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Tourism-based app is a real gem

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For the modern traveller, mobile phones have replaced travel agents, boarding passes and even travel guides.

Adrian Lodge has created Hidden Gems of Bermuda, a mobile gaming app also aimed at tourism: it uses the island's landmarks and personalities to score points.

“It's a tourism-based app that's similar to Pokémon Go, where you can actually take your phone around and score points based on your location,” explained the IT consultant who partnered with Ashley Harris, founder of Hidden Gems Eco Tours.

“We took the top ten places that tourists usually go to and then looked beyond that.

“What are the hidden places that are unique, but not really that popular?”

Score-earning locations include: Masterworks, Tom Moore's Jungle, the racetrack in St David's, Paraquet and The Spot restaurants.

“You've got people as well as places, so we've got Michael Dunkley, we've got Collie Buddz, the late Toriano Wilson,” he said.

“And then we've got activities. All the major holidays, Bermuda Day, Cup Match and one-off events like America's Cup.

“The point is to get people out of the house and exploring.”

The 35-year-old grew up playing games. He studied IT management at Ryerson University before getting a master's degree from the University of Liverpool. It took three months to build Hidden Gems.

“My wife helped with cultural research, developers helped build the app, graphic designers helped build the logo — I delegate where needed,” Mr Lodge said.

“As a consultant, I only deal with clients on certain days, so any days I'm not working, I'm putting all of my effort into it.”

Tech-savvy children helped get it on point.

“They actually went around the island and tested it out. They were helping me while learning more about what goes into actual mobile development in the process. It was a win-win.”

He believes the game is unique.

“We've seen Pokémon Go, we've seen travel-based apps but they're not in game form. That's where I've mixed the two worlds.

“This takes it to another level of fun where it's more interactive.”

Players take a tutorial before setting up their avatar. They can then set their interests, which determines what activities will top their list.

“It tells you what places you should visit and will give you a notification if you're within 50 feet [for example].

“Once you're close enough you can claim that item and win points.”

With more than 50 locations, 25 restaurants, 10 people and 150 activities, the game has enough to keep a player entertained for a year, he added.

Mr Lodge started his company, Bermuda Island Games, last year. He came up with the idea after noticing the island's absence in the digital world.

He has since made it his mission to create “anything game-related that's tied with Bermuda.”

He's now thinking about a second app, The Legend of Sir George Somers.

“The way I've envisioned it is that you start off in England with King James and Sir George Somers and he needs you to get to Virginia. You're on the voyage and you come across obstacles and learn as you go.

“To promote culture through games is our mission. They're key to child development in Bermuda and to have a kid actually play the game, makes it more memorable.

“Culture is what we're here to promote, in any way shape or form. This is the real Bermuda, it's not just what you see on your pamphlet.”

Hidden Gems of Bermuda, $5 on the app store

Keyed up: Adrian Lodge (Photograph by Nadia Hall)
The app's icon
Adrian Lodge (Photograph by Nadia Hall)
Promoting culture: available at the app store

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Published February 13, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 13, 2017 at 7:41 am)

Tourism-based app is a real gem

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