Mixed reality game gets kids off the couch and outside to play

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Auckland Council has partnered with innovative New Zealand mixed reality experience designers GeoAR Games to get kids off the couch and outside to play, ahead of the winter school holidays.

The council has signed an agreement to trial GeoAR’s “Magical Park” digital playground app in eight parks around Auckland for two months from 4 July to 4 September.

“We’re always looking for innovative ways to get young Aucklanders more active more often and this new app from GeoAR Games means parents don’t have to wrestle smartphones and tablets off their children – they can take them with them to the park to play,” says Parks, Sport and Recreation Committee Chair Councillor Christine Fletcher.

The digital playground experience is aimed at children aged 6-11, allowing them to explore digital content in the real world by viewing it through their smartphone or tablet.

There are currently two themed worlds that users can download for free at the eight parks. “Augmentia” offers a fantasy theme, including a giant blue dragon, and “DinoLand” allows the player to interact with prehistoric playmates on large, flat grassy areas.

The parks that will host the trial are:

1. Long Bay Regional Park, Beach Road, Long Bay – near the Variety playground
2. Onepoto Domain, Onewa Road, Northcote – near the Community Hall
3  Victoria Park, Beaumont Street end, Auckland Central – near the skate park
4  Auckland Domain, 20 Park Road, Auckland Central – one area behind the Auckland War Memorial Museum and another near the duck ponds
5 Okahu Bay Reserve, 14 Tamaki Drive, Orakei – opposite the beach, near Watene Crescent
6 Roberta Reserve, 20-22 Roberta Ave, Glendowie
7 Harbourview People’s Park, Te Atatu Road and Gloria Ave roundabout, Te Atatu Peninsula
8 Pukekohe Hill Reserve, 340 Anzac Road, Pukekohe – below the loop road.
Each park has a game specifically designed for it and the games cannot be played outside the designated areas within the park.

“The game spaces will be in specified areas within the parks and reserves and will be signposted. Boundaries are pre-programmed to black out and show warning signs to stop children running into hazards or onto roads,” says Councillor Fletcher.

Players can go to www.geoargames.com/MagicalPark if they need game support during the trial.