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Here comes the the new hot thing for the iPhone: social networking mixed in with location based gaming.
I’m not sure why there aren’t any more apps like this on the iPhone, but the idea is quite interesting. Gowalla is a free social networking app (e.g. have friends, etc.), however, there’s a twist.
I’m still getting the hang of this, but you can get missions based on where you are and check in in different places (bars, restaurants, shops, etc). There you can drop items, for other people to pick up when they arrive, you can pick up items other people have left behind for you, etc.
You get points (or “stamps”) for every place that you visit and check in. If a place you’re in doesn’t currently exist in the Gowalla listing, you can easily add it and get a stamp. You can also complete missions and trips to get new “pins”. You can also get push notifications about your friends, new missions, etc.
It’s an interesting idea to say the least. I’m not sure how good this particular game is, but I’m sure it will open up the flood gates and many more apps will come out with similar gameplay. I’m very excited about what I’m calling Social Gameworking and how it may change the location-based social networks.
Apps like Loopt are nice, but they have a fundamental thing missing. Besides simply knowing where my friends are, why should I use it? But actually playing a game would be awesome. Imagine a scavenger hunt around your city with thousands of people playing all the time. Love it.