GPS and chimps team up in Bandai's latest

Real-world exploration leads to virtual ape expedition

In today's 'Only in Japan' corner, we have quite possibly the finest chimpanzee-based GPS sleuthing game ever to grace a nation's mobile phones.

Bandai 's Chimpan GPS (think of a Japanese-style pronunciation and you'll get the play on words) is a Java game running on recent DoCoMo phones from the 900 series and up, but a 903-branded handset is needed to use the GPS-based 'radar' used in the game.

Monkeying around

The idea is that players running the application on phones with GPS walk around and actively hunt the virtual rogue ape of the title, while those without sat-nav log onto the game server and act as assistants. Exactly what they're supposed to do beyond helping with in-game tools isn't made clear but it sounds like a rum deal.

This very Japanese take on integrating GPS and simple gameplay seems like a decent way to waste an afternoon with a bunch of pals, but for ¥315 (£1.33) each and every month we can't see this kind of thing taking off outside the Far East. Perhaps sub-games with titles like 'Banana Strategy' need a little tweaking?

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