Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002


Waterloo Travelator

if you’re a Londoner, or visit London from time to time, then Chromaroma may interest you. It’s a location-based game, sort-of similar to Foursquare, but much more focussed on the game aspect. To play, you need an Oyster card (having a ‘Boris’ Bike Hire account is optional).

The service then tracks the stations that you touch your Oyster card into, and awards points. The more stations you check into, the more points you get.

But there’s a bit more to it. First of all, you join one of four coloured teams which fight for control of each tube station – by checking in, you help your team conquer that station. You can also accept challenges; some are simple, i.e. visit a tube station attached to a main line National Rail station, but others require a little more thought and co-ordination. And you can build up collections, such as visiting every station in Camden, all the stations on one line (Waterloo & City being very easy to get) , all stations that start with E or all stations with ‘bridge’ in their name for example. All stations on London Underground are there, plus those on the Overgound and Docklands Light Railway. Finally, there’s a global leaderboard so you can see how you compare to other users, and a cool map in Flash which visualises your week’s journeys.

It’s fun, and effortless – unlike services like Foursquare or Gowalla you don’t have to get your mobile out, hope for a signal and manually check-in; it automatically gets your Oyster card history and works from that.

The downsides are that there’s a time delay of several days between you touching in to a station and Chromaroma updating, and there aren’t that many users yet – none of my Facebook or Twitter friends have made it over.

As you may know, I’m already a fan of London’s transport systems and this just makes them even more awesome. Give it a try..

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