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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E. Zachary KnightGot that same recommendation on Twitter. So I guess that is a good sign.09/15/2014 - 8:39pm
prh99Portlandia, though I don't watch a lot of sitcoms. Heard it was good though.09/15/2014 - 8:02pm
E. Zachary KnightSitcom recommendations for someone who like Parks and Rec but hates The Office: Go.09/15/2014 - 6:08pm
NeenekoEven if they do change their policy, they can only do it moving forward and I could see the mod/pack community simply branching.09/15/2014 - 12:50pm
Michael ChandraAs for take the money and run, the guy must have a networth of 8~9 digits already.09/15/2014 - 10:33am
Michael ChandraMe, I'm more betting on some form of mod API where servers must run donations/payments through them and they take a cut.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraEspecially since they want it for promoting their phones. Killing user interest is the dumbest move to make.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraGiven how the EULA actively allows for LPs, I'm not sure Microsoft is ready for the backlash of disallowing that.09/15/2014 - 10:31am
Matthew Wilsonthey wont do that, the backlash would be too big.09/15/2014 - 10:25am
ConsterSleaker: how is that a flipside? Sounds to me like that's basically what Notch himself said, except rudely.09/15/2014 - 10:18am
MaskedPixelanteOn the plus side, no more lazy Minecraft LPs, since iirc Microsoft has a strict "no monetization period" policy when it comes to their stuff.09/15/2014 - 10:13am
james_fudgeBut it continues to sell on every platform it is on, so there's that09/15/2014 - 10:09am
james_fudgeOh, well that's another matter :)09/15/2014 - 10:08am
E. Zachary KnightNothing against Notch here. I think it is great that he made something so cool. I just can't understand how it is worth $2.5 bil09/15/2014 - 9:59am
InfophileWhat a world we live in: Becoming a billionaire was the easy way out for Notch.09/15/2014 - 9:42am
james_fudgelots of hate for Notch here. I don't get it. Sorry he made a game everyone loved. What a monster he is!09/15/2014 - 9:37am
SleakerOn the flipside, Notch has been a horrible CEO for Mojang, and the company has grown on sheer inertia, DESPITE being mishandled over and over.09/15/2014 - 9:33am
SleakerI can understand Notch's statements he made to Kotaku about growing bigger than he intended, and getting hate for EULA changes he didn't enact.09/15/2014 - 9:32am
MaskedPixelantehttp://pastebin.com/n1qTeikM Notch's statement about the MS acquisition. He wanted out for a long time and this was the easiest way.09/15/2014 - 9:08am
ConsterEh, I can't blame him.09/15/2014 - 9:01am
 

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