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MY NI. Prelude ArtsNI is a Bi-monthly meetup for people working in or with arts organisations in Belfast. It's an informal get together, a great way to learn new things, and bounce ideas off people face to face rather than by email . Presentation – What Games Might Change

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ArtsNI is a Bi-monthly meetupfor people working in or with arts organisations in Belfast. It's an informal get together, a great way to learn new things, and bounce ideas off people face to face rather than by email.

Presentation – What Games Might Change

Alternative Reality and Pervasive Games



Taken from the Where’s Wally UUC project produced as part of the “Transmedia Narratives” practice strand of the module MED306 “Independent Practice” on the Interactive Media Arts BA (Hons).


“By playing together, people form close communities and develop a group identity and a sense of belonging. Play can also function as a tool to understand the self.”

Flanagan, M., 2009. Critical Play: Radical Game Design. The MIT Press.

In this project selfhood is though of in a wider sense of a cultural identity of place.

This work thinks of games a Social Technology, as outlined by Flanagan (2009:p9)


Pervasive Games

“We are living in a world full of games and gamers. And so we need to decide now what kinds of games we should make together and how we will play them together. We need a plan for determining how games will impact our real societies and our real lives. We need a framework for making these decisions and for shaping these plans.”

McGonigal, J., 2011. Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Jonathan Cape


Games In Spaces

“How is it possible for play to be both divorced from reality and yet so rife with real‐life consequences?”

Mihalyi. C. 1979 “Some Paradoxesin the Definition of Play.” Play as Context, ed. Alyce Taylor Cheska. West Point, NY: Leisure Press


NI2012 - A campaign by Northern Ireland Tourism Board (NITB) and billed as a chance to:

“ put Northern Ireland on the Global Tourism map”

“ a tipping point for Northern Ireland and a real chance to change perceptions”.


“Play, both in an open sense and within the structure of a game, can serve as a lens for creating something beautiful. In other words, games are systems for imagining what is possible. Games and play environments are particularly useful frameworks for structuring systemic and conceptual concerns due to their multifaceted and dynamic, rule‐based nature.”

Flanagan, M., 2010 Creating Critical Play in Artists Rethinking Games. EdsCatlow,R. Garrett, M. & Morgana. C. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press


The MYNI design documents were commissioned by Blue Cube Interactive

Designed to Gamify Tourism

Developed to promote Civic Pride

Produced to encourage internal tourism


Each party had set aims for the project which at times conflicted and had to be managed

Blue Cube – R&D into Gamificationand new approaches to engaging audiences

NITB – A showcase project, the aggregation of data for publicity, and the crowdsourcing of publicity images

CMR (Me) – REFableoutput with tangible impact, testing of industry engagement



NITB wanted a list of postcode data, linked to data on internal tourism and distance travelled

These were then built into the mechanics of the game but all data collection in public facing projects needs to be justified and core to play mechanics


“MYNI2012 is a task based pervasive game which asks players to complete specific missions in Northern Ireland, document them and upload their submissions. Tasks are themed around NI2012’s four key threads i.e. Landscapes, Myths and Legends etc. Some tasks are space and time specific and others can be undertaken anywhere in Northern Ireland. When players complete a task and it has been documented they upload their submission and pin it to a map. Points are awarded for submissions and there are a series of bonuses and multipliers.”

Taken from the original design documents submitted to Blue Cube Interactive


Gamify Tourism

A system was designed for participants to promote positive engagements with areas that are already deemed as tourist attractions – Giants Causeway, Bushmills Distillery, Titanic Museum – and also encourage players to investigate lesser known or visited areas of Northern Ireland – Secret Spots, Historic Monuments, Small Cafes


Gamify Tourism

Points were given to different tasks based on their difficulty; some tasks were locked to one of the 6 counties, some were place specific, some could be completed anywhere in Northern Ireland, some tasks asked players to create items or objects.

These were given points between 1>3


Civic Pride

Tasks often asked players to pick a favourite spot, share an experience, or think about and share positive aspects specific to the region

“Our island is full of secret quiet spots and hidden places which only we know about, little hidden gems. Take a photo of your favourite quiet spot and share it with our players”

Taken from the first draft of tasks submitted to Blue Cube Interactive


Civic Pride

Some tasks asked players to consider the “positive” aspects of their cultural identity and inscribe on the landscape

“There are too many reasons to list why we love Northern Ireland but we want to know why you love Northern Ireland. For this task you will need a piece of chalk, write on the pavement for all to see "I Love Northern Ireland Because" with your reason, photograph it and load it onto our map. Make it big, make it bold and make it creative. ”

Taken from the third draft of tasks submitted to Blue Cube Interactive


Internal Tourism

MYNI is designed to encourage “internal tourism”. At the point of sign up players are asked to supply a postcode which works as their “base camp” multipliers are awarded for players who travel further from their base camp to complete tasks (x2 for 20 miles, x3 for 30 miles, x4 for 40 miles and x5 for 50+ miles)


Project Prototype

At the point of conception the game functions as a website and mobile site with no app for iOS or Android, this was partly due to funding constraints and development time


Project Reflections

The problem with mixed agendas

The Issues with working alongside industry timelines

What happens next – MYNI to launch mid 2013