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AEQUILIBRIUM. LOCATION BASED ENTERTAINMENT AND TRANSMEDIA FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE

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Aequilibrium -Te last guardian of Leonardo is an ARG (Alternate Reality Game) designed to experiment with creative solutions for cultural heritage. It is a transmedia and location-based experience that engages players in an adventure that blurs the boundaries between reality and fction, digital and physical spaces, fctional characters and real people from the local community. Aequilibrium ofers useful insights for those who are interested in digital and interactive media and their relationship with physical space, especially in relation to the theme of engagement in the new augmented spaces (Manovich: 2006) and hyperconnected places (De Souza: 2011; Farman: 2012). Starting from the analysis of the Aequilibrium project and the experience of the players, this article elaborates on some of the dimensions needed to understand how games and transmedia strategies may be employed in the creation of digital engagement in new hyper mediated habitats (Bolter, Grusin: 2002). Furthermore the article focuses on how the game promotes participation in the narrative construction of experience, through cultural activators able to foster collaboration, collective intelligence and creative grassroots production.
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AEQUILIBRIUM.
LOCATION BASED ENTERTAINMENT AND TRANSMEDIA FOR CULTURAL
HERITAGE
GIULIA BERTONE, DOMENICO MORREALE
DIST - Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies And Planning, Politecnico Di Torino
giulia.bertone@polito.it
Dipartimento di studi sociologici e psicopedagogici - Facoltà di Lettere Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi
d.morreale@unimarconi.it
Abstract
Aequilibrium - e last guardian of Leonardo is an ARG (Alternate Reality Game) designed to experiment with creative
solutions for cultural heritage. It is a transmedia and location-based experience that engages players in an adventure that
blurs the boundaries between reality and ction, digital and physical spaces, ctional characters and real people from the
local community. Aequilibrium oers useful insights for those who are interested in digital and interactive media and
their relationship with physical space, especially in relation to the theme of engagement in the new augmented spaces
(Manovich: 2006) and hyperconnected places (De Souza: 2011; Farman: 2012). Starting from the analysis of the
Aequilibrium project and the experience of the players, this article elaborates on some of the dimensions needed to
understand how games and transmedia strategies may be employed in the creation of digital engagement in new hyper
mediated habitats (Bolter, Grusin: 2002). Furthermore the article focuses on how the game promotes participation in
the narrative construction of experience, through cultural activators able to foster collaboration, collective intelligence
and creative grassroots production.
Keywords
Alternate Reality Game, Cultural Heritage, Locative Media, Transmedia Storytelling
Introduction
Aequilibrium is an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), which exploits locative and transmedia communication
strategies for creating an immersive experience to promote a cultural brand, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, and
cultural resources of an area, Lomellina, Lombardy (Italy), and its cultural institutions. e project is part of
the "We Art Technology - Youth and cross-media" initiative, that aims at promoting digital creativity,
involving young people in creative activities and games supported by digital media. "Youth and cross-media"
is promoted and supported by the Italian Ministry of Youth and the National Association of Italian
Municipalities, involving the City of Vigevano, the municipality of Mortara (PV), the municipality of
Formigine (MO), AST - Consortium for Territorial Development and the association for free software
LUG Ducale (Vigevano - PV). e project will end in December 2013. e activities triggered by the
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project are carried out in close collaboration with LeoHub, a research center on Digital Heritage at the
Castello Sforzesco in Vigevano and Politecnico di Torino - degree in "Cinema and media engineering”. e
project aims at experimenting innovative formats for the involvement of young people, based on the potential
of game, video and social networks and physical interaction with the city and the territory through network
devices and location-based mobile devices.
The transmedia design of Aequilibrium
Aequilibrium is a transmedia project, a narrative that unfolds through dierent media, both online and oine,
in which each medium adds an independent contribution to the narrative. Transmedia is the framework for
the creation of a universe that includes historical and geographical elements mixed with ctional characters
and situations that encourages users to actively explore contents, in a game that comes in part online and
partly in the territory. Aequilibrium is an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), namely, according to Je Watson
(“ARG 2.0” posted in Henry Jenkins’s blog on July 7, 2010), who quotes and revise the denition of the
White Paper of the International Game Developers Association, Special Interest Group on ARG (available
online at http://archives.igda.org/arg/resources/IGDA-AlternateRealityGames-Whitepaper-2006.pdf), a
“form of interactive transmedia storytelling that [takes] the substance of everyday life and [weaves] it into
narratives that layer additional meaning, depth, and interaction upon the real world. In an ARG, players
discover the game through an encounter with one or more access points embedded in real world contexts.
ese access points, known in the parlance of ARGs as “rabbit holes,” lead players into a dynamic matrix of
story components distributed across various kinds of digital and physical media” (Watson: 2010).
e decision to use an ARG as a strategy of engagement capable of stimulating audience to a better
understanding of local areas and cultural heritage, derives from the characteristic of the transmedia
storytelling to immerse the audience in an explorable ctional universe and activate the audience through
game dynamics in which several elements function as "cultural activators" ( Jenkins: 2006). Cultural activators
are objects that invite users to actively decoding them, oering incomplete information and suggesting for
actions and rewards, through which to increase the knowledge of the ctional universe and complete the
reconstruction of the narrative. e story of Aequilibrium spreads across hundreds of years. e following
abstract is useful to understand how the storytelling has been distributed through dierent platforms and
dierent media, so to engage the user in a detection aimed to reconstruct the story. At the end of 1400, while
studying natural disasters, Leonardo Da Vinci comes into contact with Xianshi, a secret society that owns a
powerful device that, by manipulating water, is able to create huge natural disasters in specic areas of a
territory. Leonardo settled for a few years in Lomellina and during his stay at the Sforzesca, near Vigevano,
gave birth to the Ordo Aequilibri, an order of guardians who had the task of protecting him in his studies
and to carry on his battle against Xianshi. Leonardo designed a hydraulic machine, activated by a variable
number of Chalices of Aequilibrium that contain a quantity of water known only by their Cornerstones
Keepers. e Ordo Aequilibri has played a key role in the defeat of Nazism. In France thanks to France libre,
and in Italy thanks to Giovanni Sacchi, the penultimate guardian. After the war Giovanni founded the
Aurora Orchestra, an activity of coverage that allowed him weaving his relationships without being
discovered. He was captured by Xianshi that made him interned in the asylum of Collegno near Turin, to try
to extort the secrets of the Order. Giovanni hide valuable information (audio recordings with the history of
the Ordo Aequilibrium) and ran. A collaborator of Giovanni Sacchi found his recordings and thanks to his
nephew, Alessandro Novaro, a young student, created a website dedicated to Orchestra Aurora, with the aim
to publish Giovanni Sacchi’s recordings, in a protected area accessible only to Guardian’s assistants. Giovanni
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Sacchi was imprisoned by ierry Latreille, one of the world leaders of the Organization. His son, Leo
Latreille, created a research centre called Xianshi studying natural disasters. On September 14 Xianshi has
planned a worldwide attack that will develop in dierent parts of the world. On September 14th the Last
Guardian, Matteo Bernini, a watchmaker who is trying to create a Novus Ordo Aequilibri, gathers all his
assistants in Lomellina to play a geocaching experience and save the world.
Aequilibrium’s Platform layout and Action Chart, the tentpole, the rabbit hole
and the two-steps engagement strategy
e project workow included the design of the Platform layout, the Platform Action Chart and the Project
roll-out, tools and methodologies that in a transmedia project help to manage the relationships between the
platforms, the contents and user actions in a diachronic dimension (Giovagnoli: 2013). e role of the
platforms of a transmedia system is described through the Platform layout: a scheme representative of the
distribution of contents across platforms. e platform layout does not contain chronological indications; it
represents all the relationships between the various media and the authorship of the works created by the
authors (at the top) and by the users (at the bottom).
Fig. n. 1 - Aequilibrium: Platform Layout
e story of Aequilibrium is spread over 17 platforms, each one oering a rst-person storytelling. Websites,
Facebook proles and pages, blog and emails, refers to ctional characters that tell a part of the whole story
from their point of view. Each platform has to develop an imaginative pidgin (Giovagnoli: 2009) a language
that mimics that used by the real referent of the ctional character and that is easily recognizable by the user
(i.e. the formal language of a cultural centre for the Xianshi website). A number of Facebook proles have
been created, so to make the storytelling more engaging and plausible and to let users interact with ctional
characters as if they were real persons. A number of real life experiences have been performed in two towns.
Players had to reach clues in real locations and members of the Aequilibrium sta secretly video-recorded
players’ actions posting them online.
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Fig. n. 2 - Aequilibrium: Platform Action Chart
e “Platform Action Chart is a diagram representative of the distribution of the story and contents across
platforms. It contains chronological and diachronic indications, which proceed from the rst clue and call to
action until the closing of the communication system. It is divided into platforms and shows, from left to
right, all contents and relationships in the various assets, including exclusively the works and the narrative
spaces provided by the authors, and not by the users. e Aequilibrium’s “Platform Action Chart” shows how
the whole story has been spread over multiple media products to be distributed on dierent platforms during
the phases of the game. It also shows the dierent points of entry of the story, namely the doors through
which users can access ctional universe and the “Rabbit Hole” (RH), the rst point of entry (in
chronological order) in the ctional universe, that provides clues to the story, creates the motivation to
actively enter the experience (Davidson: 2010). In Aequilibrium the Rabbit Hole is a video teaser posted
online on June 2013 showing a man in an old room, reaching a desk with strange objects from dierent
historic periods, opening a box and nding a key. A voice over speaks about a conict against a dangerous
terrorist organization that has lasted for more than 500 years. Finally the address of a website appears: it is
the bridge to the homepage of the project. Following the link, players are able to nd the point of entry: the
Facebook page of the Last Guardian of Ordo Aequilibri and a Tumblr made by a French Man, a collaborator
of the Guardian. In a transmedia project exists a tentpole, a privileged media product/experience that
supports a number of other experiences related to it ( Jenkins: 2006; Davidson: 2010). More casual fans can
enjoy the tentpole, while more dedicated fans can nd the dierent related media that expand the experience.
Aequilibrium’s tentpole is the gameplay on the territory that will take place on September 2013, during a one
day geocaching experience. e aim is to let players discover cultural heritage through gameplay and through
an engaging storytelling. All the participants will get the basic information about the plot before the event of
September 2013, but participants have also the opportunity to explore the ctional universe through a
“warm-up” gameplay (from June to August 2013) that let them acquire knowledge about ctional and non
ctional story elements: characters, relationships between Leonardo Da Vinci and Lomellina, places hosting
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the gameplay and their cultural heritage. All this topics are presented through clues that participants have to
solve moving from media to real places. Clues are the bridges that suggest other entry point for the
transmedia communication project. While the tentpole will be promoted through a social media campaign,
to reach the largest audience, and the basic elements of the plot will be made available also to those who
didn’t played the “warm-up” experience, the targets of “fan” and “ARG players” will be engaged through the
online video’s clues for the cultural activation of the “warm-up” gameplay.
Aequilibrium’s Production Roll-out, collective intelligence and grassroots production.
From interaction to participation.
e Production Roll-out is a form of schematic representation of the sequence of publishing content and the
activities planned in the communication system of the project. It is divided by platforms. It indicates the
duration and type of interactions and relationships between the various assets of the story in multiple media
(Giovagnoli: 2013). e “Production Roll-out highlights the possible paths that the user can take to explore
the imaginative universe, acquire information and interact with the characters, experiencing an immersive and
more rewarding gameplay compared to that experienced by those who live only the nal steps of the game.
Fig. n. 3 - Aequilibrium: Production Roll-out
e Production Roll-out” and the “Platform layout” also shows the spaces for users participation in the
decoding of cultural activators and the production of grassroots contents. With ARG there is a passage from
interactivity, that emerges from the properties of media technologies, to participation, emerging from the
protocols and social practices around media. e two main forms of participation involved in Aequilibrium’s
transmedia experience are collective intelligence applied to the solution of puzzles and the production of
grassroots contents capable of guiding and modifying storytelling. Collective intelligence is a term coined by
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Pierre Lévy in the nineties and used by Henry Jenkins to analyze the dynamics of participatory consumption
of media contents in converging culture ( Jenkins: 2006). Since media consumption has become more and
more a collective process and online environments encourage discussions about contents, new forms of media
production rises, forms that point on increasing the complexity of the contents, which function as activators
of a fan base that perform online complex decoding operations based on the exchange of contents and
sharing of information. Each participant in a collective intelligence contributes to the solution of a problem
sharing his knowledge just in time (Levy: 1994). In Aequilibrium puzzle and clues are meant to be solved
collectively, through active collaboration of players in spaces provided for their interactions: the Facebook
page of the Last Guardian, the blog of Alex Novaro, the young student who manage the website of the
Orchestra Aurora, the fan site conceived to publish the audio messages of the penultimate Guardian. In these
spaces the players are encouraged to share the results of their research and to work together to achieve shared
solutions. Players developed strategies and methodologies to improve their coordination, such as synthesis
and points of the situation, posted online every time a riddle is solved, so to help new players to enter the
ctional universe. e strong engagement with contents makes fans the most active segment of audience, the
desire to strengthen the link with the ctional universe pushes them to share information with other fans and
to produce content related to their passion. e dynamics of collective intelligence put in place by the players
often lead to the achievement of results that drive authors to modify some elements of the story, in order to
include the contribution of users, especially when this contribution expands the ctional universe and adds
possibilities for players’ identication with the characters. In the Aequilibrium’s ctional universe a whole new
storyline, that has to do with the expansion of Ordo Aequilibri in France, has been designed starting from
the interpretation of the trailer made by a group of players, who identied elements related to the cross of
Lorraine and the defeat of Charles the Bold and imagined narrative hypothesis that represented a potential
enrichment of the Aequilibrium’s imaginative universe. Participation in the construction of the storyworld is
also evident in the production of content by users who have the ability to share texts, photos, images and
videos on the Facebook page. Synthesis, hypotheses, drawings, pictures of the locations during the live action
gameplay, reworking of ocial contents (i.e. audio lterings of video in search of hidden clues…) are the
heritage of content that players contribute to build around the ctional universe of Aequilibrium.
Geocaching in Aequilibrium: the “Cornerstones” and the experience of place between
digital and physical spaces
On September 14th, Aequilibrium ends with a geocaching event in Lomellina. Geocaching is a playful
technological practice typical of the world of LBMGs (Location Based Mobile Games), a high-tech
reinterpretation of the classic treasure hunt, in which participants use mobile GPS-enabled devices to find or
hide small containers – the caches - in physical spaces. The GPS coordinates of the caches are recorded
online in digital environments (the most famous is www.geocaching.com) in which players also share their
experience of discovery. Started almost by accident in 2000, geocaching is now a common practice all over
the world, involving more than 6 million people and generating a real subculture of fans. Since geocaching
has become increasingly common due to the spread of mobile and location-aware technologies, Locative
Media Studies have begun investigating it with interest. Many scholars emphasizes that geocaching is an
experience that takes place in different spaces of interaction, both physical (the local area where the cache is
hidden), and digital (the website on which the GPS coordinates are recorded and on which players can leave
their reviews, or the mobile GPS-enabled device with mapping features that locates the position of the player
and the cache). Thus, this playful practice is based on a sort of collaboration between bits and atoms, virtual
and material spaces and requires participants to know how to effectively manage different interfaces. It is
emblematic of our current technological environment, where, with the spread of mobile interfaces,
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navigating simultaneously different spaces has become a common practice. Like other LBMGs, geocaching
is a typical mobile practice at the time of Net Localities ( Gordon, De Souza and Silva: 2011), in which the
production of the space becomes an embodied experience connected with technology (Farman: 2012). These
games are considered by scholars (De Souza and Silva, Sutko: 2009) real creative practices, in which
participants can recreate the meaning of places by acting on them with digital technologies. Often through
the charming power of exploration, these practices allow people to create an alternative level of place
experience, stimulating their ability to experiment new meanings related to local sites. Further, Gordon
(2009) investigates the geocaching as a useful practice for the production of local knowledge, that kind of
local common culture necessary to aggregate communities around shared values and meanings,
«transforming that physical space into a collectively understood platform for interaction» (Gordon: 2009,
31). Starting from these considerations, we decided to experiment geocaching to connect the fictional
dimension, the online transmedia digital world, with the physical world. Geocaching in Aequilibrium is
based on the search of the Aequilibrium Cornerstones. They are special places in which small glass tubes are
hidden (the Aequilibrium Chalices) containing a defined amount of water that the members of the Order have
hidden all over the world for the maintenance of the cosmic balance. Of all the Cornerstones in the world,
just those in Lomellina are now still working. All the others have been sabotaged by the sect Xianshi. Now
the latter are also in danger, because the sect has managed to drain all the water of the Chalices in Lomellina,
which are on the verge of quitting working. The aim of the participants is to find the Cornerstones, by
solving puzzles related to the figure of Leonardo da Vinci, reach them guided by GPS devices, and restore
the right amount of water. To do so, they will be forced to interact with the Cornerstones Keepers which are
the only ones to know the right amount of water in each Chalices. Once they fill the Chalices and solve all
the puzzles, participants will be able to find the GPS coordinates to reach the Last Guardian, who is hidden
in an unknown location.
The values of the landscape: Leonardo da Vinci, the Waters, the Rice
In addition to Leonardo, geocaching in Aequilibrium recovers two other strategic key points for the identity
of the area: the water and the rice. ese elements are embodied in signicant points of interest in the
landscape, characterized by the presence of rice paddies and an intricate maze of canals, irrigation ditches,
torrents, which create a typical environment of great natural and cultural value. As rice cultivation has
historically characterized all aspects of local material culture and identity, lots of initiatives for the
conservation and enhancement of the tangible and intangible heritage linked to it have been carried out by
local stakeholders (projects for the valorization of local historical farmhouses, or several rural museums).
Further, many local researches on the intangible heritage related to rural culture have been conducted, which
document, tradition and knowledge related to life in farms. It is not a coincidence, then, that the most
important projects of local development look at the water and rice as powerful values. e theme of water is
of course connected also with the gure of Leonardo da Vinci, whose presence in the territory at the time of
Ludovico il Moro is historically documented and is embodied in some symbolic places, real traces of the
Genius in the area.
With the involvement of local stakeholders we have therefore identied the most signicant places that
could return most of the experience of these issues - Leonardo, the water and the rice - and there, in the area
between Vigevano and Mortara, the caches were placed. In particular, the choice fell on signicant places
near rice mills and farmhouse, rice elds, canals, ditches, rivers; watermills, hydroelectric power plants,
touristic and dining businesses related to the rice (typical restaurant, farm holidays, retailers of typical
products linked to the processing of rice); places tracing the presence of Leonardo (Castello Sforzesco, the
Stables, Piazza Ducale, the Mill of Mora Bassa, the Villa Sforza with the Colombarone). e Cornerstones
are placed in these sites, at geographical coordinates that players have to discover by solving puzzles related to
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the concept of balance in the work of Leonardo. Each Cornerstone is presented through an information page
accessible online through a QR code, printed and placed inside the Chalice. e page contains a brief
description of the location and information about how to nd the Cornerstone Keepers, the person who
holds the Cornerstone, takes care of its maintenance and that will give participants the information needed
to restore the exact amount of water.
The Cornerstones Keepers: experiencing the landscape on the edge of the magic circle
e Cornerstones Keepers are envisioned to enable further interaction with places and its inhabitants and
strengthen local awareness. They are shopkeepers, farmers, restaurateurs, members of associations, elderly
millers and rice weeders… people whose lives are in some way related to the theme of water and rice and
living near the Cornerstones. In the weeks before the event, they have been involved asking their availability
to take part in the game, helping the participants that will come at their home asking for assistance. Each
Cornerstone Keeper will help in the geocaching with her own peculiarity, coming from a specic local history
and from the experience she embeds. e Keepers are therefore elements that are on the edge of what
Huizinga (1938) denes the “magic circle”, that metaphorical and, according to Salen and Zimmerman
(2004), “fuzzy and permeable” boundary that separate what is game from what is not: they stay on the border
that separates the space of the game from the everyday life. ey are liminal gures, which help to embed the
geocaching into the real physical space, into the “here and now of the local sites. A geocaching based only on
ctional elements would have had the risk of alienating the participants from the context, completely
transgurating the physical space into the narrative space, overshadowing the physical local elements which
the ARG, on the contrary, aims at promoting. e interaction with the Keepers thus aims at making players
more aware of their embodiment (Farman: 2012) in the history of places, which are characterized by values
and elements that they are called to discover. With them Aequilibrium introduces a strong element of
unpredictability and opacity in the logic of remediation of the game (Bolter: 1999): the Keepers disturb the
immersion in the ctional world, bringing the real life inside the magic circle.
Following the thinking of many scholars that have debated the concept of Huizinga’s “magic circle” - a core
and often criticized issue within game studies¹ - Montola (2009) argues that the main feature of pervasive
games is the “porosity of the circle. Pervasive games, like others contemporary playful practices including
ARGs, expand the spatial, temporal, and social boundaries of the game. In the case of LBMGs, this porosity
stay at the core, since the space of everyday real life is introduced inside the circle as constitutive. e space of
ordinary life is not a neutral support, which must disappear in the ecstasy of an immersive playful experience,
but it is indeed a key factor, of which players can have dierent degrees of awareness. According to de Lange
(2009) the nature of LBMGs is actually the possibility of playing with the boundaries of the circle, moving
and repositioning them in continuous and generating engagement not using ctional immersion, but through
the exciting experience of a non-stop moving between digital and physical, between the virtual and the real,
between the ordinary and the extraordinary:
“e play element in locative media lies not so much inside the “game space” itself but in the continuous
movements between the digital world and the physical world. Part of the joy is the uncertainty of what is
actually belongs to either world. is locative platform creates confusion: in which space am I moving? Am I
adding digital representations to the physical world? Or am I adding physical experiences of places to my
online social network? is locative platform aords the mobility to continuously step through the porous
membrane of the magic circle” (De Lange: 2009, p. 61).
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Conclusions
e ARG Aequilibrium - e Last Guardian of Leonardo experiments transmedia and geocaching in the eld
of cultural heritage. With the playful practice of geocaching, Aequilibrium promotes connections between the
ctional world and the real one, giving participants the chance to discover cultural, social and historical values
embedded in the Lomellina Landscape. e article presented the Aequilibrium’s design process, as well as the
communication and interaction strategies for digital engagement in new hyper mediated habitats, focusing
on how the game encourages participation in the storytelling, through cultural activators able to foster
collective intelligence and grassroots production.
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content/uploads/digital-library/07311.42117.pdf
Biography
Giulia Bertone graduated in Communication Sciences, obtained in 2012 a PhD in Cultural Heritage. e
PhD thesis - "Connecting places. e involvement of local communities in participatory development of the
territory: the prospects opened up by locative media "- explores the relationship between digital media,
places, participation and communities, investigating the role that location-aware technologies can play in the
enhancing of cultural landscapes. Her research investigates how digital media, and in particular location-
aware and mobile technologies, are changing the concept of place, the use of public spaces and the
relationship between community and places, opening new opportunities for involvement and place-based
engagement.
Domenico Morreale after graduating in Communication Sciences at the University of Turin, obtained his
doctorate in Sociology of cultural and communicative processes at the Politecnico di Torino. He is a
researcher at the Department of sociological and psycho-pedagogical studies, Guglielmo Marconi University
where he teaches the courses "eories and techniques of mass communication" and, from 2012 "eory and
philosophy of language of the media and entertainment" and "Literature and audiovisual Communication",
within the degree course in “Film & TV Production (in collaboration with the Full Sail University in
Orlando, Florida, USA). He is teaching assistant for the course "Social sciences and cross-media" and "Film
Production", Master of Science in “Cinema and media engineering” at the Politecnico di Torino.
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1 On this issue please refer to Salen, Zimmerman: 2004; Juul: 2003; Pargman, Jacobsson: 2006; Malaby:
2007; Poremba: 2007; McGonigal: 2003; Fine: 1983.
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Conference Paper
Full-text available
Because of studies approaching transmedia and design concepts, it is emerging in the commercial, academic and literary contexts the "transmedia design" term. Through an integrative systematic review, this article analyzes quantitative and qualitative its presence and its related scientific publications in Portuguese, English and Spanish. The results show common arguments but few clear definitions of the terminology
Chapter
Full-text available
Mobile media – from mobile phones to smartphones to netbooks – are transforming our daily lives. We communicate, we locate, we network, we play, and much more using our mobile devices. In Mobile Interface Theory, Jason Farman demonstrates how the worldwide adoption of mobile technologies is causing a reexamination of the core ideas about what it means to live our everyday lives. He argues that mobile media’s pervasive computing model, which allows users to connect and interact with the internet while moving across a wide variety of locations, has produced a new sense of self among users – a new embodied identity that stems from virtual space and material space regularly enhancing, cooperating or disrupting each other. Exploring a range of mobile media practices – including mobile maps and GPS technologies, location-aware social networks, urban and alternate reality games that use mobile devices, performance art, and storytelling projects – Farman illustrates how mobile technologies are changing the ways we produce lived, embodied spaces.
Book
The first book to provide an introduction to the new theory of Net Locality and the profound effect on individuals and societies when everything is located or locatable. Describes net locality as an emerging form of location awareness central to all aspects of digital media, from mobile phones, to Google Maps, to location-based social networks and games, such as Foursquare and facebook. Warns of the threats these technologies, such as data surveillance, present to our sense of privacy, while also outlining the opportunities for pro-social developments. Provides a theory of the web in the context of the history of emerging technologies, from GeoCities to GPS, Wi-Fi, Wiki Me, and Google Android.
Article
The increasing convergence and mobility of digital network technologies have given rise to new, massively-scaled modes of social interaction where the physical and virtual worlds meet. This paper explores one product of these extreme networks, the emergent genre of immersive enter- tainment, as a potential tool for harnessing collective action. Through an analysis of the structure and rhetoric of immersive games, I explore how immersive aesthetics can generate a new sense of social agency in game players, and how collaborative play techniques can instruct real-world problem-solving.
Article
This classic study still provides one of the most acute descriptions available of an often misunderstood subculture: that of fantasy role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. Gary Alan Fine immerses himself in several different gaming systems, offering insightful details on the nature of the games and the patterns of interaction among players—as well as their reasons for playing.
Te Magic is Gone: A Critical Examination of the Gaming Situation
  • D Pargman
  • P Jacobsson
Pargman, D., Jacobsson, P., (2006), Te Magic is Gone: A Critical Examination of the Gaming Situation, in M. Santorineos (ed.), Gaming Realities: A Challenge for Digital Culture, Mediaterra Festival, Athens: Fournos Centre for the Digital Culture, pp. 15-22.
Redifning the Local: Te Distinction between Located Information and Local Knowledge in Location Based Games
  • E Gordon
Gordon E., (2009), Redifning the Local: Te Distinction between Located Information and Local Knowledge in Location Based Games. In A. de Souza e Silva, D. M. Sutko (eds.), Digital Cityscapes: Merging Digital and Urban Playspaces, New York: Peter Lang, pp. 21-36.
Homo ludens: Versuch einer bestimmung des spielelements der kultur
  • J Huizinga
Huizinga J., (1938), Homo ludens: Versuch einer bestimmung des spielelements der kultur (ed. it.: Homo Ludens, Turin: Einaudi, 2002).