For kids who dream of being detectives, a new app may provide just the opportunity for those fantasies to become reality. Well, augmented reality at least.
The city of West Sacramento has teamed up with the makers of mobile app Agents of Discovery to bring its “educational mobile gaming platform that uses augmented reality to get youth active” to five parks around town through the end of July. The app allows kids ages 5-12 to get outdoors and complete missions to win prizes.
The game can be played by downloading the app from the Google Play Store on Android devices or the App Store on Apple devices and heading to one of the five participating parks. These include Bryte Park, Riverwalk Park, Clarksburg Branch Line Trail, Summerfield/Patwin Parks and Bridgeway Lakes Community Park.
Once there, kids use the app to hunt for virtual objects and complete objectives, similar to finding Pokemon characters in the popular Pokemon Go app. Some of the missions and challenges include searching for and catching virtual objects, coloring in objects, filling in blanks with image clues, finding and photographing real-life plants and animals, matching images and sounds and more.
It’s noted by the app maker that phones or tablets used to play the game need to have the app downloaded, but once it is on the device and the park’s activities have been downloaded, a Wi-Fi or data connection is no longer needed. However, GPS settings need to be turned on while playing the game because questions are prompted based on the player’s specific location.
According to the city of West Sacramento’s webpage for the program, “field agents” can email a screen shot of their in-game accomplishments to “headquarters” at City Hall and receive four passes to the city’s Summer Cinema Series at the West Sacramento Recreation Center and Community Center.
The program is available in cities all over the nation through partnerships with city leadership and organizations like the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service.
“West Sacramento residents have already downloaded Agents of Discovery more than any other city in California.” Mayor Christopher Cabaldon wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday, adding that the current run is a pilot program.