Paper to Pixels: A Chronicle of Map Interfaces in Games

Published in Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference, 2020

Recommended citation: Toups, Z. O., LaLone, N., Spiel, K., & Hamilton, B. (2020, July). Paper to Pixels: A Chronicle of Map Interfaces in Games. In Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference (pp. 1433-1451). https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3357236.3395502?cid=87259569357

Game map interfaces provide an alternative perspective on the worlds players inhabit.compared to navigation applications popular in day-to-day life, game maps have different affordances to match players' situated goals. To contextualize and understand these differences and how they developed, we present a historical chronicle of game map interfaces. Starting from how games came to involve maps, we trace how maps are first separate from the game, becoming more and more integrated into play until converging in smartphone-style interfaces. We synthesize several game history texts with critical engagement with 123 key games to develop this map-focused chronicle, from which we highlight trends and opportunities for future map designs. Our work contributes a record of trends in game map interfaces that can serve as a source of reference and inspiration to game designers, digital physical-world map designers, and game scholars.

Paper Available here

Toups, Z. O., LaLone, N., Spiel, K., & Hamilton, B. (2020, July). Paper to Pixels: A Chronicle of Map Interfaces in Games. In Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference (pp. 1433-1451).