Colonial Lifestyle Plus Subway Pass–photo by CScout.

GPS games via smart phones are still somewhat in its infancy, but as usual, in Japan they are well on their way to becoming effective advertising mechanisms. Thanks to a tip from CScout Japan, which covers all things tech, we’ve discovered a new game created by Colpol called Koroni-na-Seikatsu Plus or Colonial Lifestyle Plus -a GPS game that smart phone users and iPhone users in Japan can download and use on public transportation. The game allows users to earn currency or virtual points based on where they visit.

Recently, the creators have partnered with the Tokyo Metro system and regional business and tour companies to get people to take various trips and experience certain things. For example, players can get a discounted deal for a one-day train pass from vendors at various key stations, and by riding the train and going to specific stops and locations within the game, players build up points. In one game called Tokyo Rediscovery! Eat-It-up! if you get enough virtual points (by going to certain restaurants, shops), you are rewarded with virtual meals whereby you can input a certain code that brings up an avatar chef who cooks the meal for you. (This is all virtual, mind you).

So far, Colonial Lifestyle Plus has a million players, and is gaining momentum We can’t help but wonder when such a thing will hit urban centers in the USA. For example, it would be a great way to encourage more people in Los Angeles to take the subway. And for NYC subway regulars, it could enhance local businesses that participate and drive more people to various stores, restaurants, museums, you name it.

So instead of just having a GPS app that guides you to a store or recommends a restaurant, making it into a gaming platform on your mobile where you can earn points towards a greater goal, offers another avenue to drive traffic and an opportunity for GPS, mobile phone companies, local businesses, and transportation systems to collaborate.