Merritt’s Munzee-Mania

By on August 25, 2016
Reporter Michael Potestio tracked down one of the 25 Munzee tags around town to snap this picture. The game is played in more than 199 countries around the world. (Michael Potestio/Herald).

Forget Pokémon GO. There’s another game for your phone that’s making inroads in Merritt and its name is Munzee.

Munzee is a free scavenger hunt game that, like the popular pocket monster’s game, requires you to go to real world places. But you don’t come across a Charizard, or Pikachu on your phone. Instead players find and scan QR codes with their cell phone.

“It’s very, very similar to geocaching,” said Gold Country Communities Society chief operating officer Terri Hadwin.

In geocaching, people get co-ordinates to a specific location to find a container that has a trinket inside.

“Munzees are very much the same,” she said. “You download an app on to your phone and you’re given instructions and co-ordinates to a specific pinpoint.”

Once at that location players look for a Munzee QR code, which they scan using the app to earn points.

Gold Country has planted Munzees in Merritt in an effort to encourage tourism.

“Munzees are becoming a growing trend,” Hadwin said.

It is a low cost activity that can bring in tourists who are specifically interested in finding new Munzees, said Hadwin.

“Hopefully they would stay overnight, [and], if not, they would at least eat at a restaurant [or] get gas,” Hadwin said.

She said Gold Country belongs to a lot of geocaching groups and the game is catching on with them.

“They’re adding this to their repertoire, or they’re preferring Munzees over geocaching,” said Hadwin.

Hadwin said Gold Country released 25 Munzees in town and there have been 10 others that were deployed by a different account before that.

The game originally launched back in 2011 in Texas and first became popular in the states of Michigan and California. Today it is played by people in more than 188 countries around the world, according to Gold Country. There is at least one Munzee on every continent – even Antarctica.

“The reason why it’s really popular, especially in Vancouver, is [Munzees] tend to be hidden within communities, whereas geocaches are also out in the woods,” Hadwin said.

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