When Google Street View first launched, it was hard not to plug in our home addresses and traverse the digital area around our apartments in hopes of spotting something familiar. While the searches were relatively aimless, it was beyond enticing to go hunting for virtual objects within the interactive map. Today, a new project has honed in on Street View's inherent entertainment, and expanded it into a whole game.
"The Day Google Street View Stood Still," is a parasite game created by artist Kim Asendorf and Ole Fach of creative agency Netro that uses the Street View as its game stage. The trailer states, "Today something creepy and not imaginable happened. A virus born in the depth of the Internet shut down Google Street View and kicked millions of users out of their routine lives. Riots, cruel violence and total anarchy on the streets were the result of the day Google Street View stood still." Users, in turn, must "help to rescue the world" by finding audio objects hidden in neighborhood cul-de-sacs and city avenues.
Using Web Audio API, Netro placed objects within the game world that emit sound based on the player's position in 3D space. Players can hear the objects from various angles, and they get louder as you get closer to the source, not unlike a virtual game of hide and seek. The first level, titled "OMG I Found A Phone!" places the player on a neighborhood street as a cell phone rings off in the distance. It took me a solid five minutes to locate the source, but man was it satisfying when I finally hit "Decline" on the rendered smartphone.
The game includes ten levels, and promises celebrity cameos, despite Street View typically blurring out human faces (because, why not?). Asendorf explained in an email, "I think the new thing about [the game] is that we put it into Street View. We wanted to go away again from this technical approach and started to wrap everything in a game to create a whole narrative, like in a road movie. So it's not simply a browser game but a true Internet game."
Digital maps have been hacked or manipulated for many creative projects in the past, but "The Day Google Street View Stood Still" finally satisfies the average person's itch to explore Street View with purpose—even if we can't save the world from the "virus" (the game is kind of hard, guys). Play it for yourself here.