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Collaborative Games - Makes People Talk

By Johan Skårman and Johan Larsson


Our main purpose was to explore how teenagers used mobile face-to-face collaborative computer games. In this report we therefore describe the development and use of what we call mobile face-to-face collaborative computer games. These games are played among co-located people on a handheld devices connected in an ad hoc network. The research was conducted in three phases: the workshop phase, the development phase and finally the evaluation phase. In the first phase we studied three traditional games, both on a theoretical level and empirically. The aim was to identify the design patterns that made people collaborate and interact face-to-face. The workshops resulted in three collaborative design patterns; the multiple keys pattern, the shared screens pattern and the guide-and-follow pattern. During the development phase we selected three famous computer games: Pac-man, Tetris and Asteroids. These games were then redesigned to incorporate one of the collaborative design patterns each. During the evaluation phase we studied teenagers at a local high school cafeteria play these games during a period of two weeks. Our evaluation showed that the developed computer games generate collaboration and interaction among the co-located gamers. Teenagers also seem to enjoy playing this type of computer games and used a trial-and-error approach when learning how to play. The games will soon be available for free download on the web

Topics: CSCP (Computer Supported Collaborative Play), wireless, design, mobile, face-to-face, co-located, handheld computers, games.
Year: 2002
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