Scavenger Hunt in the Digital Age: Tag and Seek Participant Experience

Scavenger Hunt in the Digital Age: Tag and Seek Participant Experience

As a young professional, I loathed corporate team building as a mandatory activity. Managers required us to participate on scavenger hunts in the hopes of learning about one another and facts about the company. Over the years, I’ve grown out of the surly, young, and overly ambitious individual. In recent years, I’ve grown fond of such activities I once believed juvenile and unnecessary. You might be wondering, what changed? I’d like to think maturity set in and brought me back to the pleasures of curiosity and discovery. Last weekend, I participated in the Tag and Seek Beta test, sponsored by ZERO1. The experience made me realize that any game requires willing participants. Bottom line: It was enlightening and made clear that real time human interaction is important. The experience also showed how technology serves as a conduit allowing for narratives to intersect and become a part of the gaming experience.

Being a blogger, it’s absolutely imperative to curate content for the public and one of the most enriching parts of my job is covering events, exhibitions, or beta testing! Knowing the experience was a scavenger hunt and geocaching based game, I expected some sort of social interaction. Other than that, I wasn’t expecting very much from the experience other than familiarizing myself with San Jose cityscape. Tag and Seek was played using the application, TagWhat, which provided brief descriptions of landmarks and artworks sprinkled throughout Downtown San Jose. The mapping capability underneath the picture and description of the landmark helped us navigate the landscape. Since I had the opportunity to partner with James Morgan, professor of Digital Media Arts at San Jose State University, I had quite the advantage. Ironically, James and I already met…virtually. Through e-mail correspondence regarding an Ars Virtua exhibition, look art, we already started a dialogue about virtual spaces and art experiences (If you’re interested, you can read about the look art exhibition here).

My partnership with James for Tag and Seek resulted in second place after the tags were tallied. Yet coming in second didn’t damper the fact that it was one of the better scavenger hunts I’ve ever played. Although fun, people would probably be more likely to work hard knowing a specific reward accompanies the game. It would be great to receive a badge or star within the app when a particular tag status has been reached so the gamer can readily access how many tags they’ve submitted. The dynamics of game play were much more robust knowing my teammate was interested in conversation as well! Sadly, my battery died towards the end of the game and I had to take photos outside of the app relying heavily on multi-tasking (an iPhone 4 was used during game play). Beyond tagging and seeking landmarks another participant suggested interacting with specific individuals and/or your own team mates to make the game enriching, on a physical and social level. Overall, Tag and Seek is a promising game application and I’m excited to see the enhancements and developments made in the next few months. Again, if you want to learn more about Tag and Seek, click here.


I also invite you to join the conversation online, what apps do you use to connect with friends? What are your favorites? What applications help you learn more about your environment? Please join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter!