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Understanding situated action in ludic ecologies

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ACM Press


In order to understand the social mechanics of alternate reality games, this paper presents a situated action analysis of one game, "I Love Bees". We examine the action traces found within the ILB forum accounts around teamwork and puzzle solving. The playful assemblages demonstrate that the presence or absence of certain non-human actants has a definite impact on each "ludic ecology," and that each impact is contextually specific. We found that the careful design of in-game challenges by the game designers worked differently in practice because of the impact of unconsidered non-human actants. In response, players formed teams and adopted technologies to overcome their specific temporal, spatial and organizational constraints. Therefore, designers need to provide appropriate sociotechnical infrastructure to support player needs, and nonhuman actants should be considered when studying and designing hybrid digital/physical environments.


Young, Alyson L.; Peyton, Tamara; Lutters, Wayne G. (2013): Understanding situated action in ludic ecologies. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Communities and Technologies - C&T '13. DOI: 10.1145/2482991.2483000. ACM Press. pp. 100-109. Full Papers. Munich, Germany. June 29 - July 02, 2013