Attention all gamers. Today marks the launch of the goSmithsonian Trek, a new mobile adventure that takes visitors on a tour of nine Smithsonian museums in a quest to decode clues and answer questions delivered via a free Apple iPhone or Android app. The game will be available through July 24.
And here's the best news, the top two players who garner the highest points and complete all of the challenges—haikus, photo assignments and a final tie-breaker—will receive Apple iPads.
But if you're in a hurry to play through and, incidentally, have a chance a winning an iPad, too, check out the upcoming one-day only contest at the Castle Commons this Saturday, July 26. Registered visitors will square off in a four-hour timed competition that is open to all comers, though an RSVP is recommended. Arrive at the Castle Commons at 9:30 to register for the 10 AM start of the game. At 2, players will return to the Castle Commons for the announcement of the first-place winner. The lucky champion will receive an Apple iPad—you must be present to win. (Psst. As of this afternoon, not too many people know about this special event, so cancel your Saturday plans and sign up now.)
The game is powered by the Boston-based SCVNGR, a company which creates game experiences designed around specific locations. The goSmithsonian Trek is "all about going places, doing challenges and earning points," says SCVNGR's Kellian Adams, a former school teacher, who says she loves the educational opportunities the game provides. The Trek includes more than 70 questions that take visitors on a tour of the Smithsonian Castle, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Freer Gallery of Art, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the African Art Museum and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
The goSmithsonian Trek is played on an iPhone or Android after downloading the free App at the Apple App store or the Android Market. For each correct answer, players will earn a range of points, depending on the difficulty of the question. If a clue is answered incorrectly, points are lost.
Visit goSmithsonian.com for more information. SCVNGR has created games in more than 550 institutions across 40 American states and 20 other countries around the world. The goSmithsonian Visitors Guide is published twice yearly and is available for $2 at the museums' visitor desks, stores and IMAX Theaters.