© 2017 Steve Poole. Published with licence by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The heritage industry now makes extensive use of digital audioguides and similar interpretation tools to reach new audiences but many remain rooted in authoritative and didactic conservatism. This paper critically evaluates the state of play in the field, from downloadable audio tours and apps, through more complex engagements with theatrically enhanced and affective simulation, to attempts at fuller dialogic visitor participation and the use of gps or RFID-triggered game mechanics. While ‘armchair’ and home screen-based game and interpretation models are addressed, particular attention is paid to the use of mobile and locative design, where embodiment in place is privileged over less associative or remote experience. The paper takes a research project led by the author as a case study. Ghosts in the Garden was conceived in collaboration with a museum and an experience design SME to test the potential of immersive, affective real world games on public understandings of history. It sought to engage visitors with researched history from below by using a pervasive media soundscape, the ‘ghosts’ of past visitors and a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ game mechanic in which outcomes are variable, visitor agency is retained and a more radical model of historical knowledge suggested.
Poole, S. (2018). Ghosts in the Garden: locative gameplay and historical interpretation from below. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 24(3), 300-314. https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2017.1347887