Innovation That Matters

City guides reveal stories through urban adventures

Travel & Tourism

We continue to spot innovative ways of showcasing cities to travelers, whether it’s tours of London led by the homeless, tools for creating customized guides, or guides devoted to street art. However, we’ve recently come across a series of Italian guides that reveal stories to travelers as they are led on adventures around the city. WHAI WHAI offers guides to Venice, Rome, Florence, Verona and Milan — with New York currently being prepared. Players begin by sending a text message to WHAI WHAI, which can specify the number of hours they would like to play the game, the difficultly level, or the starting location. A series of enigmas are then sent to the player, each requiring local knowledge to solve before the next destination is revealed. As the adventure unfolds, the book provides the next installment of a narrative based on the city’s history. Each guidebook can be played twice, with a different series of challenges and stories. Players also have the option of challenging their friends to a game, where they will be led on different adventures that start and finish at the same locations. WHAI WHAI has now developed an iPhone application, currently offering guides to Venice and Verona — with further destinations to follow. The game unfolds in much the same way, but also employs the phone’s compass feature to guide players on their journey. There will never be a shortage of tourists hungry for the best local knowledge, and with the proliferation of online guides they are increasingly spoilt for choice. WHAI WHAI, however, has taken a different tack; proving that the medium can be as compelling as the message. Spotted by: Giulia Cuccolini



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