‘Can You See Me Now?’ by Blast Theory
Can You See Me Now? was a chase game played simultaneously on the internet and real city streets. The game explores the impact that new technologies can have in a city and their potential to offer new experiences of the urban environment. Through a series of research visits to the city, Blast Theory created a 3D virtual representation of Preston city centre, which formed the basis of the game. Over two days in July 2007, people across the globe were able to explore the city’s streets and landmarks by logging on to the Web and participating in the game. While these players moved through the virtual streets of Preston, ‘runners’, tracked by satellites, chased them across the real city centre.
Can You See Me Now? brought the world to Preston, and players from as far afield as Brazil and Saudi Arabia logged on to explore the city. Closer to home, people could play the game on computer terminals, which were set up in the Guild Hall shopping arcade and in city centre cafes. Although the game has been played in a number of other locations, including Tokyo and Seattle, the Preston version attracted the greatest number of ‘hits’ the game had ever received.