Barcode Bots

Nick Santaniello

Barcode Bots is a game that encourages exploration of the physical world by transforming the ubiquitous UPC barcodes found all around us into unique, dynamic creatures that can then be used in multiple face-to-face gaming contexts.

Barcode Bots is a mobile game where players collect unique creatures (called Barcode Bots) by scanning UPC barcodes with their mobile device. Each "Bot" is given a unique appearance and properties (such as "strength", "intelligence", "sauciness", etc.) based on the digits encoded in the barcode. The product scanned, as well as the player's geolocation are optionally recorded.

These creatures are then used as avatars in secondary games (or 'contexts') where players can team up or pit their creatures against each other in different contests of skill. The first 'context' will be a multiplayer iPad racing game or a 'battle arena' tablet application. Other opportunities include hunting for hidden 'secret' creatures scattered throughout New York City, or building an online database of a player's scanned barcodes and Bots.

Barcode Bots encapsulates two of the most under-explored aspects of digital gaming: physical exploration and face-to-face social interaction.