The reading “Games and Pervasive Games” by Montola concentrates on the idea of a pervasive game and how it “has one or more salient features that expand the contractual magic circle of play: spatially, temporally, or socially.” It distinguishes nonpervasive games like Super Mario Bros, where players step into the magic circle of an extraordinary mushroom-filled world with particular rules, from pervasive games like Killer, where the game world is synonymous with the “ordinary” world, lines are blurred between the ludic and ordinary, and the magic circle follows players wherever they choose to roam.
My question, then is if all ARGs are truly pervasive, or if, more generally, there are instances of gray areas where games can have both pervasive and nonpervasive aspects and straddle the line between both. Let’s take the example from the second reading, which discusses the ARG The Source, which “used digital storytelling, games, and emerging new media forms to explore emotional health issues, social justice, and civic responsibility, primarily with urban youth of color.” The ARG occurs from Monday to Friday through either online or on-campus aspects where students engage in games, activities, and exchanges with experts. From my perspective, this is a clear “magic circle” where kids after school enter a designated area with clearly set rules and expectations. The game stops, or rather, pauses, when students attend school or go about their daily lives during the weekend. The pervasive aspect only follows, then, through online interactions.
This, in my opinion, differs from Killer, where the magic circle never leaves the player, who needs to stay alert throughout all daily activities. I think that many ARGs strive to achieve a similar pervasiveness as Killer, though it often results in a game that has both pervasive and nonpervasive aspects. Some ARGs succeed in becoming extremely pervasive, where the player is truly convinced of his role in the world of the ARG and continues to solve puzzles and communicate via social media platforms even when they are off of designated game territories, while other ARGs struggle to maintain that sort of pervasiveness due to practical limitations.
I’m curious to see what you guys think about this topic, if you agree or disagree, or if you guys have other examples of games that have both pervasive and nonpervasive aspects. For example, is Pokemon Go a truly pervasive game? Would the example from page 76 from the “Worlding through Play” about “school as a large-scale game” or “gamified education” count as a pervasive game?