Challenges: Don’t Hate The Game, Hate The Player

The new Geocaching Challenges were released yesterday to very mixed reviews … okay, I’m being PC … nearly everyone hated them. Complaints ranged from detesting a number of frivolous frog-kissing locationless challenges to disliking there being no necessity to use a GPS. If you’re looking to further your hatred of this new game, you should check out posts here, forums here and Facebook here.

As for me? I love them.

For some I realise that would be as easy to read as if I had said I was in love with a pig called Berta, but it’s true (that I love Challenges … I swear I’ve never even met a pig called Berta). And let me explain why:

1. I’m not afraid of change

It fascinates me that some people have gotten so worked up about this, harped on about how they used to be proud of the game and how this is going to destroy geocaching. The game we all know and love is still there, people, and it hasn’t changed!! What has changed is that there is now a nice, little, side game to try out. And that is okay. Trying something new is okay.

2. Challenges are FUN!!!!

This was one of the important points J-Rish (aka Jeremy Irish, Groundspeak CEO) made recently was that these were meant to be fun. The furore over its Kiss A Frog challenge was a complete over-reaction. This was a chance for people to do something a little fun on the opening day of challenges. Complaining about it is like going to a kids birthday party and moaning about pin the tail on the donkey. This challenge cache does not define them all, just as those stupid eclipse tins don’t define geocaches.

I see very little from the complainers about the excellent ‘pick up 10 pieces of rubbish’ challenge – perhaps the best and most worthy cache of any type I’ve seen in a long time.

With my own challenge cache I made sure to take people to a place of significance here in Dunedin, New Zealand and do something fun. I also hope that people might learn a little something at the same time. And it reminds me of one of our oldest and still active virtuals (GCB6C).

3. There are actually locations

Forget the paltry worldwide challenges and the rubbish the crackpots are putting out for a moment and focus on the nearby challenges. It doesn’t matter where I look all the local challenges appear to have somewhere to go and something fun to do. Some of my local ones I actually had to look up on Google maps and even then thought I would need the GPS to make sure I was in the right spot.

I do understand the concern that many don’t need a GPS to do them. We love our little tech toys. But let’s face it, most urban caches don’t require a GPS either. Kjwx is a prime example of someone who didn’t get a GPS until she had surpassed 50 finds. And how many of the beloved virtuals needed a GPS? Very few of the ones I have done or looked at really needed use of one, including the example I provided above.

In saying that I do hope challenge cache creators take heed and make them a little more GPS needy. But there in lies another point – creators should take note, not necessarily Groundspeak. We create the challenges, therefore we have a responsibility to make them good ones.

And, of course, there is the handy…

4. Voting and archiving

Groundspeak lackeys are already hard at work archiving the rubbish challenges that idiots are putting out and getting rid of the ones that people hate. I think we’ll find that having a say in this way will shape the challenge game more than anything else. Vote down the challenges you hate and vote up the ones you like. Give the game some time to mature before you judge it completely.

And that leads me onto one of my frustrations so far – why is everyone putting up with the fools that are trying to trash the game? It’s been out for a day and in that time people have ranted, raved and created numerous challenge caches that simply try to show up the game. It’s childish and pathetic.

People need to give the whole thing a fair chance to prove itself and a few hours is simply not long enough. How is anyone supposed to see the value in it if they have to wade through others’ trash challenges? It’s like complaining about litter by emptying rubbish bags all over the place.

So my suggestion is that we give the game a break and focus on the players who are destroying it for the rest of us. They are the ones who are making it look bad and the ones we should be mad with.

And if you happen to be one of those people causing all the ruckus – how about laying off so those of us who like the concept can enjoy it?

UPDATE: Upon checking in this morning I note that the ‘Kiss a Frog’ Challenge has been archived. Clearly the system works!



1 comment

  1. Dave

    I thought the Kiss the Frog was a good one – first Challenge, Geocache related, well, more GroundSpeak, the whole Frog and Mascot relation – Easy to do! and for those who are saying its not GC related, well, make it that way!
    I was going to do Kiss the Frog out by my car next to my TB tag on it

    I do have a Negative, Im still waiting to remove 3 Archived Challenges from my Accepted list – Im sure they are working on it though (hope so anyways)

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