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The Mobile Gaming Research Lab (MGRL) at North Carolina State University (NCSU) promotes interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research of mobile games as well as game studies in general. Housed in the Department of Communication, the MGRL focuses on the conceptualization and development of games that mix physical and digital spaces: hybrid reality games, location-based mobile games, urban games, pervasive games, mobile games, and augmented reality games.

Games are pervasive activities in human culture. The strong success of video and computer games during the last 20 years can make many forget that the physical environment has always been the primary playful space. However, if computers helped take games to digital spaces, the popularity of mobile technologies has taken games back to the physical. The pervasiveness of mobile phones, which allows people to walk around urban spaces connected to both the Internet and each other, encourages the creation of a new type of game arena that takes place simultaneously in physical and digital spaces. In these games, communication, collaboration, and interaction occur in hybrid spaces through a combination of the physical and the virtual.

Upcoming Event

Frans Mayra

The MGRL invites you to a brown bag lecture by Frans Mäyrä. 

From Mobile Gaming to a Pervasive Culture of Play

Thursday, Oct. 8 from 12-1 (please contact us for the webinar link)

The University of Tampere Game Research Lab has focused on studying some of the key emerging game and play forms over the last two decades, such as location-based mobile multiplayer gaming, pervasive play, games with digital distribution and micropayments, social network games, and hybrid playful designs. Much of such work has been based on a combination of humanities, social sciences, and design research work to build bridges between theoretical and foundational research and applied for future-oriented work. In this short talk, professor Frans Mäyrä will discuss his experiences from this kind of combinations of academic and creative work, focusing on the differences of studying games versus play, and will then move to outline the history, potential, and need of theory for what he calls “pervasive culture of play.”


The MGRL's Goals are to:

  • Contribute to the interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research on games, and specifically mobile games.
  • Offer interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate courses for communication majors, and in collaboration with other departments.
  • Contribute to the development of mobile and location-based games for uses in educational settings.