Growing up, I always loved scavenger hunts. Who didn’t? The challenge of finding hidden clues, the satisfaction in figuring out what they mean, the ultimate reward of completing the hunt. Unfortunately, once you’re past the age of 12 or so, games of this sort become increasingly scarce. In fact, most games start to fade away, and soon enough you find yourself consumed with activities that clearly fall into the “work” category: schoolwork, housework, paperwork.
But with the advent of the now nearly ubiquitous smart phone, games are enjoying a digital renaissance. I can’t get on the Blue Line without seeing Angry Birds or Doodle Jump being played on a screen nearby. Big box stores encourage you to “check-in” on Foursquare to redeem points and get coupons. And let’s not even talk about Farmville.
One of the newest—and in my opinion, most exciting—additions in the world of smart phone game-apps from a museum perspective is SCVNGR (pronounced the same as if the vowels were there). It’s a game about going places, doing challenges, and earning points. The people at SCVNGR have worked hard to make sure awesome institutions are involved, and they’ve done some prettycoolstuff already. We recently set up some quick, easy challenges on the Art Institute page and encourage you to try them out! We also welcome your tips and comments, which you can leave for fellow SCVNGR players by checking-in during your next visit. Right now you’ll earn 2 points for every challenge you complete, and while real world redemption of those points is currently TBD, we’re hoping to have some rewards in place in the next few weeks.
Download SCVNGR for free to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android (we hear Blackberry is coming soon!) and happy hunting!