Cultural awareness building, social interaction and exploring the city environment
LucyZH (Ludic City Zurich) is an urban game for international students in the mixed-reality category: The players set out in groups of five, equipped with internet-capable iPads, on a two- to three-house treasure hunt through the streets of Zurich. They can visit up to 100 locations: nightclubs, parks, open-air swimming pools, churches and works of art, covering the gamut of the city’s cultural attractions. At each location, the groups pick up virtual quartet cards with their iPad, each containing a short info text and a photo. The group reaching the location first gets the highest number of points, and even more points every time they manage to make up a full quartet.
Cooperative vs. competitive gaming mechanics
The Toni quartet, for example, consists of cards for Mehrspur, the roof terrace (Dachterrasse), Chez Toni and Stammtisch. Groups also have the option of exchanging cards to compile and complete quartets.
The application also includes a quiz on local and national culture, politics and society, which the players complete along the way, to gather more points. The project aim is to create an informative, challenging and entertaining to build awareness of the issue of interculturality among both locals and recent arrivals.
Research and Development
The development process for LucyZH was supported by a research project. After each cycle of the game (September 2015 and February 2016), feedback from between 30 and 70 participants on each occasion was obtained with questionnaires and face-to-face interviews. The feedback results were then fed back into successive design iterations.
Another objective of the research project is to investigate the links between the specific mechanics of the game and the player experience, with special reference to the conditions required for flow. In the longer term, the researchers are interested in whether the game might provide insights into impacts regarding cultural awareness and intercultural exchange.
The Lucy urban game was developed by staff and Master’s degree students in the subject area of Game Design. It was funded by the International Office, the International Dossier and the Department of Design. The game is run on the Friday afternoon before the start of each semester (2X per year), with around 30–70 international students on each occasion. First game: September 2015.