: New: Munzee Daily Stroll

The Munzee play-while-walking-around-with-your-phone game has a cool new RandoNautica-like feature. I want to blog about it, but before I dive in I want to start with:

When you use the Find Nearby Wishing Well button, it might plunk a wishing well onto the map right where you are. E.g. I, sitting in my apartment and wondering "What does this button do?" pressed the button and now there's a wishing well at my apartment building. I wish I'd been somewhere else when I pressed that button. My apartment is next to a steep hillside with poison oak; that's not a great place for a wishing well, as it turns out. The wishing well is visible to other Munzee players; now anyone looking at the Munzee map in my neighborhood can see that icon and say "I bet you a dollar that a Munzee player lives in that building."

map zoomed in on 330 Parnassus Ave with a wishing well icon

To me, this public visibility is a little disconcerting. If I had a stalker and if that stalker knew I played Munzee, it would be quite alarming. Either way, if I'd understood I could summon a wishing well by trying to "find" one, I would have walked a couple of blocks downhill before I pressed that button.

Munzee is a play-while-walking-around-with-your-phone game. Sorta like you do in Pokémon Go, you play the game while walking around and looking at a map on your phone. To "move" in the game, you gotta move in real life. Players can tag interesting spots on the map; go to those spots and "check in" to get points and advance in the game. Unlike Pokémon Go, players can also tag interesting spots in real life by sticking QR code stickers to them; you can see those on the map, go there, find the sticker, and scan it to "check in", get points, and advance.

Also unlike Pokémon Go, you can't just keep checking into the same place once every five minutes. Depending on what type of place it is, maybe you can just check in once per day. This might mean that you're asking the Munzee app "Where else shall I walk today?" and Munzee says "I dunno, man; you already went everywhere in the neighborhood." But now it has a Randonautica-like function: you press a button, the app chooses a random nearby spot on the map and dares you to go there and check in. If you succeed, it chooses another nearby point on the map and challenges you to go there.

This is a nice workaround for the I-already-went-everywhere-in-my-neighborhood-today problem. I bet it's also a good fix for the I-am-the-only-person-in-my-neighborhood-with-this-app problem. When I started playing this game, there was plenty for me to do: I live in San Francisco, surrounded by many many tech nerds who already downloaded the game and started tagging interesting spots on the map. Thus, there were already places for me to check in. I bet a potential-player who lives in a sparse sprawling suburb has a different experience: maybe the nearest player is a fifteen-minute drive away. Maybe they open up the map and there's nothing to do. Maybe they get discouraged and never even start playing. Thus when their next-door neighboor tries the app a week later, there's still nothing interesting on the map in that neighborhood… It's nice that the first Munzee player in a neighborhood now has something to do.

Tags: pedestrian