Magical Park offers a safer augmented reality for younger audiences

15 July 2016

Since May, Wellington City Council has been trialling a new app, Magical Park, in collaboration with the game’s New Zealand developer Geo AR Games, in parks around the city. Magical Park uses GPS technology to get users moving around the park to play within a set boundary.

Pokemon Go has everyone understanding what an augmented reality now is, however, players can end up so ‘involved’ in the game that they have the potential to place themselves in danger.

Magical Park is a safer game designed here in New Zealand for a younger audience. Recently launched in Wellington’s Waitangi Park, the main benefit of the game is that it has a digital boundary - so smaller children can run around collecting dinosaur eggs or being followed by kittens in a make-believe fairy land without the danger of being so engrossed that they find themselves in trouble.

The goal is to attract families with mobile game-loving kids and take them to the park to get some exercise. Sarah Murray, the Council’s Customer & Community Partnerships Manager, says: "The main reason we're doing this is to understand if it's a good way for us to provide another way to get kids into our green space."

Over June’s long weekend Kainui Reserve in Hataitai saw an influx of more than 100 new users.

"The trial at Kainui Reserve has been a real success, with kids using the game for an average of 25 minutes,” says Sarah. “We’re excited to now have a magical park available in the central city. 

"It’s got real promise in terms of using a digital device to get kids active. We know our kids spend a lot of time on their screens and the great thing about this game is it gets kids moving using their screens, as opposed to clicking while sitting on the couch."

You can download the app from the Apple and Android store and find out more information at Geo AR Games website.