For those who take public transit, playing games on your phone is probably how you pass the time. Parts of the world are going crazy trying to catch Pokémon through their phone with Pokémon Go. But that doesn’t mean you need to run around town chasing digital creatures to see some much-needed magic in the world. Why not putting down your smartphone and play a different kind of game? That’s what riders in Amsterdam are doing.
In a special collaboration with public transport operator GVB and Daniel Disselkoen, interactive artist at Headmade, they’ve installed little creatures on all trams in Amsterdam to make commuting more fun.
GVBeestje is essentially just a sticker depicting a blue crocodile, stuck on the window of a trams. Another sticker has the rules of the game: the rider needs to align their eyes so that the shark’s mouth “eats” the passersby. You get a point (+) for every head you eat, and lose one (-) for every one you miss. The game is restarted at every new stop so you can play during your whole trip. It’s basically just a lo-fi version of Pac-Man.
Disselkoen said he started looking for ways to improve the commuter experience five years ago, while he himself was a commuter spending much time on his phone. He started experimenting with just a couple of stickers. Every day he travelled on the tram just witnessing other passengers bopping their heads up and down. He then knew he wanted to try the experiment on a larger scale.
The games are meant to be on trams the whole summer, but they are leaving already. People enjoyed them so much that they take the stickers off the tram-window and put them up in other places. Requests to export the game everywhere from America to Asia are coming in, but not plans are set yet.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.