City Secrets

27 Oct 2009


When I first heard Jay-Z’s new song Empire State of Mind, which is a personal map of our hometown, I began to visualize the locations as data points: Stash spot @560 State. Tribeca Grill. MSG. Turns out I was not alone, as Tyler Gray of FastCompany placed Hov’s lyrics to Google Maps. Cool, novel, and any other adjective that can be used to explain how we remix stories within new media.


I asked myself – how could this become even more entertaining? And then, via the Google Geo Developers Blog, I learned that Japanese designer Katsuomi Kobayashi created a driving simulator that uses Google Maps – so that you can drive around any city via the interwebs. Like GTA. 2D or 3D. OMFG.


What if we could meld the two? Therein lies a game of some sort. Alternate or augmented or awesome. Via your computer screen or handheld device, sit in Jay-Z’s SUV and drive around his NYC. It’s like a dash of 2nd Life, and a pinch of ARG and heap of reality to mix it all together. Where can we put this thinking to use for transmedia elements of a narrative, an album release or an advertising campaign? Perhaps, within Heart of the City?

(Written by erstwhile Desedo intern Jeff Slawsky, a strategist, NYC native and rabid UMich fan.)


  1. 27 Oct 2009 roger kahlon


  2. 28 Oct 2009 Griffin Farley

    This is a very cool thought.

  3. 28 Oct 2009 Minkette

    Have you seen this google streetview ‘game’ that plays a different track based on where you are?

    A further mash-up into the mix perhaps :)

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  5. 28 Oct 2009 Sean

    Ahhh… You guys are brilliant. Always brilliant.

  6. 31 Oct 2009 Naheem Adio

    The MickeyD’s he spit’s about is right by my campus …