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The Hidden Park

Posted by SpaceBass on June 2nd, 2009 filed in tips

The Hidden Park

Brace yourselves, for we are about to concoct a post without the use of our customary snark. In truth, we’re completely enamored of this new App for the iPhone (2G or later, App priced at $6.99) called “The Hidden Park” which combines elements of location-based gaming, augmented reality, and alternate reality gaming to produce a fantastical romp through real-world parks for kids and their parents. Says the creator, James Kane:

Kids follow a GPS enabled map, answer phone calls, and collect evidence of magical creatures.

I thought you’d be interested because it’s kind of like an ARG with training wheels. Currently it’s only available in specific parks, but we’re working on a version where parents can add their own parks.

Indeed, according to the website, the app works in Central Park in New York City, Boston Common in Boston, High Park in Toronto, Kensington Gardens in London, Englischer Garden in Munich, Royal Botanic Gardens in both Melbourne and Sydney, Botanic and Zoological Gardens in Hong Kong, and Ueno Park in Tokyo. ARGh, why not Portland?! Also, how come we want an iPhone so very, very badly again?

The Hidden Park - Stein
Stein (one of the animated characters)

Here’s a bit more detailed gameplay description from The Hidden Press Pack:

The adventure begins when the children receive a video call from a troll named Trutton, head of the Magical Wildlife Protection Association. Trutton explains that their park is in danger of being bulldozed by greedy developers. The kids must collect evidence to prove the existence of magical animals in their park.

The children navigate their way through the park by following a map that lets them know where the magical creatures live. Of course, Trutton’s map is magical – as they move past landmarks in the park the map tells them where to go next.

The children must solve puzzles and riddles on their way to the next destination. Clues to the answers can be found on the signposts in the park.

Following Trutton’s directions, the children take photos of various landmarks. As if by magic, Trutton’s fantastical friends appear in the photos – sometimes right next to the children! The photos are stored in a gallery, so at the end of the day the children have an album of their adventure.

Children then have the option of joining The Hidden Park online community, where they can enter their photos into weekly competitions and learn more about the game.

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to be able to take their picture with a dragon?!

The Hidden Park - Family
Family Posing with a Dragon

Bonus, if you’re in the area of New York City, you can try out the game for free at the Come Out and Play Festival 2009 from June 12 through 14. Also, we’ll be insanely jealous of you!

A couple more pics after the jump. Any readers out there who want to try this out and review the gameplay for us? At least until we can convince The Hidden Park to come to our town?

The Hidden Park - Mimis
Mimis (in their unnatural habitat)

The Hidden Park - Dragon
Coolest Family Photo Evar…with a DRAGON!

6 Responses to “The Hidden Park”

  1. James Kane Says:

    Portland is our next priority! You name a nice big park somewhere central and we’ll set it up for you.

    Anyone else who wants to join in, put your case at http://www.thehiddenpark.com/forum or mail us directly at parks@thehiddenpark.com

    Love ya work SpaceBass

  2. The ARGs are After Us « thehiddenpark.com Says:

    [...] has written some nice things about THP on despoiler – thanks for the enthusiasm [...]

  3. Fi Says:

    You shoulda called this post “The Hidden Snark” ;) . When I am next in Tokyo I might well buy this – I assume it won’t be in Japanese?! James if you want to do another one in Japan I live in Nagoya and can reccommend a park.

    Spacely, quell your desire for an iPhone. I only got one cuz they’re cheap here. Get an N95 – they really are much better. The iPhone has some good things – big screen, looks slick, the apps – but it is also disapponting in some ways. It is nowhere near as flexible as the Nokia with Symbian, and Apple almost go out of their way to restrict you and make things difficult. It will drive you crazy I think! Hope you are well.

  4. BrianEnigma Says:

    Some Portland park suggestions:

    * The Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a nice long, flat strip of park next to downtown.
    * Mount Tabor is a moderately sized extinct volcano park in SE Portland. It’s a fun location, but can be a bit hilly.
    * Forest Park is a gargantuan park (5100 acres) in NW Portland. It may be a little too large and sprawling for a game. It has 70 miles worth of trails.

  5. Emily Says:

    West Moreland and Laurelhurst might be really good – Berkley and Wilshire are small and would be good for younger families. PLEASE do this in Portland!

  6. Ouroboros Says:

    In Portland, I’d put forward the South Park Blocks, with the Halprin parks (Lovejoy and Pettygrove), as a nice area. Also one that people use and wouldn’t find out-of-their way for alternate exploration.

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