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GeoGuessr

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GeoGuessr
Publisher(s)GeoGuessr AB
Designer(s)Anton Wallén
Platform(s)Web browser
Android
iOS
ReleaseMay 2013; 11 years ago (May 2013)
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

GeoGuessr is a browser-based geography game in which players are tasked to guess locations from Google Street View imagery. The game features multiple game modes, including singleplayer and multiplayer competitions. Launched in 2013 by Anton Wallén, the game maintained a relatively small yet active player base until 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic and social media brought a large influx of new players. After February 1, 2024, the game required a subscription to play.[1]

The game has been described as an educational tool for geography: players can learn and identify global geographical and cultural characteristics such as writing systems, architecture, left- and right-hand traffic, flags, vehicle registration plates, and flora.

Gameplay[edit]

The GeoGuessr "classic" view

Modes[edit]

The "classic" GeoGuessr game mode consists of five rounds, each displaying a different street view location for the player to guess on a map. The player then receives a score of up to 5,000 points depending on how accurate their guess was, up to 25,000 points for a perfect game. Games may be user-generated or randomly generated from a pool of locations.[2][3]

Alternative game modes include:

  • Battle Royale, a multiplayer last man standing game[4][5]
  • Duels, a two-player head-to-head competition[6]
  • Streaks, where players identify countries, U.S. states, or world cities until they guess incorrectly[7][8]
  • Explorer Mode, a single-player game where medals are awarded for accuracy in individual countries[9]
  • Team Duels, a variation of Duels played between two teams[10]
  • Maprunner, single-player game mode featuring a board game style interface[11]
  • Singleplayer, where players travel the world and its various cities while collecting tips to help them determine where they are.[12]

In 2022, GeoGuessr acquired the geography quiz site Seterra,[13] and implemented a quiz mode combining standard street view gameplay with trivia questions.[14]

Interface[edit]

The game's HUD primarily features the Google Street View imagery, as well as a compass. Users can control the movement, panning, and zooming of the image, although GeoGuessr allows any of these features to be disabled for harder gameplay.[15] An inset map, using Google Maps's standard overlay, allows players to place a pin to make their guess.

Strategy[edit]

Users may interpret their location from the photographs by reading road signage, finding the relative position of the Sun, identifying flora and soil types, and learning diacritics specific to particular writing systems.[16][17][18] Players can also make use of Street View metadata to ascertain their location – for example, the Street View vehicle that captured imagery in Kruger National Park was unique in that it was green and had white roof racks.[19]

Distribution[edit]

GeoGuessr requires a paid subscription to play. A free mode, which restricted users to 5 minutes of game play every 15 minutes, was discontinued on 1 February 2024,[20][21] although challenges and quizzes are still free to play. Free-to-play users are still able to join and play in private parties hosted by a user with a subscription.[22]

Development[edit]

The game was designed by Swedish IT consultant Anton Wallén in 2013. Wallen loved to visit faraway locations on Google Street View, and initially designed a program to generate a random location in Street View before deciding to add a competitive element.[23]

The game's development took approximately two weeks' work,[3] and uses the Backbone.js JavaScript library and the Google Maps API for games using Google Street View.[24] Wallén posted the completed game to Google Chrome Experiments on 10 May 2013.[24]

As well as English, the game is available in ten other languages: Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Polish and Japanese. Mobile apps for GeoGuessr are available on the Android and iOS platforms.[25]

Reception[edit]

The launch of the game in May 2013 was described as successful, with the game instantly going viral.[26] Upon its release, the game was described as "insanely addictive."[17] The start of the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a renewed interest in the game and it also had a second peak in March 2021.[26] By July 2022, the game had 40 million player accounts.[27] Interest in the game has been propagated on platforms such as Reddit, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch, where notable users such as Ludwig, GeoWizard, and Rainbolt have recorded or streamed themselves playing the game.[26][28][29]

The game has been cited as an educational tool by helping users to "develop critical skills to analyze geographical and cultural landscapes",[21] and it has been suggested that the game could enhance geographical education within the classroom.[5][30]

GeoGuessr users have criticized some of the photographic coverage used in the game. Locations such as Zanzibar used third-party and unofficial imagery, and GeoGuessr players have described some of this media as grainy, blurry, and over- or under-exposed.[18] World Travel in 360, the organization that led the program to supply coverage of Zanzibar, stated that "[their] mapping is better than nothing".[18]

The game has been the inspiration for several fan-made versions which use video game environments, such as the worlds of Grand Theft Auto V,[31] Fortnite, World of Warcraft,[32] Genshin Impact,[33] and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.[34]

AI research[edit]

In July 2023, researchers at Stanford University developed a machine learning tool that was able to locate 40 percent of GeoGuessr locations with an accuracy of 25 kilometres (16 mi) or better. After three attempts, the model was able to beat Rainbolt, a top-ranked player.[35] In a preprint, the authors noted that such models could positively impact climate research, as successful geolocation of an image often requires a correct climate classification of the locale: if artificial intelligence can detect that two images come from the same region, feeding the tool with pictures could provide inexpensive data on how climate change affects regions. The study recognized that quick-recognition of outdoor locations could have privacy and security implications.[36]

Events[edit]

GeoGuessr Team World Cup[edit]

On 2 October 2022 GeoGuessr co-sponsored Ligue Intercommu's "GeoGuessr Team World Cup", a LAN party streamed on Twitch.[37][38] It was commentated by streamers including Antoine Daniel and Etoiles [fr].[39] The competition was won by the team "Speed Plonkers", which featured the players Blinky (France), Kodiak (Germany), and Maccem (Sweden).[citation needed]

GeoGuessr World Cup[edit]

GeoGuessr World Cup 2023 Top 4 players: Consus, Blinky, Radu and Fungus.

On 13–14 October 2023, GeoGuessr hosted the inaugural GeoGuessr World Cup, the game's first single-player in-person esports tournament. Held at Space Arena in Stockholm, the tournament featured 24 participants representing 21 different nations, with a $50,000 prize pool.[40] The event was broadcast on the web, and cast by streamers such as Rainbolt, Launders, and Pala. The tournament was won by Dutch player Consus, beating French player Blinky in the finals.[41][42][43]

The 2024 competition will be held in the Blue Hall at Stockholm City Hall.[44] According to their website, it is scheduled to take place between 11-14 September 2024.[45] There will be 24 participants in the main event.

GeoGuessr World Cup
Year Host Venue Winner Runner-up 3rd–4th place
2023  Sweden Space Arena – Stockholm Netherlands Consus France Blinky Canada Fungus
Romania Radu
2024 Stockholm City Hall – Stockholm TBD

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "GeoGuessr - Let's explore the world!". www.geoguessr.com. Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  2. ^ Keating, Joshua (10 May 2013). "Get Dropped Virtually Anywhere In The World And Try To Guess Where You Are". HuffPost UK. Archived from the original on 8 October 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Geoguessr: ¿Dónde diablos estoy?". vanguardia.com.mx (in Mexican Spanish). 26 May 2013. Archived from the original on 8 October 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  4. ^ Antell, Filip. "What is Battle Royale?". GeoGuessr. Archived from the original on 11 April 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b Williams, Murphy (8 March 2023). "The clues used by GeoGuessr experts to guess a random location instantly – use our interactive tool to try yourself". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  6. ^ Antell, Filip. "What are Duels?". GeoGuessr. Archived from the original on 11 April 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  7. ^ Antell, Filip. "What is Country Streak?". GeoGuessr. Archived from the original on 11 April 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  8. ^ Antell, Filip. "What are City Streaks?". GeoGuessr. Archived from the original on 11 April 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  9. ^ Antell, Filip. "What is Explorer Mode?". GeoGuessr. Archived from the original on 11 April 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  10. ^ Antell, Filip (6 October 2022). "What is Team Duels?". GeoGuessr. Archived from the original on 25 September 2023. Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  11. ^ "Introducing Maprunner: A Thrilling New GeoGuessr Game Mode with Power-Ups & More!". GeoGuessr. 29 March 2023. Archived from the original on 24 April 2023. Retrieved 24 April 2023.
  12. ^ Mika (1 February 2024). "How does the new Singleplayer game work?". GeoGuessr. Retrieved 21 May 2024.
  13. ^ "Seterra becomes a part of GeoGuessr!". www.geoguessr.com. GeoGuessr. Archived from the original on 23 December 2022. Retrieved 23 December 2022.
  14. ^ Antell, Filip. "Quiz". GeoGuessr. Archived from the original on 11 September 2022. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  15. ^ Shrivastava, Aarnesh (February 2022). ""Isn't Ireland next to Scotland?": Mizkif struggles to locate Scotland on the world map during GeoGuessr match". www.sportskeeda.com. Archived from the original on 11 April 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  16. ^ Wilde, Tyler (13 January 2022). "Watch these guys speedrun planet earth". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 10 August 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  17. ^ a b Oremus, Will (15 May 2013). "A National Geographic Cartographer Explains How to Win That Google Maps Guessing Game". Slate Magazine. Archived from the original on 8 October 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  18. ^ a b c Deck, Andrew (8 April 2021). "Zanzibar's project to put itself on Google Street View has angered a legion of European video game streamers". Rest of World. Archived from the original on 10 May 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  19. ^ Winkie, Luke (21 December 2021). "GeoGuessr made figuring out where on Earth you are the hottest new esport". The Verge. Archived from the original on 29 July 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  20. ^ Sarkar, Arka (19 January 2024). ""Corpo is gonna be Corpo": GeoGuessr going paid after ending free subscription has fans disappointed". Sportskeeda. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  21. ^ a b Lei, Tsai-ling (3 March 2022). "Design critique: GeoGuessr as an educational game". Bootcamp. Medium. Archived from the original on 27 May 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  22. ^ "Go PRO to continue playing GeoGuessr". GeoGuessr. 19 January 2024. Archived from the original on 19 January 2024. Retrieved 19 January 2024.
  23. ^ Coldwell, Will (2 June 2013). "Where in the world am I? The addictive mapping game that is GeoGuessr". The Independent. Archived from the original on 30 July 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  24. ^ a b Pitcher, Jenna (13 May 2013). "Get lost with Google Maps-based game GeoGuessr". Polygon. Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  25. ^ "General FAQ". GeoGuessr. Archived from the original on 15 August 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  26. ^ a b c "How a 2013 Browser Game Made Its Comeback". Brandwatch. Archived from the original on 16 August 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  27. ^ Browning, Kellen (7 July 2022). "Siberia or Japan? Expert Google Maps Players Can Tell at a Glimpse". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 7 April 2023. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  28. ^ Monaghan, Becca (31 August 2022). "Who is Georainbolt the man who can identify anywhere on Earth by just a single photo". indy100. Archived from the original on 20 September 2022. Retrieved 19 September 2022.
  29. ^ Browning, Kellen (7 July 2022). "Siberia or Japan? Expert Google Maps Players Can Tell at a Glimpse". New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 7 April 2023. Retrieved 17 November 2022.
  30. ^ Dixon, Seth (26 November 2013). "Using GeoGuessr in the Classroom". GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION. Archived from the original on 18 May 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  31. ^ Sahbegovic, Danny (19 January 2022). "How to play GTAGuessr, a game where GTA 5 players explore Los Santos with Franklin". www.sportskeeda.com. Retrieved 12 January 2024.
  32. ^ Welsh, Oli (17 November 2022). "Someone made a World of Warcraft GeoGuessr and now the last 18 years of my life have meaning". Polygon. Archived from the original on 16 March 2023. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  33. ^ Diaz, Ana (27 May 2022). "I'm better at the Genshin Impact GeoGuessr than the real-world one". Polygon. Archived from the original on 9 March 2023. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  34. ^ Carpenter, Nicole (2 May 2023). "Prepare for Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom by testing your knowledge of Hyrule's map". Polygon. Archived from the original on 4 May 2023. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  35. ^ Claburn, Thomas (15 July 2023). "This AI is better than you at figuring out where a street pic was taken just by looking at it". The Register. Retrieved 18 July 2023.
  36. ^ Haas, Lukas; Skreta, Michal; Alberti, Silas (2023). "PIGEON: Predicting Image Geolocations". arXiv:2307.05845 [cs.CV].
  37. ^ "Ligue Intercommu". super-duper.fr. Retrieved 20 June 2024.
  38. ^ "Geoguessr Team World Cup". gtwc.info.
  39. ^ "GEOGUESSR TEAM WORLD CUP | FINALE". 7 November 2022. Retrieved 20 June 2024.
  40. ^ "Where am I? Gaming whizzes put geography on the map". ETTelecom.com. The Economic Times. AFP. 15 October 2023. Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  41. ^ "World Cup - GeoGuessr". www.geoguessr.com. Retrieved 9 October 2023.
  42. ^ "World Cup Announcement - GeoGuessr". www.geoguessr.com. Retrieved 9 October 2023.
  43. ^ "GeoGuessr Unveils Stellar Lineup of Talent for Inaugural World Cup - GeoGuessr". www.geoguessr.com. Retrieved 9 October 2023.
  44. ^ Šimić, Ivan (25 March 2024). "GeoGuessr World Cup 2024 to take place in Stockholm City Hall". eSports Insider. Retrieved 18 April 2024.
  45. ^ https://www.geoguessr.com/world-cup

External links[edit]