O jornal cultural, e gratuiro, Montreal Mirror publicou essa semana uma matéria sobre o jogo pervasivo Geocaching. Geocaching é jogado em todo o mundo onde os jogadores devem encontrar coisas – caches – a partir de dados de localização com GPS e outras dicas misteriosas. O mapa abaixo mostra os inúmeros caches aqui em Montreal.

Esses jogos, com o uso de mídias locativas, criam formas de espacialização, possibilitam novas cartografias mentais e produção de heterotopias (função dos lugares) e sociabilidade. Escrevi na introdução de um recente artigo (ainda no prelo):

“Pervasive Computer Games (PCGs) combine digital mobile technologies and location-based systems by creating an interface between electronic and physical spaces for playing. Our goal here is to show how the new digital mobile technologies produce spacialization, i.e., a social production of space, particularly with the PCG. Spatialization is achieved through the use of technology, sensors and digital mobile networks (smart phones, palms, GPS and AR devices, RFID chips and GSM / GPRS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Radio), creating informational territories. Play is, at the same time, the way to use the space and to result in social appropriation of mobile technologies and networks. (…) The goal is to examine, based on the history of the PCG, the forms of spatialization created by the use of location-based services and location-based technologies. At the end of this chapter, I will analyze 73 PCGs (from 2000 to 2008) to identify the forms of spatialization. We will see that the PCG uses informational territories to produce two temporary heterotopias: 1) the use of physical space for the game (hunt and chase are the majority), and 2) the relationship between physical space and space electronics (LB games are hegemonic).”

Vejamos, por exemplo, como, segundo jogadores entrevistados na matéria do Mirror, esse jogo produz espacialização:

“I’ve discovered parks I never knew existed in my own neighbourhood because of geocaching,” says Jason Nadeau, aka DigitalMind. “I’ve met new friends through geocaching and even found neighbours who do it.”

“When visiting, players receive the coordinates and usually a clue as to where to look. GPS devices are precise, but even the correct destination covers a few square metres. “Once you get around 20 metres to the cache, you need to look with your eyes, not your GPS,” says André Vandal, aka AV Design, who previously was a director of Geocaching Quebec and designed the organization’s geocoin memento. “In the forest, it’s easier because no one is ever going to find it accidentally, but in the city, it can’t be much bigger than a 35mm film container. You have to look in places where the cache can be hidden all year round.”