Treasure Hunt gets digital update in WiFi Venice

Now here is a nifty idea for the first July 16th celebration in Lafayette after the fiber is in and the wifi network built: A city-wide Digital Treasure Hunt with a great back story that gets people to really explore the city.

That’s inspired by an article that describes a hunt played in Venice (Italy, you goober, not the fishing port down in Plaquimines) to celebrate the city’s finishing a ubiquitous wifi network built on a fiber backbone (they get big wifi speeds). This is the same Venice that has made internet access a birthright by issuing every child a user ID and password entitling them to free Internet access along with their birth certificate. Someone’s Seriously thinking ahead over there. They have fun there too…(Carnivale, masking? It’s not only a Louisiana thing.)

The idea of the Treasure Hunt, as described on the website, is pretty much what you’d expect with a few twists. Like the Treasure hunt you played as a kid you get a clue that leads you to a place where you can find the next clue and, eventually, solve the puzzle. The three big twists are 1) an engaging narrative, a story that hooks it all together and motivates, 2) exploring the city’s more interesting and obscure nooks an crannies and 3) using text messages instead of paper clues. That last allows the maker to work on a larger scale and to do so asynchronously: you don’t have to lock yourself into a one-time, hard-to-scale, competition. Instead you can play through at anytime with as many people as you want and you can play it as a non-competitive “experience” game.

It’s an idea that can be used to teach folks about the more interesting byways in the place where they live and to help tourists get intimate with the place they are visiting. Once the infrastructure was up (and ubiquitous wifi would really help) it’s easy to imagine different games promoting different aspects of the community (Zydeco, French language, food, Festivals, charities…) and using different themes (Old South, Cajun, Mystery, Sci Fi, Dave Robiceaux novels…) Lots of fun..especially for the person/s creating the games. Any of our fun-loving/creative types up for the task?

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