Big City Arcade

Modern smartphone technology turns public space into a stage for performative video gaming culture. In gaming, augmented reality – the overlay of digital projections onto real world environments – is the latest trend: It allows players to interact with a second, virtual reality displayed on their mobile screens.

Trinity College Dublin, one of Europe’s most prestigious universities and situated in the Irish capital’s city center, is used to a steady stream of tourists. Recently, however, these have started to show some odd behaviors. Instead of exploring the grounds, inspecting the college’s venerable old halls, peering into guide books, or discussing famed alumni like Oscar Wilde or Bram Stoker in hushed tones, they have started to scan the eminent college through their smartphone screens.

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