“It’s about what we take with us and what we leave behind”: Investigating the transformative potential of pervasive games with various stakeholders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This study investigates the experiences of various stakeholders in What We Take With Us (WWTWU), a wellbeing-focused pervasive game comprised of an alternate reality game (ARG), a room-based game, and game-based workshops. Utilising narrative inquiry, the research explores the perspectives of the game’s designer, developer, ARG players, room players, and workshop participants, offering a holistic understanding of a multifaceted game. These narratives highlight unique player experiences including the duality of being both player and creator, how games can catalyse lifechanging decisions, the importance of communities to wellbeing, the benefits of physical play spaces, and questions surrounding the nature of games. Findings align with existing pervasive game design principles, emphasising their ability to generate emergent narratives and benefits, their transformative potential, and their effective community utilisation. However, the findings also underscore challenges faced by creators, such as the need to accommodate diverse player types within such communities, difficulties navigating preconceived notions of game experiences, as well as the need for further research into notions of “space and place” in games. Although insightful, the study’s limited sample size and specific geographical context may impact the generalisability of its findings. Future research into WWTWU and pervasive games more generally could therefore benefit from diverse sample sizes and deployment in a myriad of broad cultural contexts. Finally, the study underscores that, in the end, games’ success relies on the individual experiences of all their stakeholders, what they take with them, and what they leave behind.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInteractive Storytelling
Subtitle of host publication16th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2023, Kobe, Japan, November 11–15, 2023, Proceedings, Part I
EditorsLissa Holloway-Attaway, John T. Murray
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783031476556
ISBN (Print)9783031476549
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2023
Event16th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling: ICIDS 2023 - Kobe, Japan
Duration: 11 Nov 202315 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference16th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling


  • pervasive games
  • narrative inquiry
  • wellbeing
  • transformative play
  • emergence

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