(Image courtesy of Wawa; image has been cropped)
When convenience store chain Wawa began selling kid’s meals in August 2020, it knew a charismatic character like mascot Wally Goose could help.
Wally trading cards come with each kid’s meal. But with the goal of bringing the Media-headquartered corporation’s branding to the digital level, a new augmented reality game developed by dev agency NeoPangea aims to let kids have fun with Wally in a more interactive way.
NeoPangea builds interactive experiences, games and digital content for brands and cultural institutions and has a client list that includes Disney, Nickelodeon, ViacomCBS, Warner Brothers and National Geographic. Wawa had been in conversation with the Reading, Pennsylvania-based company for about two years about a possible collaboration, and creating the game took five months from start to finish.
Making the game as easy to use as possible was a goal for the NeoPangea team. The WebAR technology from 8th Wall allowed for an AR game that can live on a website and does not require users to install anything on their phone.
“We needed to ensure the game was easy to play for early readers, so we tested it without any instructions and integrated simple tutorial screens,” Bagenstose said. “Kids are often using older, hand-me-down devices so ensuring smooth performance on a variety of phones and tablets was critical.”
While NeoPangea has its roots in Berks County, some its team members reside in the Philadelphia area. Bagenstose still works with people in the city’s agency world, having started his professional journey in Philadelphia, including former interactive agency Refinery.
He is fond of Reading’s tech community, which he said has unique ways of attracting talent.
“Reading is a small city but it does have its fair share of technology companies and freelancers,” Bagenstose said. “It attracts talent who are looking for an affordable cost of living, abundant outdoor space, and great school districts while easily accessible to Philly and New York.”
Michael Butler is a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
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