Games based on geolocation aren’t exactly the new kids on the block. Pokemon GO is the latest arrival and has revitalized this subgenre, but loads of other titles also boast gameplays based on trekking around your physical environment – which has been enhanced for the occasion by augmented reality and your Android’s geolocation features.
This game from Niantic Labs revolutionized everything. The Google-sponsored startup was launched in 2012 alongside (by invitation only) its game Ingress, which eventually came out for the general public and later on iOS as well. The idea, although revolutionary, is simple: go around the real world conquering so-called portals in an endless battle between two bands vying for control of the entire world. Users send real places to serve as these portals, turning any old monument or shop into a hotspot of dispute where you have to turn up to fight for your side.
What do the stars do in any decent zombie movie? They run, of course – run like there’s no tomorrow (as in fact there might not be). Zombies, Run! takes this idea and adapts it to – you guessed it – the world of running. Just put in your earbuds and set off at a jog while dodging hordes of the undead and collecting resources scattered around the streets. The appeal is that it has the main basic features of an exercise tracking app, but gamifies the experience to make those boring runs a bit more entertaining.
Not strictly a game but at least as fun – or maybe even more so. Geocaching is a super interesting hobby that stimulates tourism, exploration, and yes, adventure. The idea is to find real boxes with unknown contents hidden by other people around the world. The “treasure” might well be a simple paper where you add your own name or a box where you collect one item and leave behind another for the next person in the chain. Usually there’s a cultural component, too, as when you check the position of a box you’ll usually receive directions to where it’s found, which is often a point of interest to check out once you find it. We’ve already blogged long and hard about this fun activity.
The best definition for this game is the one provided by its own developers. Landlord is kind of like a large-scale virtual Monopoly game where you buy real properties around you to build a real estate empire. The game deploys the location database from Facebook and Foursquare, and you get “money” whenever someone visits a place you “own.” (Don’t freak out, by the way, this is all pretend!)