The intercultural game ‘Spy my City’ linked Magdeburg (Germany) to Bilbao (Spain).

Although they are 1823 kilometers apart, the location-based game ‘Spy my City’ linked the cities of Magdeburg (Germany) and Bilbao (Spain). This game was developed at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg in cooperation with Bilbao as a student project. The project was part of a class called ‘mobile city’.

Students created their own GPS tours and games with our technology, based on the notion of public authoring. In Spy my City, there were two online teams in Bilbao and four street runners in Magdeburg. For street players, the goal was to leave real traces from the Basque culture in Magdeburg while the goal for the online players was to leave virtual traces of Magdeburg in Bilbao.

The street runners were location scouts – secret agents – who were sent to Magdeburg to spy the city by order of the Basque band Gatibu. The story goes that Gatibu is thinking about playing a gig in Magdeburg while they are on tour. The idea behind the game is that the location scouts are all competing for the job of being Gatibu’s city guide when they come and tour Magdeburg. So the location scout who fulfilled most of the tasks on location won the game. All four of the scouts were constantly in contact by phone with the Bilbao team. The tasks included for example sharing Gatibu’s music with the people of Magdeburg, finding the best location to eat tapas in Magdeburg or putting up a framed picture of the Guggenheim museum in one of Magdeburg’s most popular bars.

The game was a huge success and was even broadcasted by the Basque television.