: New:

A while back, you'll recall I made a phone game that involved walking around and "checking in" to various landmark-y locations. The game got its information about local landmarks from Foursquare, that app that folks worldwide use to check in to their local sandwich shops, thus inadvertently discovering which places all the local folks know about.

Alas, Foursquare figured out that this was pretty valuable information to give away, and has changed the terms under which an app can use this information for free (a.k.a. the price tier that doesn't involve talking to their sales reps). Apps will soon be required to "forget" info they learned from Foursquare after 24 hours. That's reasonable and generous, but doesn't work well with this game's rules. So I changed the game: now instead of getting its "landmark" information from Foursquare, it gets that information from Wikipedia via GeoNames.

This changes the nature of the game. Wikipedia has a different idea of what consitutes an interesting place than Foursquare does. Foursquare knows that many many people check in to my local coffee shop; but Wikipedia considers that shop beneath notice. Wikipedia however thinks that every tram stop (but not bus stop) in the city deserves its own page. With the old data, you'd do well in the game to seek out shopping centers so you could score the local Foursquare hot spots: coffee shops, sandwicherias, beauty salons. But now you might follow LRV tracks around. This arguably makes for a less-interesting game…on the other hand, it's fun enough and I don't have to talk to any sales reps. (Geonames takes donations without having the donator talk to anybody.) Thus good enough for my purposes.

Tags: programming pedestrian game

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