Research and Reports

Our featured publications include:

Locally Played: Real-World Games for Stronger Places and Communities. In this 2020 book, Benjamin Stokes describes the rise of games that can connect strangers across zip codes, support the “buy local” economy, and build cohesion in the fight for equity. With a mix of high- and low-tech games, Stokes shows, cities can tap into the power of play for the good of the group, including healthier neighborhoods and stronger communities. By pairing design principles with a range of empirical methods, Stokes investigates the impact of several games, including Macon Money, where an alternative currency encouraged people to cross lines of socioeconomic segregation in Macon, Georgia; Reality Ends Here, where teams in Los Angeles competed to tell multimedia stories around local mythology; and Pokémon GO, appropriated by several cities to serve local needs through local libraries and open street festivals. 

2018 report: “Cities Remix a Playful Platform: Experiments to Embed Pokemon GO.” Funded by Niantic and the Knight Foundation, this is the first major report to show how city government, festivals and libraries can align AR (augmented reality) fans and platforms with their local goals. Based on research in five cities, the report shows how cities must be proactive to align games with their own campaigns and events — from walking tours at neighborhood libraries to Open Street Festivals.

2016 report: “Impact” with Games — rethinking “impact” with games, and how the right language is crucial to overcome fragmentation. In partnership with Games for Change, with funding from the Packard Foundation.

Additional selected publications