Several years ago, I found a web browser-based game. I don’t remember what it was called. The object of the game was to guess a geographic location. The game would bring you to Google Street View. You would then have to figure out where in the world this street view is, by moving around, looking for road signs or a post office or some similar clues. I remember that the game started off fairly easy, on a freeway in the desert, with a city in the distance. Once you found the sign welcoming you to Reno, Nevada, you’d type in your guess. The game would then take you to a new location, and another, with each location being harder to guess than the previous one.
The game, whatever it was called, was fun for a while, but eventually fell out of my interest. (I think the problem I had with it was that, even if you had a good idea of where you were, it was sometimes difficult to type in the answer precisely enough that the game would count it as correct. I may be mis-remembering that, however. Maybe I just got tired of it.)
Yesterday, at work, I was listening to YouTube videos, and I happened upon a new series by Strictoaster (whose City:Skylines videos I especially enjoy). In this series, he’s playing a web browser-based game named GeoGuessr. I don’t know if this is an improved version of the game I once played, or a better game similar to the game I once played. Either way, it’s better.
GeoGuesser uses Google Street View. Rather than a programmed progression of difficulty, it seems to be random. You find yourself in a different location every time you start the game. It could be on a roadway along a coast, miles from the nearest town, or it could be right outside of Schiphol Airport.
Again, the object is to figure out where in the world you are.
(As Strictoaster pointed out, it would be easy to cheat at this game with a smart phone or another browser window, doing searches on names you find. What would be the fun in that, however? That would be like solving a crossword puzzle by turning to the answer in the back of the book.)
Rather than typing in your answer, you point to a world map. You’re then awarded points based on how close you are to the correct location. That’s so much better. Precision is not necessary. If you guess you’re somewhere in Norway, but don’t know the exact city, just click somewhere and submit it. You’ll get points for being close. You won’t lose by misspelling a city’s name.
I tried out GeoGuessr during my 15-minute break this morning. (I meant to try it at home last night, but I forgot.) I didn’t bother setting up an account. I didn’t bother keeping score. I didn’t bother trying to get as close as I could. I was just trying it out.
I guessed a small village might be in the Italian countryside. (It was in the Spanish countryside.) I guessed that I was in Poland. (I was in Hungry.) I guessed, based on the colors I could make out in the blurred license plates, that the farming town was in Washington. (It was in South Dakota.) I guessed I was in the countryside of France. (The correct location was in France, less than 300 kilometers than my wild guess.) I’m pleased with this initial attempt.
I think I can get into GeoGuessr, and stick with it longer than I played that earlier game.