Adventure Park to become Magic Park
An Auckland tech startup that is aiming to use technology to get children off the couch and outside has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money.
Geo AR Games has set an initial target of $10,000 and already nearly 50 backers have pledged more than half of that amount, with three weeks days still to go on the campaign.
Co-founder Melanie Langlotz said the business wanted to use the money to fund product development and educate more parents about healthy gaming options.
If the funding target is reached the business could finish the development of Sharks in the Park, the company’s first product.
Adventure Park in Whitby has been chosen as one of a handful of New Zealand sites to pilot the new Digital Playground app, called Magical Park. The app will also feature Fantasia Land, where children can chase after kittens.
The game uses geospatial augmented reality to combine a virtual world with the real world – the user can run around a park holding a mobile device in front of them while collecting virtual schools of fish and trying to avoid virtual sharks.
The game cannot be played inside and the bigger the area outside, the bigger the world that can be explored.
‘‘A lot of parents have trouble getting their kids to go outside because they are so addicted to technology.
‘‘We want to use our game to reconnect them with nature,’’ Langlotz said.
‘‘The game coaxes kids outside and after playing for 30 minutes or an hour of running around, they tend to get interested in activities they had forgotten about, and then naturally start to play tag or hide and seek.’’
If the Kickstarter campaign reaches $75,000, it would allow Geo AR Games to build a function that would allow users to create their own imaginary worlds and then interact with them when they go outside and explore.
The company was also one of nine to be chosen for the first female-focused Lightning Lab business accelerator programme.
Through that programme, it has recruited former Weta designer and developer Taylor Carrasco.
The programme finishes with a demo day in June, when all the teams pitch to investors.
Amie Wolken, left, Taylor Carrasco and Melanie Langlotz of Geo AR Games want to change children’s relationships with technology.