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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Andrew EisenPM - Yep, that's the one.03/06/2015 - 12:53am
TechnogeekBest case, it was some marketing douchebag who thought they could pander to both sides at once.03/06/2015 - 12:49am
TechnogeekAlso, this was the mistake tweet: http://i.imgur.com/4eLWNHx.jpg03/06/2015 - 12:48am
TechnogeekBecause nothing says "open, diverse gaming community" like buddying up with Breitbart.03/06/2015 - 12:47am
Papa MidnightAndrew Eisen, I believe this is the picture that you seek: http://i.imgur.com/Gdk60pa.jpg03/06/2015 - 12:30am
Papa MidnightSurely, Goth_Skunk, you say that in jest?03/06/2015 - 12:28am
prh99Craig R. Cause quite a few of them are not, they're bullies with different politics.03/06/2015 - 12:23am
MechaTama31What was the "mistake" tweet?03/06/2015 - 12:18am
MechaCrashWhatever you say, Goth.03/06/2015 - 12:02am
E. Zachary KnightGoth, they could have fooled me.03/05/2015 - 11:16pm
Goth_SkunkI don't understand. GamerGate supports an open, diverse gaming community for all as well. Google's statement is contradictory.03/05/2015 - 10:59pm
TechnogeekAnd as far as the Card thing went, I basically balanced it out personal guilt-wise by donating an amount equal to the Shadow Complex purchase price to the ACLU.03/05/2015 - 9:44pm
TechnogeekWelp, look like the Gerberghazi crowd is going to have to use Bing now. https://twitter.com/googlecloud/status/57365320825126093003/05/2015 - 9:42pm
Goth_SkunkAhh! I misinterpreted your statement about being left with almost every game in existence. I interpreted it as 'If you boycott games he's been involved with, you're boycotting almost all of them.'03/05/2015 - 9:31pm
Andrew EisenGoth - Card has been involved with only a small handful of games so if one were to boycott games for his involvement, they wouldn't be missing out on many games.03/05/2015 - 9:29pm
Goth_Skunk@Craig: Only if you're not interested in seeing it end.03/05/2015 - 9:27pm
Craig R.Instead of calling people the "anti gamergate faction", you could just call them "sane"03/05/2015 - 9:23pm
Goth_SkunkWhat do you mean 'almost every game in existence'? Card is a writer, not a game developer.03/05/2015 - 9:18pm
Andrew EisenBut I too wonder how many people who cry boycott actually follow through. I vaguely remember a few years ago a bunch of people boycotting one of the CoD games and were all found playing it on Steam.03/05/2015 - 7:53pm
Andrew EisenAn interesting quandary but not equivalent as boycotting games that Card was involved with leaves you with... well, almost every game in existence.03/05/2015 - 7:51pm
 

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