With behaviour change through soft paternalism the flavour of the month with the UK government, London's underground network, buses and 'Boris bikes' (the city's bike scheme) are being turned in to a massive multiplayer game for millions of commuters.
Developed by digital production company Mudlark
(the team behind Contagious favourite, Such Tweet Sorrow
) in partnership with Transport for London
takes the data created by the use of London's travel cards known as Oyster Cards and Bike Hire Keys to create an ambient game billed as 'Risk meets Foursquare'. In addition to simply registering where a commuter has been on the network, the game records other metrics such as journey time and frequency, and then encourages users to embark on missions (such as 'Get Off One Stop Early'), collect items, gain points and capture stations. Participants can play on their own and form a team amongst friends.
It's hoped that through interacting and experiencing their own data, and by taking part in the competitive elements of the game, the experience of the daily grind across the city will be lightened for users - and that a thirst for points based games will encourage them to explore new areas and occasionally opt for a brisk walk over taking the tube.
Whilst the next generation of smartphones are set to have RFID and NFC technology incorporated, London's Oyster Card system has long featured them and as such provides the perfect tool though which to play the game, being as good as ubiquitous for Londoners and a part of everyday life in the city.
According to Toby Barnes
, managing director of Mudlark: 'We wanted to create a game that didn't require you to have a smartphone and avoided the culture of mobile oriented check-ins.
'We also wanted to build a game layer on an existing infrastructure - we asked, "what multipliers could you get out of real life"?'
'We see Chromaroma as an entertaining and practical way of showing people how they move about a city and showing London how it is used.'www.chromaroma.com