Locative Life: Geocaching, Mobile Gaming, and Embodiment

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Executive Summary

This paper analyzes a worldwide GPS treasure hunt game that is played in over 200 countries with game pieces that travel the globe and are tracked online. The game players hide geocache containers in public areas, marking them with GPS coordinates. Players use their mobile devices (from GPS receivers to iPhones) to track down the container, sign the log, and leave tradable and trackable items in the cache. This mobile game offers the perfect example of the blending of material and virtual interfaces, notions of presence and absence, visible and invisible, and utilitarian and playful purposes of everyday objects.

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