Geoguessr is one of the simplest, cleverest and most addictive games I’ve stumbled across in ages. Combine a travelogue with a treasure hunt with some real-life detecting and you come close to describing this little gem.
Basically you are taken to a point in the world in Google Streetview. You then have to try to guess where you are. The closer your guess is to the actual position, the more points you get. On it’s face that might sound simple, and sometimes it is. If you land outside a clear landmark like a sign-posted hotel it’s not to difficult to work out where you are. But if you end up in an open stretch of road surrounded by hills it becomes more challenging.
The fun part is trying to extract clues from your surroundings to work out where you could be. Look for signs; see if passing cars are driving on the left- or right-hand side of the road; look at how people are dressed. It’s a real puzzle-solver using the real World. And to top it off you get to see views of places you’d otherwise never look. I particularly like some of the obscure places like tiny Alaskan towns or road-side stops in Africa – places I’d never think you look at in the ordinary course of events.
Really the only criticism I have of the game is that there is clearly a limitation on destinations. I’m guessing that that’s because a completely random system would have you landing in the oceans a lot. As it is, Europe doesn’t pop up as often as I’d expect or like and the only Asian destination I’ve hit is Japan. But this is a little thing.
Geoguessr is completely free and runs in a web browser. Just steer yourself to geoguessr.com.
Part of what makes this little game so addictive is the urge to get a slightly better score each time around. Each round consists of five places and the best I’ve managed to score is around 26,000 points. But each time a round finishes you’re immediately presented with another destination and the urge to try to do better is almost irresistible. Please, someone help me. I need an intervention.