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?
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?!
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?
Mimis (in their unnatural habitat)
Coolest Family Photo Evar…with a DRAGON!
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