Posted on Monday, July 7th, 2014 by Will Hagle
SmartyPins is a Google Maps-based geography and trivia game that challenges players to pinpoint the exact locations in response to questions on a variety of topics.
Google Maps has been rolling out a series of updates to both its app and the browser version of the service, and the new Smarty Pins game demonstrates yet another innovative way in which Maps can be used. The game uses the Google Maps interface and displays trivia questions in a small box to the side. The box displays questions about pop culture, history, entertainment and a variety of other topics. Each question can be answered with a geographical location. Instead of typing in an answer, however, you drag and drop a pin on the correct location on the map. The game is mostly fun because the locations are so specific. A question about from where the Village People derived their name cannot simply be answered with “New York,” for instance. The pin has to be dropped on the West Village in Manhattan.
At the beginning of each game, you start with 1000 “miles.” If you drop the pin directly on the location which corresponds to the question, you’ve given a “perfect answer” and no miles are lost. If you’re even one mile away from the correct location, one mile is subtracted from your score (and, of course, more miles correspond with larger losses of miles). Once your miles hit zero, the game is over. There’s also the opportunity to gain back miles on each turn, as a “Bonus” box counts down from 10 while you attempt to answer a question. Depending on when you answer, you regain that many miles. This makes things difficult if you drastically mix up locations, as I embarrassingly did with Peru and Brazil. The game is extremely fun and one of the best uses of Google Maps technology that I’ve seen in a while.