Ever since Facebook bought Gowalla, I’ve seen a few apps trying to fill the void left behind. Among them, Path with its visual storytelling and stellar design and WallaBee with its virtual items. However, not one has truly captured the virtual-item-meets-storytelling space until now.
Hitchery is a new mobile game that turns your iPhone or Android device into a virtual bus that can transport other players’ avatars called “hitchers.” You can ask other players to take pictures of your hitcher as they take it on adventures and earn virtual items like stickers for your bus or swag for your hitcher. Of course you can choose to pull your bus over at any foursquare location and checkin while you’re there, as well as share your Hitchery activity to Facebook.
On the surface, Hitchery seems like just another location-based game you probably won’t remember to play. But the larger mission of Hitchery is facilitating experiences through game mechanics. That’s where the true value of this app lies. In a nutshell, Hitchery provides an environment for serendipitous interactions with real people in places all over the world, like real hitchhiking but without the time, money, and danger.
On foursquare, shared experiences really only go so deep as a tweet announcing who you’re checked-in with. Hitchery allows players to document experiences with virtual extensions of each other. It’s a much more intimate social experience than lots of other mobile games out there.
A few weeks ago, I interviewed Hitchery founder Glen Daniels on Tech Interruption:
Hitchery just went live in the App Store and Marketplace in time for SXSW. I’m excited to see how the app develops and especially how brands get involved. So if any of you AboutFoursquare readers are willing to take my hitcher to the San Diego Zoo for a picture with the elephants, let me know!