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

Tag and Seek + Beta Testing = Fun

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 would also like to invite you in on the the conversation! 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 ZERO1 conversation on Facebook or Twitter!

Originally posted to ZERO1

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Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina-American writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She serves as one of the editors-in-chief for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and SF MOMA's Open Space. She has lectured at the De Young museum, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). She is currently a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow researching the concept of citizenship. She also serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism and board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center.

2 thoughts on “Scavenger Hunt in the Digital Age: Tag and Seek Participant Experience”

  1. (Why does all my text disappear when I press the “Like” button? Sheeez!)

    Anyway, if I were playing I’d share a photo of myself featuring the “THE PHILIPPINE COCONUT AUTHORITY” as the backdrop.

    Several years back, I remember my Computer Programming instructor envisioned that games and game apps, e.g. Wii games and several other gaming applications, will rule the industry.

    He didn’t miss the mark. (I just wonder what percentage of the rising proliferation of game apps are as commendable as “Tag & Seek”?)

    The game is meaningful for obvious reasons; but I think the best part of it is the camaraderie it develops among the participants.

    “Tag & Seek”? Two thumbs up!

    1. James and I did discuss one challenge to all this technology – accessibility. Many people do not have smart phones or mobile technology so how do programmers and developers create technologies that address this gap? One of my friends stated that you don’t have to have this technology to experience the art or application. True. However, this is definitely an issue.

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