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Have You Played... GeoGuessr?

Say goodbye to your day

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Google Street View is a modern marvel, letting you tour around unvisited cities or lonely roads in the middle of nowhere. GeoGuessr [official site] makes a game of this desktop tourism: it drops you in a random location somewhere in the world and challenges you to work out where you are.

This initially seems impossible, because how the heck are you supposed to discern one tree-lined road from another? Is this Canada, or is it France?

Although, it does feel more like Canada. You can’t put your finger on why. Somewhere in the back of your mind all the television shows and movies you’ve ever seen are telling you that the texture of the trees and grass feels more Canadian than French.

Or maybe you notice a road sign, a number plate, the architectural style of a distant building. You zoom in on the map and pick a point, a rough guess, and find that you got it right to within a few hundred kilometers. There was luck involved, to be sure, but also a kind of unconscious deduction. You go again. This time you’re dropped in a city, with far more for the eye to pour over. This will be easy!

You get it wrong by about four thousand miles. You can do better, you’re sure. You go again.

And again, and again, and again, until your day has disappeared. GeoGuessr takes a modern marvel and turns it into a game. It is itself a marvel.

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Graham Smith

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