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Korean mobile phone users 'shoot to thrill'

Digital photography urban gaming concept revealed

Taking the concept of First Person Shooters away from the PC and into reality, mobile phone users in Seoul are participating in urban street battles where the only shots fired are from mobile phone cameras.

The strange but seemingly compelling new gameplay concept involves players displaying their mobile phone number in pride of place on the front and back of their torso, before hitting the densely populated city streets of Seoul.

A moderator will send an SMS message detailing the number of players and signalling the start of the game, and it then becomes a running battle as players dart through busy streets, hide in alleyways and busy shops, stalking through the city trying to photograph the 'enemy' whilst avoiding being 'shot' themselves.

Each time a digital photograph of another participant is taken, players send the picture via SMS to the 'shoot me if you can' website. If someone manages to photograph all opponents, they are declared the winner. Similarly, if they are photographed by all other participants, it's game over.

The concept behind the game stems from the idea of community gaming, where online gamers form clans and build team strategies, meeting up in the virtual world to plan their attack on their opponents. Shoot me if you can takes this idea back into the real world, as players meet up in real life, connect and communicate with mobile technology and use the real city streets as a playground for the imagination.

There is also a more artistic rationale for the game too, as players are often dashing through the streets to avoid being 'shot' and the pictures are normally blurred and include random passers-by and architecture from the bustling city. All the photographs are uploaded to the website, and can be viewed by anyone as a modernistic art form, using mobile phone cameras as a medium of expression and forming a continually updated montage of Seoul as seen by its inhabitants.

The unique interactive art concept, combining videogame ideas with the technology of mobile phones as an artistic expression reaches further than 'the game'. A collection of photos from 'shoot me if you can' will be on display in a series of exhibitions as part of the Urban Play and Locative Media Symposium.

Examples of games already played, building a frantic and fragmented picture of city life in Seoul can be found at www.flickr.com/photos/shootmegame.

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