Wellington, becomes world's first gamified city ·

Wellington, becomes world’s first gamified city

New Zealand’s innovative capital, Wellington, home to a booming tech and screen industry has transformed itself into the world’s first gamified virtual city.

Virtual Wellington allows people to explore and interact with the city without boarding a plane. It is made up of an interactive game, WellTown, available for free download in the Steam and Occulus VR stores, and Explore More, which gives users a chance to experience Wellington’s attractions, education institutions and workplaces via 360 video tours.

WellTown gives VR users a fun, gamified tour of Wellington, a small and compact city surrounded by hills and harbour, famous for its cafes, art and culture, tech scene and movie industry that’s produced the likes of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Avatar and Mortal Engines.

Home base is Wellington’s Mt Victoria lookout, featuring spectacular panoramic views of the city from its 196 metre summit. It’s here you meet your outrageous local guide voiced by Cohen Holloway, a Wellington actor who’s starred in movies such as Thor: Ragnarok and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and select your avatar for the game.

As Wellington is laid out below you in glorious virtual reality, the guide invites you to experience any one of six quintessential Wellington experiences. After completing each game your avatar is rewarded with a piece of eye-catching bling. Complete all six and your avatar will sparkle in ultimate divineness.

Absorb the dawn chorus of New Zealand’s native birds amidst the beautiful native bush that surrounds the city, get in touch with your hipster vibe as you busk on New Zealand’s coolest street Cuba Street as the new drummer for local band, or run a coffee cart in crisis and fire coffee shots at zombified commuters as they converge upon it for their morning caffeine fix.

Then take a jump off a diving platform on the waterfront just like countless Wellingtonians do year round, get an underwater experience of Wellington’s beautifully clean harbour and marvel in the appearance of a very special whale, or be surrounded by the serenity of the star-filled night sky and welcome in Matariki (Maori new year).

For those wanting to take a closer look at what Wellington has to offer, Explore More provides the opportunity to immerse yourself in some of Wellington’s most iconic experiences via 360 video – from an All Blacks rugby test match at Westpac Stadium to a special glimpse of a Weta Studio Tour at the Oscar-winning Weta Workshop.

The game has been created by WellingtonNZ, the region’s tourism organisation. General Manager Anna Calver says Wellington is New Zealand’s capital of tech and creativity, and a game was the natural next step in how to encourage people to visit Wellington.

“Virtual Wellington is about giving people a sense of what Wellington is like as a place to live, work and visit, showcasing its creativity and lifestyle through new technologies being developed right here in the city,” Ms Calver says. “The virtual reality application is a really fun way to explore a place that you might not know much about. It shows off our beautiful city, our creativity, and our quirky hipster vibe.”

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester always knew Wellington was good enough to bottle.

“Virtual Wellington is essentially a high-tech bottling of the city that allows it to be taken to the world. It will increase Wellington’s international reputation as an innovative tech city with the world’s best lifestyle.

“Even though we’re a small city, Wellington is packed with idea makers, creators and influencers. We’re ranked as the most creative city in New Zealand* with a large entrepreneurial community of more than 900 business start-ups, numerous art galleries, events and exhibitions, hundreds of cafes and craft breweries, an Oscar-winning movie industry and top-ranked education institutions.”

Virtual Wellington is free to download from the Steam and Occulus VR stores and can be viewed on YouTube. An android and iOS version are in the works. Find out more at WellingtonNZ.com

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