for achieving specific and permanent goals within communities. This paper explores pervasive games by defining the medium and situating it within a wider media context. It will also examine the social intentions of pervasive games through an analysis of case studies drawn from my own practice as well as from the work of other designers working within the field.

2 Responses to “What Games Can Change: Pervasive Gaming & Urban Subversion”

  1. 1 Laroqoud

    Bouncing around in that prezni really made me want to hear the actual lecture.

    • 2 veeuye

      Yeah… I’ll get round to posting the notes at some point.

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