Most of our readers probably have New Year’s in the rearview mirror. However, the Chinese New Year isn’t until January 25.
The Chinese zodiac works on a cycle of years instead of months, with each year getting its own animal. For the last two years, Krikey celebrated with a dog and a pig AR experience. This year they’re back with a rat AR experience.
“The very first year that we did this with the Year of the Dog, we hadn’t started building games yet… we had some mini games for the Year of the Pig. This year, since we’ve moved to location-based games, we’ve hidden the rat in the user’s neighborhoods,” said Krikey co-founder and CEO, Jhanvi Shriram. “Every year, we try to use the newest technology to make more immersive experiences.”
Krikey launched just three years ago and they’ve already been behind some really cool projects.
Back in ’18, the fledgling company worked with Sony on an AR experience to launch the second Goosebumps movie. Less than a year later, they worked with the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund.
“During my PhD, one of the main focuses of my work was looking at how immersive experiences impact our relationship with the real world,” said Krikey co-founder and CTO, Dr. Ketaki Shriram. “Humans, as a species, are not yet able to distinguish media events from real-world events. That’s why we’re afraid of horror movies even though we know that the killer isn’t going to come after us.”
Later that year, the company launched their own AR game on Apple and Android. The game, called Wingspan, is supported by the Audubon Society and allows users to interact with AR birds and environments.
“It’s very important to us to have ecosystem elements to increase that immersive atmosphere,” said Ketaki.
This year, the company is launching another AR experience to celebrate the Year of the Rat.
The Year of the Rat AR Experience
In the AR experience, users get to interact with an artfully stylized AR rat that exists as an Easter egg within the Wingspan game.
“What’s particularly interesting about this, from the art and design perspective, is that the traditional Chinese New Year’s designs are 2D cut outs,” said Ketaki.
Designers got around this by using whitespace in traditional designs to create 3D models that retain a traditional aesthetic.
Users can collect oranges in the game and throw them to the rat. The rat then rewards users with a little dance. Technology that Krikey used to scare users in the Goosebumps AR experiences, attracts them in the rat AR experience as the cheerful fellow approaches the user and seems to look directly at them.
Users don’t just get to play with the rat, they can also record their interactions. These videos can then be shared within Krikey or on other social media platforms.
Find a Rat Near You
If you already have the Wingspan game, be sure to watch out for the rat on your map. If you don’t already have the Wingspan game, what are you waiting for?