Hide and seek has made an unlikely comeback as a past-time for the young people of China it would seem. Enhanced by the use of technology and location sharing, a hide and seek game has spawned events over the country with thousands of players getting involved, winning prizes and making new friends.
Perhaps we should not be surprised by this new trend. It’s a natural conclusion of other things that have grown in popularity in recent years. First we had Pokemon Go that popularised a gaming experience that combined real world activity and smartphone map technology. And the wildly successful Squid Game’s most iconic scene is the recreation of a classic children’s game played by 100s of adults. Thankfully this new Hide and Seek app that has grown in popularity in China is not quite so dangerous.
Hide and seek or sometimes known as ‘cat and mouse’ is an app that makes use of map service: Amap. It’s the most popular app for mapping in China by a distance thanks to the backing of Alibaba. Google services are blocked in the country and Apple is not popular. On the Hide and Seek app, in games that can have hundreds of players, a few are assigned as hunters and the rest huntees. Once found, players join the hunters. The game has been hugely popular with young people with weekly events with prizes and all sorts organised by budding players of the game.
It’s a way for new communities and young people to get out and about and socialise, meeting new people. Location services are a really interesting way of creating social discovery apps, and we are seeing more and more incorporate it into their service, one way or another. But we also know that trust, security and safety will be major factors in the success of such apps – controlling that sensibly when sharing such sensitive information is a major challenge.