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|First played||July 1, 2011, Texas|
|Equipment||Mobile phone or Tablet computer with GPS receiver|
Munzee is a freemium scavenger hunt game where places have to be found in the real world. The game is similar to Geocaching but uses QR code technology, in addition to device GPS location, to prove the find instead of a logbook. Launched in Texas in 2011, the game caught on first in Germany, along with California and Michigan. It is now played in more than 188 countries around the world, and there is at least one physical Munzee deployed on every continent, including Antarctica.
The places are marked by other players using QR codes, which are hidden and often printed on weatherproof stickers. The places can also be marked by a NFC tag. These stickers are called Munzees. Both the finding and the hiding players receive points for deploying and finding Munzees. The QR codes on the Munzees are read by means of a smartphone app for IOS, Android or Windows. The coordinates of the Munzees as well as the data of the players are managed via the central web platform.
Virtual Munzees are also available for purchase. These also appear in app lists and on maps, and they are "captured" by locating the app device within 300 feet of the designated location. The device must also be within 300 feet of a QR code Munzee to verify "capture."
A common misconception is that the idea for Munzee was inspired by geocaching, a game in which participants search for a hidden cache using GPS technology. However, Munzee co-founder Aaron Benzick (having never been a geocacher) came up with the idea of using QR codes for a game in 2008, but smartphone technology and capability were not available at the time. Benzick, and co-founders, Scott Foster, Chris Pick, and Josh Terkelsen launched the game on July 1, 2011. The term Munzee was derived from the German word for coin, Münze. To make the name more catchy, an e was added. The original idea was to use poker chips or rounded coins with QR codes.
Munzees can consist of any material; they must have at minimum a QR-code and physically meet the conditions of the location (waterproof, weatherproof, etc.). Munzees either can be self generated and printed or be purchased via the web store or through authorised distributors. NFC Munzees and Virtual Munzees can be purchased from the web store.
To generate or to order Munzees one has to be logged in on the central platform with a unique user name. When generating a Munzee, the platform creates a web link, over which the generated Munzee can be managed. This web link is represented as a QR code on the Munzee. A descriptive name and an arbitrarily long comment can be assigned to the Munzee as properties. Both are stored on the central platform (not in the QR code) and can be changed later.
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