Chromaroma: Play The Public Transport System
Londoners now can play a game while traveling with the Underground. Chromaroma is a new and innovative game that enables commuters to play the city while they are traveling. Instead of getting frustrated of having no place to sit, people standing in your aura and delays, the daily trip to work becomes a highlight of the day. “Chromaroma lets you play the city as you travel. Using your Oyster Card and Bike Key, It tells you stories, gives you points, and visualizes your movements on an interactive map of London.”
Key challenge of the game, which was also mentioned by Ajantriks in his last article, is to conquer stations by checking in with the public transport card. While doing so, players gain points and receive information about the stations. Being on the move means gaining points, occupying stations and getting to know more of the city. When home again an interactive map of personal movements and accomplishments will be available online. Players can also join teams and capture stations for their team, based on the amount of check-ins to the system of its team members. Whichever team owns the most stations at the end of a season takes London and wins the game. Besides offering commuters distraction on the daily trips to their work, Chromaroma also tries to inspire people to discover new places by organizing missions and offering ‘items’ that can be picked up.
The special missions are comparable to the badges that location-based social network Foursquare gives away for specific check-ins. With names like ‘ghost hunting, ‘diamond runner’ and ‘hipster’, the missions in Chromaroma are organized as campaigns, which means that players have a limited amount of time to accomplish them. Players gain extra points when they have accomplished a mission. The ghost hunting mission (100 points) demands players to visit Becontree between 11:00 pm and 01:00 am within five days.
“Becontree is rumored to be haunted by a faceless woman with long blonde hair, spotted on numerous occasions by the staff there. Go there late at night, and hope you don’t see her… This mission is the beginning of a chain of missions related to ghost sightings on the Underground. More missions will unlock as you complete the early ones. Keep progressing through the chain and you’ll make some big scores at the end of it.”
Nobody has accomplished this mission yet, but some players did finish other missions. Although quite some Londoners play Chromaroma already, no-one will actually see people playing it. We won’t see people running in the tube, like people did when playing former generation urban games such as Capture the Flag, which could be considered the analogue version of Chromaroma. Also no apps or mobile devices are needed in order to play the game — the only visible move in the game is touching an Oyster Card onto an electronic reader. Nobody will recognize you being part of a game while doing that. The game is completely invisible and therefore pretty exiting to play.