Chromaroma is an online platform that takes the real-life experience of travelling around London to a new level. Register online using your Oyster card and you are automatically part of the game. Every time you take a ride on a tube, train, tram, bus or a Barclays bike (no boats, cabs or rickshaws) an animated map of your journey is available online.

Go one step further and start collecting points for your journeys by completing the missions: dive under the River Thames by entering Victoria and exiting at Clapham North for 100 points or travel all the way to Cockfosters for double the amount. Admire the modernisation of Holborn, South Kensington, Leicester Square and Euston stations within one week, or follow a legend and hunt the ghost of a faceless woman at Becontree late at night. If there isn’t a mission you fancy, you can set up challenges yourself. Chromaroma is designed to fit your lifestyle, so if you are an early bird travelling to work, or a busy bee passing through the same station daily, there are extra points to be had.

He is one of the current season’s leaders, and reveals his strategy of “tweaking” the regular journeys in order to collect more points

James, a London-based technical theatre student, says he was “intrigued by the concept of a game that blurs the line between the real and virtual world[s].” He is one of the current season’s leaders, and reveals his strategy of “tweaking” the regular journeys in order to collect more points, for instance, by using the “get off one stop early” mission countless times.

Launched at the start of 2010, the game is now at the end of its fifth season. Chromaroma is a creative output of the Mudlark Production Group, and the company director Matt Watkins says they were “looking to augment the commuting experience with an additional playful layer”. Commenting on Chromaroma’s wide appeal, Matt adds that “anyone who is interested in visualising and tracking their travel patterns over time, adding an intriguing dimension to an otherwise fairly uninteresting commuting experience, would gain something from the game.”

…Chromaroma also promotes camaraderie…

With more than 800 members competing against each other, Chromaroma also promotes camaraderie, encouraging users to pick one of four colours and join forces to score the most collective points.

Nonetheless, while Oyster cards are swiped all around London, the social element of the game is currently only present online. Whether joining forces or competing against each other, players have no real-life interaction, unless they arrange to meet up themselves. While this could be suggested as a possible improvement, some travellers like the element of the game that allows you to “build up a map of your personal relations within the city.” Freelance game designer Minkette, who was the first one to win the challenge a year ago, is attracted by the way Chromaroma “overlays everyday choices with reward[s]”, making the daily commute more fun.

Visit www.chromaroma.com and have your Oyster card ready.

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About The Author

I am a multimedia reporter and visual artist. With an academic background in journalism, media and photography, I work across a wide range of creative platforms. Brought up in Latvia, I have spent two years studying in Bristol, before relocating to London.

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