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June 22nd, 2009

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09:49 am - WISHING STARS
Attention Disneyland fans! Soon your iPhone 3G will become an indispensable accessory while enjoying the Magic Kingdom.

My insanely talented friend Greg Maletic has been busy creating an iPhone application that promises a whole new level of interactivity within the park. It's called Wishing Stars, and I've been beta testing it for him since mid-June.

It's a sort of trivia-based "scavenger hunt", akin to geocaching -- to answer questions, you have to go to physical spots within the park where fragments of Wishing Stars are "hidden" (aka invisible GPS points). By completing different quests -- about park history, photo safaris, etc. -- you "reveal" enough of these fragments to assemble complete Wishing Stars, and there are nine complete Stars to find in the game.

It's harder than it sounds, even for a pro like me ;)

It's quite wonderful, from the sparkly sound effects when you find a star, to the beautiful interface and graphics, to the fun and diverse quests. It kind of makes you wonder why Disney didn't do something like this themselves; leave it to a true (and talented) fan to create something this unique and authentic. Greg says the app will be available for purchase on August 24th. He also told me there'd be downloadable Quests added to the app in the future -- including the possibility of other Disney parks.

For more info, check out the app's website and twitter feed.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:June 23rd, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
Did you ever get to try the Kim Possible PDA game that they have (or at least had) at Epcot? That one was Disney-produced, so you know they've at least tried their hand at the genre in the past.
[User Picture]
Date:June 23rd, 2009 05:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, I did -- and yes, in a lot of ways, it did pave the way for this kind of experience. As did Virtual Magic Kingdom and Pal Mickey before that.

Kim Possible was more of a trial, really. It required a ton of in-park infrastructure -- hardware, effects, A/V, and staff -- to make it work. More importantly, it didn't actually use *consumer* handsets, they were specially-modified Motorola phones that were pre-loaded with a bunch of media and had some functionality that's not available in consumer mobile phones (at least when the game was tested a few years ago).

I was more commenting on the fact that this game requires *no* external hardware, no in-park infrastructure, and was authored by a single person, not an entire Disney department -- and it's still a Disney-quality experience. GPS-enabled phones may have only been on the market for a couple of years, but it's amazing how quickly the demand for them (and for web & location aware applications) has sprung up. It would have been nice to see Disney use the lessons they learned on things like Kim Possible, VMK and Pal Mickey and apply them to seemingly "low-hanging fruit" and widely available consumer tech like the iPhone and its applications.

Edited at 2009-06-23 05:31 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:June 23rd, 2009 07:05 am (UTC)
If Disney is smart, they'll hire this guy to do more apps for them.
[User Picture]
Date:June 23rd, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
Or just buy the app from him and re-brand it, like Lucas did with the iPhone lightsaber guys...
[User Picture]
Date:June 23rd, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
I stand corrected, Kim Possible has now been added as a semi-permanent overlay to World Showcase:


It looks like you still use one of their handsets, and that you have to use a different one at each country (?). It's a clever way to make World Showcase more palatable for kids...
Date:August 10th, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
I was inside Imagineering, inside the division responsible, during the Kim Possible playtest. It came back with interesting feedback relevant to this app.

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