Blowtooth: a provocative pervasive game for smuggling virtual drugs through real airport security

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Kirman, Ben
Linehan, Conor
Lawson, Shaun
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In this paper, we describe a pervasive game, Blowtooth, in which players use their mobile phones to hide virtual drugs on nearby airline passengers in real airport check-in queues. After passing through airport security, the player must find and recover their drugs from the innocent bystanders, without them ever realising they were involved in the game. The game explores the nature of pervasive game playing in environments that are not, generally, regarded as playful or “fun”. This paper describes the game’s design and implementation as well as an evaluation conducted with participants in real airports. It explores the players’ reactions to the game through questionnaire responses and in-game activity. The technologies used in Blowtooth are, intentionally, simple in order for the enjoyment of the game to be reliant more on the physical environment rather than the enabling technologies. We conclude that situating pervasive games in unexpected and challenging environments, such as international airports, may provide interesting and unique gaming experiences for players. In addition, we argue that pervasive games benefit most from using the specific features and nature of interesting real-world environments rather than focusing on the enabling technologies.
Pervasive games , Airports , Mobile games , Non-players , Non-places , Provocative games
Kirman, B., Linehan, C. and Lawson, S. (2012) 'Blowtooth: a provocative pervasive game for smuggling virtual drugs through real airport security', Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 16(6), pp. 767-775. doi:10.1007/s00779-011-0423-z
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