Unique Oulu Adventure Game

The Unique Oulu adventure game is a mobile map based game for exploring Oulu and gamified participatory urban planning.


Oulu, Finland


Start: 01.07.2022
End: 31.07.2022


City of Oulu , Oulu City Library , Oulu2026 , Oulu Business Center

As a part of the UNIC CityLabs festival held in Oulu in June 2022, a mobile game titled “The Unique Oulu adventure game” was developed in collaboration with the City of Oulu, Oulu city Library, Oulu2026 European Culture Capital project and Oulu Business Centre.

In the GPS-based game the players find their way to different points on a map. When reaching a checkpoint, a task becomes activated. A total of 25 tasks were distributed on an approximately 4 kilometres long route around the Oulu city centre.

The game consisted of fun tasks and puzzles, trivia of oulu, creative tasks, as well as questions about the future of Oulu. In the city-development tasks the players had thepossibility to give their input in what the city of Oulu could look like in the future or how it should be developed. This way, the game served as a platform for crowdsourcing city development in terms of library services, vitality of the city centrum, Oulu cultural offerings and other services while giving players an exciting and competitive UNIC activity to enjoy.

Most players played the game in groups by utilizing one device and “screen name”. The game asked each player to indicate how many adult players were in their group, based on which we estimate the total amount of players. During the CityLabs Festival (11th to 17th of June), an estimate of 443 adult players played the game. Because of the game’s popularity, the University of Oulu decided to reopen the game for the public. The game was free to be played during July, when most Finns have their annual leave. During July an estimate of 407 adult players more played the game, making the total 850 players.

Data collected from the city-development tasks were shared with the stakeholders who had participated in game development and were interested in utilizing the data. Even though there had initially been concerns of whether players would put effortinto answering the city-development-related tasks, the quantity and quality of data surprised both the developers and collaborating partners. For example, when asking players what could increase the vitality of the city centre and how to make it more unique, a lot of insightful and innovative ideas were presented, ranging from new types of events to establishing a tram system in Oulu.

Similarly, when players were asked to ideate new events they would like to see in Oulu, suggestions included film festivals, comic book-, gaming- and cosplaying events, music festivals, dance shows, and food culture events among many others. Additionally, when asked to share what worries in Oulu, a diverse set of concerns were reported from drug and violence problems to marginalization and social exclusion of the young population.


Post-industrial Cities | Urban resilience and transformation | Culture | digital innovation

Type of Case



Finnish | English

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