That’s how Locomatrix sees the world of gaming these days. From the bedroom back into the real world. Locomatrix is a UK-based company that develops location-based games.
If you’ve got a GPS-enabled phone or a compatible phone with a GPS receiver, you can download the Locomatrix application. Add some friends and a wide, open space to start playing. From their video, it seems that the wider the space, the more fun you’re bound to have.
Locomatrix creators, Richard Vahrman and Moira Nangle, who described themselves as ‘keen walkers’, wanted to make game that would encourage kids to play oudoors. They already used GPS in their walks and so they devised their idea around this technology. The company also believes in keeping Locomatrix an open platform and want to encourage other developers to create their own games. They’re looking into expanding their game offerings to include role-playing, strategy, games of cooperation, team competitions and a lot more.
This development in gaming appeals to me a lot since it goes back to the basics. It brings back memories of play experienced as children: the exploration, thrill and shared adventures. This trend comes as no surprise as this fervent childhood memory of play, discovery and imagination has given birth to classics like the Legend of Zelda and has been the foundation of Dungeon and Dragons.
In our very own Amsterdam, the Waag Society has already started on location-based games about four years ago with Frequency 1550. It’s a mobile learning game using mobile phones and GPS-technology intended to help students increase awareness and interest in history and educational abilities (interpreting historical sources and reference), while at the same time enhancing communication & collaboration skills (game tactics. Through this citygame, Waag Society is researching ‘…whether actively experiencing history through the immersing qualities of a (location-based) game and the creation of your own media (pictures, sound, video) adds to the understanding and appreciation of the city and its history.’
I did a similar project at school around the same time Frequency 1550 came out in the news. It was called the ‘Amsterdam Mobile Adventure’. It was a mobile game intended to promote the city of Amsterdam by inviting tourists to a ‘quest’. They would decipher clues and hunt for information by going to different places, which would earn them enough points to get rewarded. Rewards take the form of discounts and offerings from participating business establishments in Amsterdam. Sadly, as with most school projects, I never got to see this take off. But maybe it’s not yet too late?…