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A New Geo-TreasURe To Bag

Ever wanted to search for geocaches inside the mind of a virtual giant? Now you can, as part of the hit web game Glitch.

Known as TreasUReBagging, this electronic version of geocaching is the brainchild of American Bryan ‘Rusty’ Buchanan (that’s him in his online form, right).

For the uninitiated: Glitch is a multiplayer web game by Tiny Speck – the company created by Flickr founder Stewart Butterfield – set inside the minds of 11 “peculiarly imaginative” giants.

Players (known as Glitchians) shape their virtual world of UR by “building and developing, learning new skills, collaborating or competing with everyone else in one enormous, ever-changing” environment.

Buchanan announced his TreasUReBagging project in November – two months after the game’s release and just days before Tiny Speck ‘unlaunched’ Glitch by returning to a Beta version to improve gameplay – in a bid  “to ‘give back’ to all the awesome Glitchians out there”.

Back then, he said: “I wanted to create something that could be creative and entertaining as well as instilling some generosity.  As I sat and meditated, I received an inspiration from the giants. I wasn’t exactly sure how to do it but I started.  About three weeks went past and lots of notes were made as I tried to figure out how it might work.  Now, it’s done and I’m willing to let everyone know about it.”

As part of his geo-project, he created a website and a new Glitch group called TreasUReBag Rovers, where members (currently numbering 31) can discuss searching for any of the nine TreasUReBags that have been dropped by Buchanan’s character, Rusty McDusty.

According to his profile page, McDusty resides at 5580 Doon Way Quarter in UR’s Groddle Forest, where he is a miner, alchemist and explorer in Level 22 of the game. In his spare time, he is also a Magister of Zillonomics at the State University of Ur and creator of the Glitch version of Geocaching – TreasUReBags.

Groddle Forest was the site of his first TreasUReBag, Picadilly Perplexion, containing amber, a ruby, “47 chunks of sparkly, a copper ingot and a whopping big diamond”. Others hold sapphires, food – including “hearty Groddle sandwiches”, spinach, cherries and Butterfly milk (Ur’s source of dairy) – and musical items.

Much like in real-life geocaching, the finder of a TreasUReBag can take out an item and replace it with another. “You can also leave a note if you’d like or anything else for the next person to find.”

Step No 2 involves retelling their adventure on the TreasUReBagging website. “If you want, you can also go to the TreasURbag Rovers group and leave an entry there under the bag’s name as well … Then put the bag back down, bless it with the mutterings of a giant of your choice and step away … Now, go to the index page and see if you can find another one!”

Unfortunately for Buchanan, his virtual game within a virtual game has suffered the odd glitch – notably bags going missing – causing him to rethink his plans.

Originally, TreasUReBags could be rehidden in a different spot by each finder, as long as they updated the location on the bag’s listing page. However, last month Buchanan blogged: “I’m taking a hard look at the ‘experiment’ and not seeing the type of interaction with the bags I had hoped for.  Mainly, they’re just getting picked up and taken. Am I surprised? Not at all.  What it does mean though is that this particular ‘game’ may not work out.  I’m thinking big zig-zaggey thoughts about it all and trying to come up with a modification that will work.”

Since then, he has adapted TreasUReBagging’s rules so that bags can no longer be moved. “I’m going to edit the rules to reflect that bags stay in place so people can find them or come back to them if they wish.  I’m not so sure it’s going to help much but I do want to give it a go.”

In the meantime, Buchanan is considering whether to replace those older bags that went “the way of the disappearafied”.

But he told It’s Not About The Numbers it hasn’t all been bad as TreasUReBagging has renewed his fondness for geocaching.  “I’ve been geocaching for a few years and I totally love it. Lately, it’s gone a bit by the wayside but this prompted me to go check on my cache and make plans to do a bit more of this stuff in the ‘real world’.”

*Have you tried TreasUReBagging or played Glitch? Tell us about it below.

1 comment

  1. ML

    Is there any thoughts of integrating the IRL game of geocaching within Glitch? Are we able to get virtual cache count added to our geocaching accounts? I think that this feature would be amazing, and something that hasn’t been done. What about all the handicapped/disabled cachers out there that can’t anymore? You know…or couldn’t…some caches aren’t accessible to everyone.

    Either way, this game overall reminds me of Maple story, but I may give it a go for the caching;

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