Does an application have to be a ‘heritage application’ in order for it to be useful to the heritage sector? Does it need to tell you historical information in order for it to be used within heritage?
I am going to introduce you to one of my favourite apps that isn’t necessarily heritage focussed. The best bit, you don’t have to be in York to check this one out. It’s global, so there are no excuses to not have a go.
Welcome to the app ingress. Now, stay with me. I know it’s a bit on the bizarre side. But, I truly believe this could be useful in heritage.
Basic gameplay is you join either the resistance, who are against the aliens, or the enlightened, who are for the aliens. Within the game the main objective is to capture portals. These portals are often attached to historical objects, monuments or buildings. York is literally full of them.
It’s fun because it’s competitive. You have a vague sense of achievement when you capture a portal and then whoever else comes across it finds you own it. Because it’s competitive, it has a lot of people playing it. Because it’s global, you have a lot of people working together. There is a lot of interaction between the participants and the creators of the app. Something that is missing from a lot of heritage apps at the moment.
How is this useful? Well, because most of these portals are attached to heritage sites and buildings, could this app be used to get people to the door? Should we be dismissing this app when it could potentially be quite useful. It exists already and it costs nothing for the heritage site to maintain. Therefore, why shouldn’t we use it?
I would really be interested in you guys playing this and seeing what you think. Do you think it’s useful or just another gimmick?