From the moment many of us are brought into this world we are imprinted with a natural desire to explore. Many people, throughout their lives, find that being confined to one particular place does little to satisfy their wanderlust.
Although many eventually find the means to satisfy this need many others never receive that same opportunity.
However, in recent years the open expanses of the globe have been collected and deposited for anyone to view in an inventive and incredibly fun way. Geoguessr (and no, that's not a typo by the way) is a web-based game that uses Google maps' street view feature to place the user on a random road or path that could be anywhere across the globe.
The twist, however, and what makes it a game, is that the user has no idea where they are. The object of the game is to use context clues and surrounding landmarks and features to guess your location. Points are awarded depending on how close the player comes to guessing their location. The game consists of five rounds with a maximum of 5,000 points per round.
Although just a game, Geoguessr also serves as a medium in which to immerse people in other cultures and, for many, a way to explore places they may never get the chance to see. The game doesn't discriminate on where it drops its players.
Every round has an equal chance to see you on a winding road in the Andes Mountains just as much as it does a bustling city in India. One round you might witness the magnificent views from the winding roads near Mount Fuji and the next you could find yourself in the slums of Bogota, Colombia.
While not always traditionally beautiful in what you might find, Geoguessr serves more as a learning experience than it does a competitive game.
Even if you aren't trying to be good at it you'll eventually find yourself looking up the meanings of certain foreign words or, if you go far enough down the rabbit hole, looking up the names of roads on Google maps just to get a better understanding of where in the world you actually are.
Just the other day I found myself placed in a dense, tropical area littered with small villages. After straying a ways from my start destination I discovered a building with the word "Puhpelum" painted across one of its walls. Intrigued, I googled the meaning of the word and I discovered that it was an Indonesian equivalent of school.
Even more interested, from there I went on to discover the name of that specific school and thus its exact location.
Despite the emphasis on scenery and roadside landscapes, quite a lot is learned about the culture about certain regions when you find yourself thrown into the ramshackle towns of Romania or the hectic markets of Peru. In a way being dropped into a country without knowing where or what it is can serve to eliminate stereotypes and almost accentuate culture shock.
For example, many people often imagine Iceland to be consistently covered in snow and ice. However, Geoguessr has gone to show that many of those preconceptions are false and that Iceland often looks like much of northern Europe.
Overall, Geoguessr is an amazing game and concept that not only is fun but educational as well. It can be played by virtually anyone who knows how to point and click a mouse and is a great way to pass the time or learn about other cultures and nations.
I highly recommend Geoguessr to anyone with time on their hands and hope that whoever created it keeps up the good work.