Abstract Research ﬁeld trials of fully functional prototypes of location-based games are an effective way to test game designs and develop an understanding of what makes games compelling. They may also expose emergent behaviors or facets of the game which were not predicted in the design. Experiments are a good way to explore these emergent behaviors in a rigorous way. We describe an emergence-driven research methodology that formalizes this process of using emergent phenomena from research ﬁeld trials to drive experiments. We also describe a range of techniques that can be used to evaluate location aware experiences.