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Articles | Volume 1
15 Jul 2019
 | 15 Jul 2019

How to Play with Maps

Ross Thorn

Keywords: Play, Playful Maps, Games, Game Maps, Design, Interaction, Interactive Maps, Gamification

Abstract. Introduction: Cartographic design guidelines are traditionally grounded in the concept of work, striving for optimal efficiency and effectiveness when accomplishing tasks (Roth 2013a). Much like traditional maps, video game maps help players navigate through and make sense of complex and often realistic virtual geographies. While maps in video games have evolved with similar technology to traditional cartography (Ahlqvist 2011), these playful maps deviate from real-world maps in that they are designed to facilitate play and adhere to game design principles to create a challenging yet satisfying experience. My research investigates how the playful purpose of video game maps informs unique design choices in cartographic representation and interaction. Specifically, I examined how video game maps exhibit interactivity, immersiveness, incompleteness, and inclusiveness characteristics of playful maps through traditional cartographic frameworks and how video game maps utilize elements of interaction and representation as cartographic tools for play.

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