Location gaming

We had a great meeting yesterday for our funding application, though everyone has so many great ideas that the biggest challenge is going to be scoping those ideas into something achievable. Barring a couple of extra questions, everybody seems reasonably happy with the survey I drafted, so all we’re waiting for now is the green light from ERGO, the university’s ethics monitoring system.

My team mate Mark showed me a game I hadn’t seen before, Ingress, from Google and currently only available on Android phones. At it’s heart is a reasonably simple geocaching mechanic based on public artworks, but around that is a territory capture mechanic that smacks of Feng Shui RPG and the Invisibles and on top of it all, what appears to be a captivating story line. On top of that players are playing the game in a way that I don’t think was intentional, using the mechanics to create virtual two-colour artworks across the maps. All in all it’s something I want to play, but I only have an iOS phone :(

Other location based games came up in the conversation around the survey too. SCVNGER is a very commercial game, looking to more obviously monetise Foursquare’s behaviors. Chromarama looks more fun, like Ingress, a game of territory capture, and it looks a lot of fun for Londoners or commuters with a bit of time on their hands.

Another game for Londoners is Magic in Modern London, an iPhone app produced by our old friends at the Wellcome Trust (an institution which also gave us High Tea). This is a scavenger hunt of a different sort, based upon an exhibition put on at the Welcome Collection back in 2011. This isn’t something that came up in yesterday’s conversation, but instead brought to my attention by an article in today’s Guardian. Which also tells us that its not just Londoners getting all the fun. One of the brains behind that game is currently working on one for Oxford museums, called Box of Delights. I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

These are the challenges. And looking at them it feel quite daunting. Can our project manage to produce a similar (or dare I say it, an even better) experience using only extant platforms?