Sidewalker Turns the NYC Subway Commute Into a Video Game

New York-based game developer Gutpela, a company whose clients include Adult Swim and OMGPOP (now Zynga), has designed a new iOS video game app called Sidewalker which is inspired by New Yorkers who race down the street when they are late for work.

App users can navigate their way through the subway and the city streets trying to get to their office on time, all the while dodging cabs, weaving in and out of crowds and kicking tourists. Andrew Garrahan, owner of Gutpela/creator of Sidewalker told us that he was inspired by the Japanese video game Katamari Damacy, a game in which a character rolls a small ball around a location, picking up objects and people in its way, until it grows into a giant ball. When it comes to New Yorkers, Garrahan said that, “we are united by experiences we all share walking down the city’s sidewalks — the angry stroller mom, the oblivious tourist — and though that actually made for an interesting story.”

The object of the game is to get to work as fast as possible and collect points along the way. Garrahan said that he’s not worried that people will miss their stop on the real subway when playing the game. “I just hope people will enjoy playing the game, whether on the A train or in line at the post office,” he said. He did warn of the risks of playing the game while walking down the street. The tourists may well hit you back, he said, pointing out that, “playing on the sidewalk will just make people hate you but playing in traffic might get you killed, so remember: Safety first!”

The app is currently available in iTunes. If it does well, the company may bring it to other platforms like Android.