David Antognoli

Game developer and educator

Reconceptualizing Video Games for Community Spaces

This is a chapter I wrote for the edited book Augmented and Mixed Reality for Communities.

The chapter is a call to action for more video games in community spaces. Experiencing art in a community context changes the character of the experience in terms of presence, discovery, and enchantment. Video games, an interactive media art, are perhaps the most dominant form of art happening today; yet, compared to other art forms, video game experiences in community spaces are few and far between. Technical challenges and stifling economic forces commanding the game industry and game culture provide explanations for this scenario. These forces have shaped a limited conception of video games that widely dictates the types of games that are developed as well as how and where players consume them.

However, while modern mainstream commercial games have largely evolved into a form unsuitable for community spaces, there exists historical and current design paradigms for video games intended for such spaces. In particular, the burgeoning medium of augmented reality (AR) fits naturally within community spaces, as demonstrated by mainstream examples such as Snapchat ART and Pokémon GO. Design patterns and formal elements that are better suited for community spaces emerge through an examination of the properties of access and attraction in the home video game, arcade cabinet, bar trivia, and AR experience formats. By uncovering the possibilities of video games in community spaces, the chapter raises awareness of a broader conception of video games and urges game developers toward applying their craft in more community spaces.

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