Game Attempts to Bring Fun to High Security Environments

April 19, 2010 -

A new game, designed to “explore the limits of pervasive gaming,” takes place in real airports and prompts players to plant drugs on other travelers in a bid to get the contraband through security.

Blowtooth is the work of the UK-based Lincoln Social Computer Research Center and relax, the drugs are virtual, though the airport security forces a user is trying to dupe are real. The game operates like this: once in an airport—and before passing through security—a user fires up the Blowtooth application on their smart phone. The application will scan the nearby vicinity for Bluetooth devices, allowing the player to “conceptually dump or retrieve contraband,” on other people’s devices.

The goal is to then retrieve the “contraband” on the other side of security, with points being awarded for how many “couriers” "drugs" can be retrieved from and how fast the roundup was. The “couriers” or “mules” remain blissfully unaware of their involvement in the game.

Why were airports selected as the basis for their game? “… airports have been described as constituting the most authoritarian facility designed for the use of free civilians, an authoritative structure rivaled only by army bases and maximumsecurity prisons.”

The creators argue that most pervasive games are simply used to enhance the “bland or boring” real-world environment of game players. This game attempts just the opposite, taking a place that already generates “tension and anxiety,” and adding a gameplay mechanic to it.

The developers conducted a study of six people who played Blowtooth and found that it “provoked participants to think more critically about both the nature of airports, and the idea of playing games in high security environments.”

These results caused the developers to write:

This is an exciting finding, as it suggests that the process of carefully creating pervasive game tasks that take advantage of the unique and challenging elements of “taboo” environments in which they are played creates the possibility to construct engaging, thought-provoking critical games about those environments.

Blowtooth, unfortunately, only works on mobile phones that support Java and Bluetooth, such as Nokia Series 60 devices. An Android version is said to be in the works, but iPhone users are out of luck as Apple does not allow applications to access the iPhone’s Bluetooth capabilities.


Comments

Re: Game Attempts to Bring Fun to High Security Environments

Look at the top users list. There are only like 6 of them. Only 6 people have played the game, ever.

Re: Game Attempts to Bring Fun to High Security Environments

Brand new indy games tend to have that sort of number on launch. Want to bet they'll stay that way? :P (I know I'd love to play this game)

 

Best keep your wits about you: The gears of life are always spinning, and ignorance eventually means you'll get caught in them.

Best keep your wits about you: The gears of life are always spinning, and ignorance eventually means you'll get caught in them.

Re: Game Attempts to Bring Fun to High Security Environments

This is kind of funny in that the 2600 Quarterly had an article on Bluetooth this issue that talked about its lack of security. I hope they can do more like this in the future, like a Bluetooth social network.

 
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MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
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MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
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Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
 

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