Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 19, Issue 3–4, pp 495–508 | Cite as

Expanding social mobile games beyond the device screen

Original Article


Emerging pervasive games use sensors, graphics and networking technologies to provide immersive game experiences integrated with the real world. Existing pervasive games commonly rely on a device screen for providing game-related information, while overlooking opportunities to include new types of contextual interactions like jumping, a punching gesture, or even voice to be used as game inputs. We present the design of Spellbound, a physical mobile team-based game, to help contribute to our understanding of how we can design pervasive games that aim to nurture a spirit of togetherness. We also briefly touch upon how togetherness and playfulness can transform physical movement into a desirable activity in the user evaluation section. Spellbound is an outdoor pervasive team-based physical game. It takes advantage of the above-mentioned opportunities and integrates real-world actions like jumping and spinning with a virtual world. It also replaces touch-based input with voice interaction and provides glanceable and haptic feedback using custom hardware in the true spirit of social play characteristic of traditional children’s games. We believe Spellbound is a form of digital outdoor gaming that anchors enjoyment on physical action, social interaction, and tangible feedback. Spellbound was well received in user evaluation playtests which confirmed that the main design objective of enhancing a sense of togetherness was largely met.


Whole-body gestures Mobile game Wearable Team Speech recognition Social play Kinesthetic interaction 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MIT Media LabCambridgeUSA

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