Scaling Up for Tourism

It isn’t often in geography that you are able to get a 1:1 ratio on anything but a post this week by Luke Y. Thompson about the classic table top game The game of LIFE shows that Yoron Island in Japan is going to give it a try or “Super Terrific Japanese Thing: Yoron Island to become Real-Scale Game of Life.”   The post references news by RocketNews24 and Yoron Island Tourism.   The shape of Yoron Island mirrors the shape of the game board in the The Game of LIFE.  The Yoron Town Chamber of Commerce youth were brainstorming ways to increase tourism, since the island is still in reconstruction following typhoons last year. At the same time,  Hasbro’s game of The Game of LIFE is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year and is enjoyed by families across Japan and the world. Therefore, they decided to create a real life –  “Game of Life Island, Yoron.” Visitors to the island will be able to play LIFE in real scale from July 20, 2013 – September 16, 2013.  Yoron Island is part of the Amani Islands Quasi- National Park and is located in the Kagoshima prefecture. Kagoshima is home to Kagoshima University and the Kagoshima Institute of GIS and GPS Technology.

The question of what size would a game environment be to scale in the real world is one that gamers and artists often ask themselves. In 2011, artist Aram Bartholl provided a good background essay on why he wanted to build a full-sized Counter-Strike game map in the Game Informer Show. In his proposal, he says that games are a form of cultural heritage because millions of people have a shared spatial memory of the game space. While he was talking about 3D game environments, this is could possibly be even more true of older board games such as LIFE.

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