Journeys, The Virtual World As Mashup

I’m terribly delinquent, but nearly two weeks ago I met with Guy Bendov and Assaf Priel, co-founders of the Tel-Aviv, Israel-based Journeys, an upcoming virtual world with a lot of promise. The game, which should roll out sometime this summer, is premised on traveling around the world, meeting friends, and sharing travelogues. Think of it as a kind of cross between the map-based travel sequences in Indiana Jones and your post-graduate romp through Europe. (My description, not the company’s.)

Bendov and co. aren’t ready to release screens just yet, but I have a feeling postcards like this one may be in the promotional plan. What I found particularly interesting is the way Journeys effectively mashes up some big trends and technologies – the new fascination with digital maps like Map Quest or Google (GOOG) Earth, the whole GPS craze, and the boom in travel – that people play with out of natural curiosity or pre-vacation distraction. These trends aren’t games but they have game elements, which could help Journeys gain traction with a more casual type of user that may be otherwise put off by the hardcore Second Life type of worlds or the cartoony, kid-friendliness of a Habbo. It remains to be seen how the final product will turn out, of course, but at the moment it looks like the fundamentals are there.

Until then, keep an eye on the project’s website and interesting travel-oriented blog they write.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.