User-Generated Content
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Author: Lisa Louise Davis
Publication Date: March 27, 2007

LEGs are a natural place for user-generated content.

User-generated content is any kind of media content that is produced by end-users, rather than professional writers, editors, and producers.  Trend watchers noting the recent explosion of user-generated content on the internet have spawned a number of terms for users who create their own content and share it with others, such as Generation C and crowdsourcing.

LEGs and user-generated content are a natural pairing, for a number of reasons:

  • The concept of associating user-generated virtual content with specific real-world locations is easy to convey to users.  Associating things with physical locations is an everyday human experience, as we humans have outfitted the real world with tons of user-generated content: buildings, parks, streets, cars, kids, etc. 
     
  • LEGs that are custom-tailored to specific locations can fully exploit the real-world fun potential offered by those locations.  For example, a location-specific LEG might incorporate:
    • The direction the VW bug was likely traveling when it was snatched by the troll under the Aurora bridge (in Seattle, WA)
    • The spot where the the shadow of the tip of the Washington Monument falls at noon on summer solstice(in Washington, D.C.)
    • The direction Gloria Swanson's footprints are headed (in Hollywood, CA)

But the task of selecting and "ground-truthing" locations (i.e., making sure they are suitable for play) can be time-consuming and expensive, and the world is too large a game space for any professional design team to custom-outfit all of it.  Players, OTOH, could outfit their own game spaces in the locations that work for them.

  • The real world can accommodate an infinite aggregation of virtual content tailored to the interests of different players.  Imagine a player walking the streets of Washington, D.C., who can "tune" a history game so that he encounters characters from the War of Independence, the Civil War, or the Civil Rights movement.  Another player walking the same streets might be on the lookout for virtual spies, gunmen, and briefcases full of unmarked bills.
Further Reading

The Wikipedia entry for User-generated content provides a good overview of trends in user-generated content.

An article in Trendwatching.com discusses the "avalanche of user-generated content that is building on the web, thanks to the contributions of  "Generation C."

Second Life is "a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by a total of 5,057,224 people from around the globe."

Copyright 2007 Glofun Labs