October 14, 2003

Mobile Game ideas

One of the sessions at Foo Camp was on Mobile Gaming. Participants were invited to suggest ideas for multiplayer mobile games. There were some really interesting suggestions. Here are two I proposed:

1. The Game game
Remember the Michael Douglas movie The Game? Well, imagine it's now a multiplayer game using mobile devices. Imagine it's a more organized version of flash mobbing. Imagine CRS exists, and you go to their website, provide your mobile contact info, sign their agreement indicating you volunteer for future Games.

At some point, you get a message on your cell phone or other mobile device. It might tell you something like, "Appear at The Red Lobster restaurant at 123 Main Street at 8:19pm tonight. Walk up to this person (photo included), make sure he has your full attention, and then say these words exactly: 'They're here. They know. Don't go back to your table. Get in the cab outside immediately.'" and then walk away and don't turn back." That would be it. Then maybe weeks or months later you get another CRS request to do another task. It's like flash mobbing only on individuals. Of course, who's to say if in the end the game is on you the volunteer? Creepy just thinking about it!

2. Ghostbusters Mobile Game:
Think of the original Ghostbusters movie. Imagine a game that required GPS-sensitive mobile devices that had a decent graphical display. The way the game works is you and the other players are given an "assignment" (along the lines of a "quest" in a DND game) to go to a certain building, say, a library. You all show up, and then you wander the aisles of the library looking for the "ghosts". When you reach a certain point, your mobile device shrieks that the ghost is right in front of you, and you and your teammates have to try to capture it. (Unlike "hits" in a dungeon game where the object is to kill the monster, in this game the object would be to capture the monster.) If one of you is successful, then that player's mobile device would indicate ghost captured. You would then have to take the ghost to some other location in town where you can "dispose" of it --- and you get points for capturing it, and everyone else in the game learns what you caught. And when you "dispose" of it at the ghost disposal centre, there are high-res displays showing exactly what the ghost looks like. Then you're all given another "assignment" and the game continues.

You can easily expand the idea beyond Ghostbusters, that's just an analogy to help explain the idea. What I like about games like this is that they harken back to earlier computer games where imagination was a key element to the game.

UPDATE 16 Oct 2003: I remembered some more things that I suggested at this conference session. Just for completion's sake:

  • What about games in public events like NFL games or other stadium/arena events? For example, instant coordination of a fancy "wave" or other crowd formation based on what your mobile device tells you to do (stand, sit, wave hands, yell something, etc.)

  • Along the same lines.... type in and send song suggestions via mobile device, so the band will come out and play what the majority of audience wants (of course this might result in Freebird!)

Also, here's a link to a blog wherein Mike Liebhold served as scribe, jotting down notes while the session was on. (Unfortunately that site lacks permalinks, so as this link ages, look for that site's October 13, 2003 entry).

Posted by brian at October 14, 2003 09:41 AM

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