Discover the new Christmas in Leicester Augmented Reality Trail.
A brand new festive-themed augmented reality (AR) trail is live and free for families to enjoy in the city – and at home – throughout December.
Deputy City Mayor, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “The trail is a fun, free experience for all the family, making a Christmas trip into the city centre even more exciting.
"It has been designed with safety in mind as an experience that can be completed at home, or outdoors with plenty of space around.
“As well as being engaging and fun, we hope the trail will encourage people to get outdoors this winter, do some walking, and discover different parts of the Christmas in Leicester programme.”
Augmented reality games have gained prominence in recent years. The popular Pokémon GO game is a leading example of how AR brings imaginary characters into our real-world surroundings.
Now, gamers of all ages can experience a fun, free Christmas AR experience here on the streets of Leicester.
The idea behind the free app is to introduce a new AR experience to the popular Christmas Tableau scene in Leicester. It aims to bring colourful Christmas characters to life and encouraging families to come into the city centre.
Many of the games are accessible from anywhere, allowing visitors to play in the warmth of their homes too.
In Town Hall Square, players scan signs to find Santa’s Helpers hidden within the Christmas Tableau scene.
Once found, they burst into life through the mobile device. Enjoy a game of ‘Snowball Dodge’ with them, helping them weave their way around the square to avoid being hit.
But be warned, some helpers are better than others!
Elsewhere in Town Hall Square, the app will unlock a secret door that gamers can walk through into a magical Winter Wonderland, home to polar bears and penguins.
Players can go on a hunt for reindeer dust around the city centre by finding signs displayed in the windows of over 60 businesses.
Once enough has been collected, the reindeer dust can be thrown in the air to help Santa fly across the sky.
Reindeer dust translates into points in the app, and everyone playing the games will add to a huge grand total.
Together, players in Leicester need to collect enough points to light up the AR tree in time for Christmas!
Once unlocked on the city streets, any of the experiences can be played at home or anywhere else.
There is also a virtual Christmas Express train, which players can hail down and place anywhere in the city centre or at home. Players can control its speed as it rides the rails around the tree – there’s even a whistle to pull!
The trail has been specially commissioned to bring the characters from the Christmas in Leicester campaign to life.
Once players open the AR, they can take comical selfies and record movies with the characters as a souvenir of their Festive Adventure – a joy for young and big kids alike!
Players can share their photos and videos on social media using #ChristmasinLeicester to show off their new AR friends.
The trail is live in the city until Thursday 6 January and is completely free for families and groups to take part in.
Written by Emily Miller
Emily is a Senior Journalist for Niche Magazine with over a decade of journalism experience. She enjoys going to gigs, visiting galleries and walking in all weathers.