Notes on “Uncle Roy All Around You”

November 9, 2008

Uncle Roy All Around You: Implicating the City in a Location-Based Performance: Steve Benford, Martin Flintham, Adam Drozd, Rob Anastasi, Duncan Rowland, Nick Tandavanitj, Matt Adams, Ju Row-Farr, Amanda Oldroyd, Jon Sutton

Uncle Roy All Around You is a game/performance in which participants travel London hunting clues to find a specific office. Along the way, actors and remote players watching online guide them.

The authors spin a paper out of the performance by talking about trust and explaining users’ reactions to the game elements. There aren’t many surprises in their findings: Online players are less engaged than real, on-the-ground players; Users did things while playing the game they wouldn’t normally do, such as stepping into a limousine; Unlabeled performers caused users to suspect everyone of being a performer; Users found workarounds for the game’s technical limitations.

I’m not quite sure if the paper had a point, so it is difficult to comment on the strengths or weaknesses of the paper in making its point.

I note that 19 papers cite it (via Google Scholar), of these, fewer than ten are not written by one of the paper’s authors.

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