The Videogame Cultures Project: 6th Global Meeting: Video Cultures & the Future of Interactive Entertainment
Online community, Ingress, neo-mechanical solidarity, enclave community, global connectivity, social control, location-based mobile game, town planning, centre and periphery
This paper is an ethnographic account of the mobile gaming community of Ingress, a global game developed by Google that runs on mobile phones. Gamers from two factions have to travel, cooperate and combat across actual geographical space to play. The paper investigates: (1) New hybrid forms of physical-cyber interactions, such as urban flash mobs who unanimously stare at mobile phone screens, paramilitary hierarchy mobilized by communication channels, and loyalty by screen-name identities. (2) The strategy and behaviour of a group of gamers from the satellite town of Tuen Mun, Hong Kong. The group has a subculture that glorifies self-sacrifice and chastises internal members from liberal scoring. Members work hard to maintain a mega walled area of 70 square kilometres across physical urban space that materialises internal social control. The group has bonding that resembles a version of Durkheim’s mechanical solidarity. (3) How phenomena and data in a virtual game reflects real-world problems in commuting infrastructure, social isolation, and urban planning policies.
Siu, L. L. S. (2014, July). Carving a walled village to imprison friends : mechanical solidarity in the cyberspace of Ingress. Paper presented at The Videogame Cultures Project: 6th Global Meeting: Video Cultures & the Future of Interactive Entertainment, Mansfield College, Oxford, UK.
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