Transreality gaming

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Transreality gaming, sometimes written as trans-reality gaming, describes a type of video game or a mode of gameplay that combines playing a game in a virtual environment with game-related, physical experiences in the real world and vice versa. In this approach a player evolves and moves seamlessly through various physical and virtual stages, brought together in one unified game space.[1] Alongside the rising trend of gamification, the application of game mechanics to tasks that are not traditionally associated with play, a transreality approach to gaming incorporates mechanics that extend over time and space, effectively playing through a players day-to-day interactions.[2]

The essential part of transreality gaming is considered to be the fluidity between physical and virtual stages of gameplay, making it more and more difficult to see the distinction between what is allegedly 'virtual' and what is allegedly 'real' while playing.[3] Looking at a transreality game from that perspective it may also integrate (big) data feeds into the storylines of games as a means to make the gameplay more immersive,[4] like in the setup of Liping Xie's experimental scientific simulations in which a population of sample individuals search a real-world optimum in a virtual problem space, driven by real world forces in that space.[5] Further on it could benefit from new layers of reality mining, connected intelligence and ubiquitous computing that incorporate machines into our lives[6] like the Internet of things and wearable computing (both using sensors that are able to immediately re-create the actual world on and around a player on his or her device), cryptocurrencies, micropayments and nanopayments (for handling transmedial game credits), deployment of cleverbots, mind files and intelligent agent systems (to enhance the natural feel and learning skills of game characters) and games using kinetics (through motion controllers or through haptics).

Different authors have used the adjective 'transreal' as a starting point for the design of location-based games (like pervasive games,[7] mixed reality games[8] and augmented reality games[9]) and cross media games (like simulation games,[10] LARP[11] and alternate reality games[12]). All of these genres offer game experiences integrated with everyday routines and social networks. Its applications are to be found in serious games (education,[13] awareness,[14] skill training[15]), gamification (like in production centers,[16] marketing,[17] research[18] and testing[19]) as well as in mobile multiplayer trans-reality games, MMTRG (including gamification of Foursquare[20]), using the actual geolocation of the player in the gameplay, like in games such as Ingress, Pokémon Go, Shadow Cities, Zombies, Run!, YouCatch, Roads of San Francisco, City Race Munich and Parallel Kingdom.

From a broader perspective it is argued that different location aware and transmedial game formats may also be considered to merely provide a facilitating infrastructure for transreality gaming in a broader sense, positioned as a new way of looking at the design of game spaces, meant to be played across different realities rather than across different media.[21][22][23]


  1. ^ Trans-Reality Gaming, Craig A. Lindley, Institution Technology, Art and New Media, University of Gotland, Visby, Sweden (2004).
  2. ^ Bonsignore, Elizabeth M., et al. "Mixed reality games." Proceedings of the ACM 2012 conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work Companion. ACM, 2012. doi:10.1145/2141512.2141517
  3. ^ Edward Castronova, Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games, The University of Chicago Press, 2005)
  4. ^ "Narrative Structure in TransReality RolePlaying Games: Integrating Story Construction from Live Action, Table Top and ComputerBased RolePlaying Games", Craig A. Lindley, Institution Technology, Art and New Media, University of Gotland, Visby, Sweden (2005)
  5. ^ Xie, Liping, Jianchao Zeng, and Zhihua Cui. "Using artificial physics to solve global optimization problems". Cognitive Informatics, 2009. ICCI'09. 8th IEEE International Conference on. IEEE, 2009.
  6. ^ TECHVISION 2014, Accenture
  7. ^ Kasapakis, Vlasios, Damianos Gavalas, and Nikos Bubaris. "Pervasive games research: a design aspects-based state of the art report." Proceedings of the 17th Panhellenic Conference on Informatics. ACM, 2013. University of the Aegean
  8. ^ Jantke, Klaus P., Oksana Arnold, and Sebastian Spundflasch. "Aliens on the Bus: A family of pervasive games". Consumer Electronics (GCCE), 2013 IEEE 2nd Global Conference on. IEEE, 2013. (Children's Media Dept., Fraunhofer Inst. Digital Media Technol., Erfurt, Germany) doi:10.1109/GCCE.2013.6664866
  9. ^ Zarzycki, Andrzej. "Urban Games: Inhabiting Real and Virtual Cities". Paper ecaade 2012_298 (2012)
  10. ^ Klopfer, Eric, and Kurt Squire. "Environmental Detectives—the development of an augmented reality platform for environmental simulations". Educational Technology Research and Development 56.2 (2008): 203-228.)
  11. ^ Bergström, Karl, Staffan Jonsson, and Staffan Björk. "Undercurrents–A Computer-Based Gameplay Tool to Support Tabletop Roleplaying". (2010).
  12. ^ Gutierrez, Lucio, Eleni Stroulia, and Ioanis Nikolaidis. "faARS: a platform for location-aware trans-reality games." Entertainment Computing-ICEC 2012. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2012. 185-192. (University of Alberta) doi:10.1007/978-3-642-33542-6_16
  13. ^ Dunleavy, Matt. "Design Principles for Augmented Reality Learning." TechTrends 58.1 (2014): 28-34
  14. ^ Chang, Alenda Y. "Playing Nature: The Virtual Ecology of Game Environments". (2013).
  15. ^ Chodos, David, Lucio Gutierrez, and Eleni Stroulia. "Creating healthcare training simulations in virtual worlds." Software Engineering in Health Care (SEHC), 2012 4th International Workshop on. IEEE, 2012. University of Alberta ISBN 978-1-4673-1843-3
  16. ^ Korn, Oliver, Albrecht Schmidt, and Thomas Hörz. "The potentials of in-situ-projection for augmented workplaces in production: a study with impaired persons." CHI'13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2013. doi:10.1145/2468356.2468531
  17. ^ Campbell, MacGregor. "The audacious plan to make the world into a game." New Scientist 209.2794 (2011): 36-39. doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(11)60049-3
  18. ^ Farhangi, Sanaz. "Reality is broken to be rebuilt: how a gamer's mindset can show science educators new ways of contribution to science and world?." Cultural Studies of Science Education 7.4 (2012): 1037-1044. doi:10.1007/s11422-012-9426-y
  19. ^ Kleinschmit, Matt, Andrew Reid, and Richard Rizzo. "VIRTUAL FUTURE: REAL LIFE OR FANTASY." (2012).
  20. ^ Frith, Jordan. "Turning life into a game: Foursquare, gamification, and personal mobility". Mobile Media & Communication 1.2 (2013): 248-262.
  21. ^ Game Space Design Foundations for Trans-Reality Games, Craig A. Lindley, Institution Technology, Art and New Media, University of Gotland, Visby, Sweden (2005)
  22. ^ Montola, M. (2011). A ludological view on the pervasive mixed-reality game research paradigm, Personal Ubiquitous Computing
  23. ^ Sakamoto, Mizuki; Nakajima, Tatsuo; Alexandrova Todorka "Digital-physical hybrid design: Harmonizing the real world and the virtual world" Desform (2012).

Further reading[edit]

  • The Emergence of the Digital Humanities (Steven E. Jones) ISBN 978-0415635523
  • Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (Jane McGonigal) ISBN 978-1594202858
  • The Oxford Handbook of Virtuality (Mark Grimshaw) ISBN 978-0-19-982616-2
  • Pervasive Games: Theory and Design (Markus Montola, Jaakko Stenros, Annika Waern) ISBN 978-0123748539
  • Interactive Storytelling: Techniques for 21st Century (Andrew Glassne) ISBN 978-1568812212
  • This Is Not A Game: A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming (Dave Szulborski) ISBN 978-1411625952
  • Beyond Reality: A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming (John W. Gosney) ISBN 978-1592007370
  • @Hearts@Minds#Transreality (Harry van Boven; Ed Fennema)
  • The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities (Cárdenas et al.) ISBN 0-9839152-4-5