Mobile and networked technologies coupled with children’s popular culture are spawning new genres and blends of play and games that challenge the way we understand games and game design. This article presents our efforts toward understanding how children’s play is changing, and how we can design pervasive computing systems that empower and engage children, especially tween girls (7- to 12-year-olds), to create and manipulate game-like social activities. The purpose is to use the somewhat formalized model of habitats. We use habitats in two ways: directly as an analytical tool to describe games, and indirectly as a structuring principle for the designof our early prototype of a “social construction kit,” DARE!. The outcome is (1) a simple set of concepts and diagram notations for analyzing play and games, and (2) a very simple “language” that allows children to construct playful pervasive computing activities themselves, involving their friends and other people and things in their environment. The intended audience is academics and game designers who wish to take both a theoretical and practical approach to formalizing observations into models and tools. Although our focus is on tweens, the overall perspective is general in nature.
Journal of Game Development, 2006, Vol 2, Issue 1, p. 11-30
game genres and models; tweens; mobile gaming; pervasive gaming; activity-based design; Computer-Supported Cooperative Play