Free All Monsters!

  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013

A worldwide augmented reality monster spotting game begun in 2009. This is an image for Free All Monsters

This is an image for Free All Monsters This is an image for Free All Monsters

This is an image for Free All Monsters This is an image for Free All Monsters This is an image for Free All Monsters This is an image for Free All Monsters This is an image for Free All Monsters

Free All Monsters! was an augmented reality mobile phone game for children, families and even grown ups in which players searched for invisible monsters in the streets around them using a Magical Monstervision Machine (their mobile phone). If they found where the monster lived, they could see it using Monstervision (looking through the camera of their mobile phone).

Free All Monsters! started as a text message game called Free Manchester's Monsters in 2007 using Thumbprint City, a platform for creating socially valuable uses of text messaging. This was expanded to include Free London's Monsters, with leaflets distributed around Hoxton and Shoreditch, and I presented a poster about it at the CHI international computer science conference in Florence in 2008.

The first augmented reality version was on Nokia N95s in 2009, and then it became an iphone app with participants worldwide.

Some aspects of the clue finding, sociability and player creativity in Free All Monsters! haven't yet been explored in subsequent augmented reality monster spotting games, and I might go back to them. This is an image for Free All Monsters This is an image for Free All Monsters This is an image for Free All Monsters

As well as the text message game, Free All Monsters! drew on the experience of some of my other mobile projects, including Genie, Echo - Butlins And Institute Of Physics, Five Trees Forest and going right back to City Poems.

Free All Monsters! generated some media coverage in the summer of 2016. This is my favourite, from the BBC World Service Spanish site.

I've no idea what the article says, but Libera a los monstruos sounds great.

This is an image for Free All Monsters on the BBC World Service. The image shows two phones side by side, comparing the 2009 game with Pokemon Go in 2016

Free All Monsters! was one of the best pieces of work I've ever initiated and been involved in, and I still learn from the reasons why it didn't continue to grow in the way that it deserved to, and am still a bit heartbroken by it.

Free All Monsters!

This is an image for Free All Monsters

Photos by Liz Milner, Bristol, 2009, Bacup photographer, Bacup, 2010 (or 2011) and Andrew Wilson.