Mobile Games

Mobile Games

Ingrid Richardson (Murdoch University, Australia) and Larissa Hjorth (RMIT, Australia)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch097
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Abstract

This article provides a critical overview of mobile gaming, from discrete offline casual games to location-based, mixed reality, cross-platform, and urban games and, more recently, the array of downloadable playful and social applications for the touchscreen smartphone and handheld tablet or iPad. The discussion begins by casting mobile games as one of the most significant trajectories of an emerging app-based media ecology. The authors consider the way mobile gaming and play have become intrinsic to our everyday practices and challenge the distinction that is often made between casual and hardcore (or ‘real') gamers. The article then explores how location-based mobile games generate hybrid experiences of place and presence, requiring the player to integrate their own situated and embodied perception of the world with dynamic GPS-enabled information. Finally, the overview turns to the relation between mobile media and social media games—which include those mobile games and apps that embed social networking and sharing features into the game or games accessed and played through social networking services via a mobile device. On a broader scale—in terms of the impact of mobile games on our daily lives—the proliferation of mobile interfaces, games, and playful apps is playing a key role in what is termed the ‘lusory' or playful turn in culture.
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More Than Casual: The Rise Of App-Based Mobile Media Games

Until recently, mobile phone gaming has been largely dismissed as ‘casual’ – typically defined in terms of non-immersive shallow gameplay that is brief, interruptible and non-narrative. Yet just as the constitution of mobile gaming has evolved, expanded, and deepened, so too has the notion of casual play. Most notably, the proliferation of app-based ecologies across devices has extended the dimension of play, to include playful and creative activities, games across multiple genres, contexts and levels of haptic and temporal investment.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobile Application (APP): A software program downloadable onto a mobile device.

Casual Game: A game that allows intermittent or occasional play, often with low-level skills required.

Locative Media: Media content that contains information about geographic location; or, location-aware media interfaces.

Social Game: A game played through a social networking service, or a game that integrates social interaction (such as leaderboards, in-game chat).

Mobile Media: Media content (audio, image, video) captured with or shared through a mobile interface; or, a mobile device that enables the capture and sharing of media content.

Mobile game: A game played on a mobile device.

Game Studies: The disciplinary field that focuses on game design and the socio-cultural impact of games.

Smartphone: A mobile device that is web-capable and location-aware, often with a touchscreen and able to capture and share media content.

Social media: Media platforms that incorporate social networking (such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr).

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