To start off, let me say that this will not be about a "tradtional" video game, but rather an outdoor, interactive video game of sorts. Once the snow melts and the frigid air gives way to the spring, I'm going stir-crazy, and am just itching to get outside. Problem is that I need something to do...I need an objective. So I bust out my trusty GPS and start the next season of geocaching, which is almost like modern day hunting for buried pirate booty. Even though it takes place outdoors (for the most part), geocaching is like a video game in several respects:There is a console: a computer or any other device that can access the internet) There is a controller: a GPS or any other device with a GPS) There is an objective: track down hidden loot! The website tracks the caches you located and you can compare your stats with other cachers Can be played with others!!!
For those not familiar with geocaching, you can either head over to the website at geocaching.com or continue reading. Here's the general gist: people go out into the world and hide hidden treasure in containers. They then go onto the geocaching website and upload the GPS coordinates on where to find it. Then you can go onto the website and get the coordinates, and then head out and attempt to track it down. Even though you have the GPS coordinates, it is not always easy since the hiders are often clever and you can find it on a tree branch, under a rock, inside a tree stump or stop sign post...the possibilities are endless! Once you find the cache you can swap items with the container and then leave your name on the log inside, letting the world know that you were there and accomplished your mission.
Not only is geocaching like an interactive outdoor video game, but it even has the ultimate co-op mode! I go out caching with the miss', my sister, and/or friends and let me tell you...multiple sets of eyes are better than one! First off, there can be an unlimited number of "players"; and everyone who is participating doesn't even need a controller (GPS). It's a blast to go walking through the woods or the city with friends and you are all talking and having a great time while keeping your eyes on the GPS to guide you. Once you hit the general area, everyone can fan out with the same common goal: to find the hidden cache. Everyone thinks differently, and there's been plenty of times when I have been stumped on finding the cache and then a friend will suddenly spot it. Plus everyone thinks differently, so some people will think to look in areas that others wouldn't.
Once the cache is found it is a call for a celebration. Everyone crowds together and congratulates each other as a communial pen is passed around so that everyone can sign the log. Later on, everyone can go home and log the cache, so even if you weren't the one to locate the cache (get the kill, score the winning point, etc.), you still gain the xp (being able to log the cache as "found.")
Geocaching with friends and family is a great way to spend a bright, sunny weekend in May. It gets you out of the house, let's you "play" with friends and have that social aspect, but it still uses technology so you won't be feeling total gaming withdrawal. The next time you feel the warm weather encroaching, turn on your GPS instead of the AC and get out into the world and find some loot!