A location-based game (or location-enabled game) is a type of pervasive game in which the gameplay evolves and progresses via a player's location. Thus, location-based games must provide some mechanism to allow the player to report their location, frequently this is through some kind of localization technology, for example by using satellite positioning through GPS. "Urban gaming" or "street games" are typically multi-player location-based games played out on city streets and built up urban environments. Various mobile devices can be used to play location-based games; these games have been referred to as "Location-based mobile games", merging location-based games and mobile games. Examples of such games include geocaching, BotFighters, Ingress, and Pokémon Go.
Some games have used embedded mobile technologies such as Near Field Communication, Bluetooth, and UWB. Poor technology performance in urban areas has led some location-based games to incorporate disconnectivity as a gameplay asset.
In 2006, Penn State students founded the Urban Gaming Club. The goal of the club is to provide location-based games and Alternate Reality Games. Some of the games played by Penn State's UGC are Humans vs. Zombies, Manhunt, Freerunning and Capture the Flag. Students at other American universities have formed similar organizations, such as the Zombie Outbreak Management Facilitation Group at Cornell College.
Location-based games may induce learning. De Souza, (2006) has observed that these activities produce learning that is social, experiential and situated. Learning however is related to the objectives of the game designers. In a survey of location-based games (Avouris & Yiannoutsou, 2012) it was observed that in terms of the main objective, these games may be categorized as ludic,(e.g. games that are created for fun), pedagogic, (e.g. games created mainly for learning), and hybrid,(e.g. games with mixed objectives). The ludic group, are to a large extent action oriented, involving either shooting, action or treasure hunt type of activities. These are weakly related to a narrative and a virtual world. However, the role-playing version of these games seem to have a higher learning potential, although this has yet to be confirmed through more extended empirical studies. On the other hand, the social interaction that takes place and skills related to strategic decisions, observation, planning, physical activity are the main characteristics of this strand in terms of learning. The pedagogic group of games involve participatory simulators, situated language learning and educational action games. Finally the hybrid games are mostly museum location-based games and mobile fiction, or city fiction.
- Alternate reality game
- Encounter (game)
- fAR-Play, a location-based game platform
- Location-based service
- Mixed reality game
- mscape, a location-based game platform.
- Pervasive game
- QONQR, a location-based strategy game
- Sentient computing
- Transreality gaming
- Ubiquitous computing
- von Borries, Friedrich; Walz, Steffen P.; Böttger, Matthias, eds. (2007), "BotFighters: A Game That Surrounds You", Space Time Play, Basel, Boston, Berlin: Birkhäuser Verlag AG, pp. 226–227, ISBN 978-3-7643-8414-2
- De Souza, E Silva; G. C Delacruz (July 2006). "Hybrid Reality Games Reframed Potential Uses in Educational Contexts". Games and Culture 1 (3): 231–251. doi:10.1177/1555412006290443.
- Avouris, N; Yiannoutsou N. (2012). "A review of mobile location-based games for learning across physical and virtual spaces". Journal of Universal Computer Science 18.
- Bullerdiek, Sönke: Design and Evaluation of Pervasive Games, Thesis (de) 2006
- Gamers turn cities into a battleground - article on urban gaming from New Scientist
- Dreher, Thomas: Pervasive Games: Interfaces, Strategies and Moves
- Encyclopedia of Location-Based Games - list of (mostly) GPS games and short comments