My friend Craig (creator of the Rocket Cup) posted a link to an absolutely brilliant time sink the other day. It’s called GeoGuessr, a planet-sized web-based guessing game by Anton Wallén that will have you peering intently at your screen for hours on end.
The concept is pretty simple, yet addictive. You are placed in a random location (displayed in the main frame is Google Street view), and you have to guess where you are by placing a pin on a map (displayed in a small frame in the upper right corner of the browser window). The closer your guess is to your starting location, the higher your score. You have five rounds in which to place as high a score as you can.
Most of the time, you can use the contained Google Street interface to check out the surrounding area (it will not let you zoom out past the street mode); in rare occasions, though, you can only view the area about your starting point without the ability to “walk” about. It becomes a game of trade-offs. Do you spend a lot of time checking out the area to determine where you are? Or do you place a pin and hope for the best? On one hand, taking a long time to do some detective work pays off – but sometimes you end up doing a lot of work and end up being really, REALLY far off in your guess.
My top score so far (closed book) is 29,992. How did you do?
It is an educational experience – that’s for sure. One of the first things that you learn is how similar some parts of Mexico look compared to South America; or how parts of Africa can be confused for parts of Australia. Even if you are well-travelled, it can be fairly challenging.
I play “closed book style” – no Google or Bing searches. It’s a challenging prospect, and I have yet to break the magical 30K point barrier. Other people I know go a step further and further limit themselves to simply glancing around their starting position, placing their guess without moving about laterally.
No matter how you play, though, it’s free and it’s fun. Check it out here!