I originally set out to write one post about three augmented reality experiences with geolocation hooks I played recently. But after writing more words than I had planned to, I’ve split this up into three installments. Last week was Seek’s promotion of The Mummy movie. Enjoy!
Recently, when I was stricken with strep throat I might have accurately predicted that the next new geolocation game would feature a property as hot as Garfield, but only a high fever could have possibly done so. I received
spam an email from Munzee, another geolocation game I’ve dabbled in, announcing Garfield GO.
My anger at having been sold out turned into confusion and curiosity. Why Garfield? Why was Munzee, a fairly well-respected app in the geolocation community, promoting this thing whose name alone was a blatant ripoff? But also, why Garfield?
Coming off of Seek’s promotion of The Mummy I was certain that Garfield GO existed in coordination with a movie sequel announcement featuring the orange cat. I couldn’t, however, find any confirmation that another movie was even being made, let alone being released. Apparently, at least at the time of this posting, it’s just a plain old Garfield-based geolocation game. It’s a bad one too.
Garfield GO is a ripoff on so many levels. Its mechanics are almost exactly like Seek’s, to a point that I wonder if they’re both based on some basic geolocation game template. The only thing Garfield GO has going for it is the goal to collect and assemble classic strips of the comic. It’s not much, but at least it gives the game a teeny more purpose than what Seek has to offer.
I like Garfield, the comic. It filled a particular niche for me as a kid. I had graduated beyond the simple humor of Peanuts and needed to feed a developing a sense of sarcasm. Still, as with Seek, Garfield GO does nothing to establish a feeling of exploration when you’re playing. The spots you walk to are randomly generated and it’s an empty experience when you get there. You get the coin if you successfully toss food into Garfield’s bowl, food which is its own currency of sorts; I won’t go into those mechanics as it’s all terribly boring.
It’s clear the app intends to add more features later but there’s nothing within the game’s basic structure that tells me that those updates will be anything more than just more grinding for meaningless currency and prizes.
There was one interesting phenomenon that came along with the launch of Garfield GO. I jumped on the game pretty quickly, posting my bafflement to Twitter and just as quickly I was swarmed by accounts desperately telling me that this would be the next Pokémon Go and I should buy stock immediately.
As someone who doesn’t actually own any stock, for a brief moment, for a laugh, I actually did consider it. The moment passed.
Months later everything came together as Munzee announced a merger with the company that made Garfield GO. This same company also acquired Wallabee so clearly they’re intent on gobbling up every mediocre geolocation game possible. I love it.
Next week: Shakira