The paper aims at reflecting on the potential of digital games to convey meaning, tell stories and, most importantly, become a tool to discover and experience the actual world. Using as a case study the experience of the Urban Histories Reloaded. Creatività videoludica per azioni di cittadinanza (Urban Histories Reloaded. Digital Game Creativity for citizenship actions) project (UHR), we will discuss the role digital games can play in activating territorial processes, by favouring the engagement with the actual world as well as with playful approaches to city living.
In particular, we will focus on the artist residency for game designers, game artists, and game programmers held in Padua between September and October 2020 within the frame of the project and on its main outcome, the mobile game MostaScene. MostaScene consists of a fifteen-minute mobile game set in District 5 Armistizio-Savonarola of Padua. Both its design and its overall content have intertwined with the urban space since the very beginning.
Above all, we will inspect the use of digital games for city-making actions via two different paths: on the one hand, through the involvement of stakeholders (public institutions and specific groups, but also and most importantly citizens) as co-designers; on the other hand, using digital games as non-functional experiences that may encourage innovative interpretations of the urban space for player.
From a theoretical perspective, this research requires us to look at digital games as both fictional worlds that involve imagination and interpretation, as well as digital worlds that are experienced as part of reality in a phenomenological sense. Once this is acknowledged, we can provide an overview of how games can tackle reality and engage with the actual world.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Stefano Caselli, Farah Polato, Mauro Salvador