PAC-LAN: Zombie Apocalypse
A Location Based Game that explores gameplay within a combined digital and physical public space.
4 Academic Researchers
In relation to his PhD, Adrian Gradinar is interested in how the digital public space will evolve within the Internet of Things and how people will navigate a heterogeneous space that simultaneously includes both the physical and the digital. As a way of exploring this further, he has created a mobile location based game, PAC-LAN: Zombie Apocalypse that incorporates physical NFC objects that serve to anchor the virtual game objects within a real physical space. In particular, he is trying to emphasise the interaction between the player and their physical surroundings as opposed to the one between them and their mobile phone.
As opposed to the original PAC-MAN game, PAC-LAN: Zombie Apocalypse is comprised of the digital, represented by available features of the game on the mobile phone, and the physical, embodied by the physical anchors located at predefined positions (RFID enabled Frisbees that represent the virtual pills). In this game, one player takes the persona of Pac-Lan where the other 4 players, the ones of the Zombies . The play of the game is simple and requires Pac-Lan to ‘collect’ as many pills as he/she can before being captured by a Zombie. In a similar vein to the original Pac-Man, some of the pills give Pac-Lan the opportunity of capturing Zombies. Each players phone displays a customised version of an Open Street Maps layer, showing which pills they have collected or still have to collect. At each pill scan, the player also receives last known locations from when all other active players tagged a pill. However as these locations are ambiguous in time, the players need to focus more on navigating their surrounding rather than relying on the information provided by their phones.