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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IronPatriotIt's so hiarlious to see a cabal created for harrassment now whining about a "cabal" being "offensive" to their delicate sensibilities. LOL!08/01/2015 - 9:19am
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TechnogeekI tried getting into TERA a few times, but the fun of the gameplay can't quite overwhelm the extremely creepy vibe I get from 99% of the people who play Elin.08/01/2015 - 8:51am
ZippyDSMleeUnless I can cusmtize power sets and more I avoid MMO's.08/01/2015 - 8:01am
MattsworknameI dont play mmos, never could get into them08/01/2015 - 7:24am
Goth_SkunkLike most MMOs, TERA *really* starts at the end-game. The majority of players have reached the level cap, and new players have a hard time finding others around their level to party up with.08/01/2015 - 4:49am
MattsworknameAndrew: Im not sure Im the one to be explainging this really, Im not sure im articulating it right07/31/2015 - 9:20pm
Big PermI got to around 30 in tera before giving up. I liked my sorc, but I need better motivation to grind07/31/2015 - 9:14pm
Andrew EisenAh TERA. I made a video about TERA censorship. One of my more popular ones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO26h9etTbw07/31/2015 - 8:52pm
Goth_SkunkI've been playing TERA all day. Just took a break to barbecue some chicken. :3 And Andrew: I'm using Cabal to suggest a group of people secretly united in some private views or interests within a community.07/31/2015 - 8:50pm
Andrew EisenI'd love to but I'm at work. But once I get home... I'm going to work out for a while. But after THAT... I'm going to shower. Then eat. Then prep tomorrow's meals. And THEN play video games! YEAH!!!07/31/2015 - 8:38pm
Big Permlol, ya'll are still going back and forth? Take a break and play some video games07/31/2015 - 8:37pm
Andrew EisenGoth - Are you using "cabal" to describe a group of writers or to suggest they all worked together in secret to publish those articles?07/31/2015 - 8:30pm
Andrew EisenMatt - That doesn't disprove the general premise of the various articles as that's not what they're about. Unless, again, he's talking about a different batch of articles.07/31/2015 - 8:28pm
Goth_SkunkThe difference between one voice being offensive and a cabal being offensive.07/31/2015 - 8:22pm
MechaCrashFunny how "you're offended, so what" flips into "we're offended, retract everything and apologize."07/31/2015 - 8:18pm
MattsworknameIts not the only argument he points out ,its just one of them07/31/2015 - 8:06pm
Mattsworknameidea that Gamers as the articel puts it, the "White male sterotype are dead, essentially was compltely false07/31/2015 - 8:03pm
MattsworknameThe video actually shows that the shaw study actually disproves the Premise of the artices by showing that the "Gamer" dentity, has no actual meaning to thsoe who use it other then "I play games", its not connected to race, gender, or orientation. So the07/31/2015 - 8:01pm
Andrew EisenWith the exception of a brief mention in Golding's Tumbr post. Even so, he's talking about gamer identity, not desire for diversity in gaming.07/31/2015 - 7:50pm
 

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