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The development of online gaming is another attempt to integrate different means of
interaction outwith a game.This in particular may be of great relevance to the library
and information community. World War II Online, for example, has Websites in which
game strategies, weapons and real-world history are discussed. In another game, Majestic,
the boundaries between game and everyday life are blurred, as players can receive phone
calls, faxes and emails as part of everyday life. Everquest allows complex and simultaneous
in-game interaction between thousands of people, irrespective of their physical location.
In these games, people can exchange information, `fight', move through virtual worlds,
and observe the actions of other gamers. Unfortunately, to date and to its loss, the infor-
matics sector has not yet carried out a detailed investigation in to online gaming to see
which techniques, technologies and concepts may be transferable to systems using infor-
mation access, discovery and management.
G a m e s Te c h n o l o g y a n d t h e H e r i t a g e S e c t o r
Brief background
Games are designed to sell and, therefore, they have to be attractive, fun, challenging
and rouse our curiosity. Because of their growing ubiquity and increasingly attractive
graphics and packaging, people from many fields are looking at the potential of games
for exploiting delivery of their messages.The importance of games is illustrated by the
emergence of a number of game-oriented research institutions, amongst them Scotland's
Abertay Dundee and Liverpool's John Moores universities.
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Until quite recently, academic research and social response has focused not on the pro-
gramming of video games, but rather on the continuous societal concern related to vio-
lence and sex present in games and to behavioural habits which games may instil in chil-
dren. But now, increasingly, other academic faculties are getting involving with the gam-
ing sector including the arts (graphics and character design), music (soundtracks and spe-
cial effects), architecture (building design and layout), engineering (vehicle dynamics and
handling), history (providing accurate detail from real events and processes), geography
(presenting landscapes and settings), literature (collaborative script construction), biology
(accurate plant and animal growth and behaviour) and sports (how characters move).
One of the most exciting areas where research and cultural heritage institutions may
overlap in the gaming sector is that of education and learning.This can involve using
games to enhance learning and using the technologies and techniques to design and pro-
duce more effective learning software and material. Of course, this raises questions about
how games technology can be best presented in the museum environment.To ensure
that games are as unobtrusive as possible and blend in with the other displays and objects
will require a significant degree of forethought.
Games Technology
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108 IC CAVE research centre, University of Abertay Dundee, Scotland: http://www.iccave.com;
International Centre for Digital Content, Liverpool John Moores University and Mersey Television,
England: http://www.icdc.org.uk;
Digiplay Initiative, Centre for Research on Innovation & Competition at Manchester University and
Department of Psychology at University of Central Lancashire, England:
http://www.digiplay.org.uk/index2.php