Picture the Impossible: Designing, Deploying, and Evaluating a Community-Based Game

Elizabeth Lawley


Location-based games have been available for mobile phones and other devices since at least 2003, and are becoming increasingly popular and visible with the widespread adoption of smartphones and the successful introduction and widespread coverage of the popular game Pokémon Go!. This paper describes the design, implementation, and assessment of a seven-week-long, city-wide game with location-based and web-based components, by a team of university faculty and students, in collaboration with a local newspaper. It discusses the challenges and benefits of a design and development process shared between the two organizations, the many activities and mechanics comprising the game and their relative success in both engagement and impact, and the lessons learned for future development.