Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Online Travel Quizzes and Games -- My Top Five

Do these look familiar? Did you draw these in third grade?
Third grade was a frenetic time of geopolitical learning for me. I remember it as if it were, well, over four decades ago. Our class was in a portable container outside the main building of the school, and our teacher was Mrs. Florida. We wee ones were sitting in groups at tables and drawing flags and continents, labeling countries and capitals, and having deep discussions of geopolitical significance, such as:

"Wow, there's a country named Chad."

"Chad's stupid. I saw him eating a booger."

"Chad stinks."

"My brother's name is Chad. He eats boogers too."

Of course to this day I see the country Chad as a large maroon block in the middle of Africa populated by booger eaters.

Looking at Chad now on the map above my desk, I think it's grown narrower, less blocky than it was when I was eight. I wonder if it really changed or if it shrank only in my mind. Though I've lost a lot of other things, I have never lost my love for the shapes of places: Itay's a lone hooker boot, Tennessee's a cruise ship, India's a chicken on a pogo stick (yes, it is). I'd like to think kids today are still as excited about our globe as I was then. And now.

Here are some of my favorite travel quizzes and games on the internet you can use to test your knowledge.

1. Traveler IQ Challenge

This is my favorite one. My mouse sometimes hangs on me, which is the only reason I'm not the king of this game. Precision is key on this one. See how you do. If the embedded game below doesn't load, you can also go HERE to play it. 



Geosense is similar to Traveler IQ, but it feels slower to me. The advantage of Geosense, though, is that you can play with other people. In general, Geosense is more interactive but less snazzy.


2. National Geographic's GeoBee Quiz

Stress! This quiz will keep your mind sharp. You have to read quickly and answer quickly. If you haven't done this one before, choose "Apprentice" first just to get the hang of it. Also check out the celebrity questions. One of today's questions comes from Keith Urban, a fellow Nashvillian, whom I might have met one New Year's Eve many years ago had I stayed a little longer at a friend's party. Oh well.

3. GeoGuessr

Impossibly hard but fun. And it looks good. You're shown a Google Street map shot and expected to pinpoint it on the map. I'm usually 8000 km away but still get points. Sometimes the photo is just bushes along a highway. This game involves quite a bit of specialized knowledge about vegetation, architecture, infrastructure and languages. Does Finnland look a lot like Canada? Does Argentina share tons of similarities with Mexico? What's the difference between a highway in Arizona and one in Brazil?  

4. Triviaplaza

Not just geography or travel! Triviaplaza has lots of quizzes to test your general knowledge of everything from pop music to the grab bag of "miscellaneous". The strength of this quiz site is its variety and abundance. When you should be writing, you could waste hours here testing/increasing your knowledge of world capitals; rivers, island and straits oh my!, and even skyscrapers.

5. sporcle geography quizzes

I like these because of their variety and creativity. Can you name all the countries larger than Greenland? Or the countries with their initial letter repeated? You have to love these challenges.

Now, you're certainly wondering why I haven't included any "Flags of the World" quizzes or games; and due to the recent resurgence in the popularity of flags, I see your point. Flags are indeed fun. In fact, in my third-grade class, I remember having to sit there with booger-eating Chad and draw them all. Do third-graders still draw flags? Are we still having fun with flags?



I must be off,
Christopher

PS! If you missed my interview with Beth Williams of Besudesu Abroad, HERE it is again. Comments appreciated!
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Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Contrary, Prime Number Magazine, [PANK], Necessary Fiction, and Word Riot. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice.