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Expanding the Magic Circle in Pervasive Casual Play
In this document we present proposals for merging the fictional game world with the real world taking into account the profile of casual players. To merge games with reality we resorted to the creation of games that explore di- verse real world elements. We focused on sound, video, physiological data, ac- celerometer data, weather and location. We made the choice for these real world elements because data, about those elements, can be acquired making use of functionality already available, or foreseen in the near future, in devices like computers or mobile phones, thus fitting the profile of casual players who are usually not willing to invest in expensive or specialized hardware just for the sake of playing a game. By resorting to real world elements, the screen is no longer the only focus of the player’s attention because reality also influences the outcome of the game. Here, we describe how the insertion of real world elements affected the role of the screen as the primary focus of the player’s attention. Games happen inside a magic circle that spatially and temporally delimits the game from the ordinary world. J. Huizinga, the inventor of the magic circle concept, also leaves implicit a social demarcation, separating who is playing the game from who is not playing the game . In this document, we show how the insertion of real world elements blurred the spatial, temporal and social limits, in our games. Through this fusion with the ordinary world, the fictional game world integrates with reality, instead of being isolated from it. We also present an analysis about integration with the real world and context data in casual entertainment.
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