Innovation That Matters

iPhone game gets kids into the (hidden) park

Work & Lifestyle

Regular Springwise readers may remember LocoMatrix, the location-based game we covered last year that kids play outside using GPS-enabled cell phones. Along similar lines, a new iPhone-specific counterpart aims to take kids on an eco-minded adventure through the park. Released early this month by Australian developer Bulpadok, The Hidden Park is a computer game for young families that makes the most of the iPhone’s features as it leads children into a fantasy world of trolls, fairies and genies. Families begin by downloading the app from Apple’s App Store for USD 6.99 and then heading to a nearby park—currently, the game supports a select group of parks in nine major cities around the world, including New York, London, Tokyo and Sydney. From there, children navigate their way through the real park by following a magical map that reveals where mystical creatures live. As kids move past landmarks in the park, the map tells them where to go next, with puzzles and riddles to solve in order to save the park from greedy developers. Children also take photos of various landmarks—and of the magical creatures who are said to live nearby—and can store those photos in a gallery for an album of their adventure that day. Taking full advantage of Apple’s technology, the Hidden Park uses the iPhone’s A-GPS feature to accurately pinpoint each player’s movements within the park and plot them against the interactive map that forms the heart of the game, for example. Through Location Based Services (LBS) technology, the game triggers particular animations and tasks as the user reaches key points along their journey. The phone’s accelerometer, meanwhile, allows users to shake the device to scatter mystical characters over any photographed image. The Hidden Park was created in collaboration with WSP Environmental. And while the game is currently focused on a set of key major parks, it can be adapted to others—in fact, the company is now working on a park builder that will allow parents to set up the game in their local park and share it with other parents. In the meantime, Bulpadok is also accepting nominations for additional parks to support in the game. As developed nations around the globe fight childhood obesity, there’s no doubt games like this will be welcomed with open arms; improving mobile technologies, meanwhile, are making more and more possible. How could *you* put the iPhone to work to slim down and entertain the world’s kids…? (Related: Gyms for kids use gaming to keep them hooked.) Spotted by: Judy McRae



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