The New York Times’ recent and very serious interactive feature cataloging 43,634 distressed properties in Detroit got us at the Games Blog wondering. How many other developers have exploited the mammoth trove of highway and byway imagery that is Google Street View to create interactive experiences? Lots, it turns out. While Street View is nearly a game in itself, other applications have layered on the tropes, fleshing out Google’s atlas with zombie teeth, simulated abductions and jungle vines.
Among the most sophisticated guess-where-you-are games, Pursued (Chrome Store) presents a minor back story that turns out to be not that important in the overall experience. The biggest upshot of this suspense-themed Street View novelty is its leveling structure, and the extra attention that’s gone into creating its increasingly difficult stages.
Street View Zombie Apocalypse
A diamond in the rough, Street View Zombie Apocalypse has you wandering around on foot as rather intimidating map markers appear on screen as hastily drawn “walkers” and then try to devour your flesh. Fun for a while, especially in your own neighborhood.
Emma, the most impressionistic of the bunch, passes Street View images through an extreme desaturater and juxtaposes them with excerpts pulled randomly from a dream database. Far funnier and more interesting than it sounds.
My favorite guess-the-spot game because it gives you multiple choices instead of requiring you to plop down a marker or type in a name. Locatestreet also provides hints, but each deducts slightly from the points you receive from each correctly identified locale.
Urban Jungle Street View
Fascinating! Using Google Earth data, a Swedish developer created this web application which superimposes three-dee renderings of vines and trees and stuff over buildings, creating the impression that any burg (see Downtown Milwaukee above) has been overrun by the tendrils of nature. Urban Jungle, which, fair warning, sucks a lot of juice from your browser and PC, works best in large cities and other areas with big buildings.
Not the most game-like, Map Crunch extracts a random vantage point from Street View then zooms back, creating a higher-resolution, fish-eyed viewing dome of exotic destinations. Almost as good as a real vacation.