For the most part, even the hardest video games can be completed from the comfort of your own home. Or sometimes even on the train on the way home from work. It might take you hours or days or weeks, but you don’t need much more than some snacks and perhaps a coffee to get you through those hard levels.
The game is the brain child of a French artist who goes by the name Invader. He has an art project, called “Space Invaders,” where he installs pictures of classic video game characters.
“The idea is to ‘invade’ cities all over the world with characters inspired by first-generation arcade games, and especially the now classic ‘Space Invaders,'” he writes on his website. “I make them out of tiles, meaning I can cement them to walls and keep the ultra-pixelated appearance.”
“Flash Invaders” is like a scavenger hunt to find these art installations, which are located in a bunch of different cities all over the world. After downloading the app, players have to look for the artwork, then snap a picture, or “flash” the art.
“I have this idea for a long time of giving to the public a way to participate to the process,” Invader said in an email to Business Insider. “That’s what happened with ‘Flash Invaders’ — the public is not only a viewer anymore, it becomes a player who has to walk in my steps. It is a video game taking place in the reality.”
The app uses image-recognition software to compare the picture you take with what’s in its database. And it uses a built-in GPS verification system so there’s no cheating, according to Vandalog blogger RJ Rushmore, who tried it out. That means you can’t just upload a Google image of the art — you have to actually be in the same physical location.
Each art piece is worth a certain number of points, “depending on its size, composition and where it is,” according to Invader. People play against each other; the person with the most points, wins.
“The idea is also to ‘Flash’ a maximum of space invaders and for that [you have] to visit many places in many cities,” Invader said.
He’s even shot one of his art pieces into the stratosphere. “I had this idea in mind for a while — to send a space invader back to space! I didn’t know how to do it, but was possible to do it in a very DIY way,” he told ANIMAL New York in an interview last year. “The piece went in the stratosphere with a small camera and the images are so amazing that I decided to make a documentary about it.”
Thankfully, that piece isn’t included in the “Flash Invaders” game.
The game has gotten pretty popular. But Invader says he’s not sure how it’s been spreading so quickly. “I just put it on the Apple Store and Google Play and wrote few words about it on my Instagram,” he says.
As of this writing, 785 players are participating and have racked up more than half a million points.
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