Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 767–775 | Cite as

Blowtooth: a provocative pervasive game for smuggling virtual drugs through real airport security

Original Article


In this paper, we describe a pervasive game, Blowtooth, in which players use their mobile phones to hide virtual drugs on nearby airline passengers in real airport check-in queues. After passing through airport security, the player must find and recover their drugs from the innocent bystanders, without them ever realising they were involved in the game. The game explores the nature of pervasive game playing in environments that are not, generally, regarded as playful or “fun”. This paper describes the game’s design and implementation as well as an evaluation conducted with participants in real airports. It explores the players’ reactions to the game through questionnaire responses and in-game activity. The technologies used in Blowtooth are, intentionally, simple in order for the enjoyment of the game to be reliant more on the physical environment rather than the enabling technologies. We conclude that situating pervasive games in unexpected and challenging environments, such as international airports, may provide interesting and unique gaming experiences for players. In addition, we argue that pervasive games benefit most from using the specific features and nature of interesting real-world environments rather than focusing on the enabling technologies.


Pervasive games Airports Mobile games Non-players Non-places Provocative games 



A preliminary, unpublished, version of this paper was presented at alt.CHI in the 2010 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. We are grateful to the alt.CHI community for the valuable discussion and ideas that have contributed to making this work stronger.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lincoln Social Computing Research Centre, School of Computer ScienceUniversity of LincolnLincolnUK

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