Brighton Digital Festival 2013 – a Review of Glimmers

By Novie Joi Dimas

When I heard of an app called Glimmer, I immediately thought of a very girly app – something maybe to do with fashion. Then they explained to me why the app is called Glimmer and then it was like I saw sense in everything. Maybe it was the teenager in me, I’m still  not particularly sure but when I heard the concept of the app and that we were going to try it out, I thought, “Must I really do this? But it includes walking – miles and miles and miles of walking! And what the hell do I care about other people’s lost messages?!”

We started at Brighton Station and once everything was set up, we immediately found a lost message. Surprise – that was what I felt, maybe a little confused too but surprise was dominant. Why? Well, because I thought we were going to get a random text message – turns out we got a lost voicemail. Liselle – that was the sender’s name. I listened to it carefully and it was strange in the way that, finding a lost voicemail is, well, weird because of the fact that it’s her voice you hear, making it more personal to her (the sender) – it brings out the empathy and it’s almost like it’s not just a game but it’s actually real.

The use of location – how where the messages are lost is where we find them – I liked that. I thought it was brilliant as it made me think about the future. Would the same buildings still be around in the future? Another thing I liked about the location is the details they put into the messages, one that I particularly noticed is the location near the school and how you could hear the children playing – which is also mentioned in the message. It made me feel like the characters were there, standing next to me, just in a different time.

Another thing I liked about the app was the story plot and how every single lost message contributed into this one very powerful story line. I liked the way the app, became a treasure hunt. As we went from one location to another, I started to find myself being overly excited as to what the next message would contain – so excited that it turned into a competition as to who would receive the lost message first. Another thing I liked about it is that the messages contains snippets from each and every character’s life, leaving the unknown to my own imagination. I also liked the fact that, at one point, I had the chance of choosing of how the story would go. Unfortunately for us, we ended up chosing the sad ending.

I should also mention the coincidences that we came across as we used the app. The first coincidence was in one of the dates in which the message was lost was also the day that we were able to find it. The second one was that, in the message it was mentioned not to walk in front of the camera and it just so happened that there was a photographer lingering around. Finally, we were told to be aware of the woman on the phone and not act suspicious and seconds later, a woman walks in front of us whilst talking on the phone. The reason I’ve mentioned these coincidences is because of the fact that it made it even feel more real.

As much as I liked this app, it could use a few improvements such as perhaps include more story lines which uses different locations within Brighton. As far as story lines go, you could come up with something that a teenager could associate with and use locations that they would be attracted to. Or perhaps, do something that happened in the past and recreate it. You could also hire actors that would act certain scenes to make it more real or maybe slip in significant objects in the used locations. We also noticed that the map was confusing at times as it didn’t move when you wanted it to and you couldn’t zoom right in.

All in all, the app was amazing. If you are bored and have nothing to do for the next hour or so, this app takes you to a different world. Not only is it good excercise but it also lets you explore Brighton. It takes you to places, you never normally go to – at least it’s what it did for me. However, be very aware. Don’t get too attached to the characters for the outcome might not be what you expected it to be. Personally, I hated the ending. And the concept of these messages being lost, made it all the more tragic.