You Mean It’s Only a Game? Rule Structures, the Magic Circle, and Player Participation in Pervasive Mobile Gaming


  • Alison Harvey


As pervasive gaming becomes more common, the question of what boundaries and rituals make up play attains greater importance. While commonly-held conceptions of play formulate it as delineated, rigid, structured, and characterized by a stringent set of symbolic boundaries, pervasive mobile games push at the walls of the demarcated magic circle and, in the process of seeking multiple theoretical transgressions, pose questions about the implication of players and non-players in games that can mask their status as such. This paper prods the ethics of transgressing the player/non-player divide through the analysis of several pervasive games and the design frameworks of their creators.




Foundations and Frames