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On Saturday I decided to use the garden of the Royal Library in Copenhagen through locative gaming, initially Pokémon Go. A couple of months ago, the Danish press reported that the high number of Pokémon Go’s players was crowding the garden’s space, which resulted in more complaints due to the increase of noise in the library, some difficulties in walking in the garden, dificulty to discard the garbage etc. For instance, last summer the number of visitors to the library’s garden increased considerably due to Pokémon Go (find here some pictures of people playing Pokémon Go there).

As we are in low temperature times considering the iminence of the winter, the was nobody there plaiyng Pokémon Go besides me – just only a couple of tourists visiting the garden. Thus, it was not possible experience the space full of players and became boring to play Pokémon Go without people to accompany me in raid battles, for instance.

So I decided to use the space in the Royal Library garden to play another locative game with less dependence of other players presence: I started a Geocahing match. There is one cache hidden in the garden, close to  the (No, I’ll not tell you where!!). When I was looking for this cache, I realized an important distintion between the gameplay of Pokémon Go and Geocaching, specially regarding game mechanics and puzzles matters. 

While Pokémon Go concentrates its mechanics and puzzles on the smartphone’s display, i.e. to catch Pokémons, to battle in Gyms etc., Geocaching forces the player to search for game items – the caches – on the physical space. The user interface of Geocaching only helps the player to launch the cache’s location; but to find them, he has to search between trees, inside holes, sticked in walls and so on. The player in Pokémon Go has to walk throught the space, but otherwise all agencies should be done on the user’s interface.

Perhaps this distinction could be useful to help the game designer to develop mechanics and puzzles that suits to the project he is working on. Or merely this classification between puzzles on the user interface and puzzles on physical space will be useful to improve our understanding of game mechanics and locative gaming.