Krikey is an iOS and Android AR app with a number of fun mobile games on it. One of the games, Gorillas! has users scan the world around them to make a baby gorilla appear. This isn’t a mobile version of the Tamagotchi you forgot to check on, rather it’s a feel-good game of feed the gorilla for awareness.
How To Use It
Once the app’s opened and the game gets selected, the baby gorilla appears. Users then look around their environment from their mobile phone and select termite mounds and berry bushes to feed it. You can be indoors at home or the office, outside in the yard, and use the AR app.
Gorillas! is a game that can be played in short bursts and where the only goal is to make sure the gorilla doesn’t get hungry. There are also golden keys that get collected. These are earned by keeping the gorilla’s hunger bar full over the course of a quick game. Krikey told us that the keys will become in-app currency in the near future.
What’s really cool about this AR app is that The Ellen Fund helped make Gorillas! a reality. Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi are big fans of animal conservation. Naturally, de Rossi and DeGeneres started the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund so the mountain gorillas could live safely but also so locals could benefit from conservation efforts.
In a press release, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi said, “Seeing the mountain gorillas in Rwanda was one of the most incredible experiences of our lives. We want everyone to be able to feel what it’s like to be there, and with our game Gorillas! by The Ellen Fund you absolutely can.”
The Krikey app is a great use of augmented reality technology. It’s simple to use with a smartphone and easy to play. Most importantly, it raises awareness for a worthwhile cause. Gorillas may look like us and sometimes act like us, but it’s easy to get detached when they’re halfway around the world, in another ecosystem we don’t see every day.
Using my Android phone, I did have some issues with the app’s AR plane detection and the images not lining up. I also had moments where selecting the berry bushes and tapping the berries were an issue. Both were fixed after I restarted the app.
As far as images go, I thought they did a good job at creating a realistic yet cartoon version of the baby gorilla. There were some hiccups in the graphics, which showed images higher or lower, as well as bigger and smaller than what they should have been.
The image of the gorilla was realistic enough that it made me want to crouch down to get a better screenshot. My backyard has a lot of dirt, so I didn’t get that close. It is really cute though! Minor issues aside, I enjoyed seeing how an uncanny image placed in our environment makes the connection to the cause more powerful.
Using an AR App to Help Gorillas
Like many AR-enabled apps, Krikey had some tracking and placement issues. But, my real focus went to the AR gorilla in my backyard. The app made me ponder deeper about where they actually live. Deforestation and poaching are major issues around the world. Unfortunately, animals homes, food, and lives are at stake. Fortunately, our awareness and action with app’s like this can help counter what’s wiping them out.
If a bulldozer or a person took my fruit bushes or garden away, I’d call the police. There’s no gorilla police but there are people, charities, and AR apps that care. The Krikey app and The Ellen Fund are helping bring more attention to issues we can help change, like feeding hungry gorillas.
The app is for single players and also has multiplayer to add friends to the game. It also automatically records snippets of your game and lets you add music to personalize it. Having the option to save it, share it on social media, or sent in a text message is also beneficial to gathering attention for the cause.
I think the coolest part of the Krikey app is that you can send a donation directly to The Ellen Fund. If more apps followed their lead, AR could inspire action and change in the world. The Krikey app is available for free on the Apple Store and Google Play.