Munzee Player of the Week: Eszter (TurtleFan)

Munzee urges you to explore the world one cap at a time. The game directs players to new and unique areas and offers a social interactions through those explorations. Whether you cap in your hometown or travel across the world, you never know where you’ll find a munzee. We thank our players for growing the map in such unique ways and continue to support venturing off the beaten path. This week’s Munzee Player of the Week has taken our game to farther reaches than our founders would ever have thought possible and we’re pleased to have Eszter (TurtleFan) as a member of our community. Read on to learn more about Eszter!

TurtleFan-AustraliaWho are you?
Most people know me as Eszter (pronounced “Ester”), which may seem like a weird spelling of how that name is known in most areas of the globe, but it’s just the standard Hungarian version. In GPS game world, people know me as TurtleFan.

Where in the world do you live?   
I am based in the Chicago area, but travel quite a bit all times of the year mainly for work to give talks or to meet with collaborators, but I tend to mix in play. I have lived in four countries and in eight US states so I feel at home in all sorts of locations. I have deployed physical Munzees from Australia to Cuba, from Jordan to Switzerland, from Hungary to various corners of the US.

How long have you played Munzee?  
I signed up for an account in Fall 2011, but didn’t have a Munzee compatible device at the time so couldn’t start playing for a while. I capped my first couple of Munzees on January 2, 2012 in downtown Chicago when a friend and I were out playing another game. There was so little game play in the area at the time that I didn’t cap my next Munzee for another two months while visiting Cambridge, Massachusetts, and then the next ones in Ann Arbor, Michigan followed by a cap in New Jersey.

How did you find Munzee?  
I’m afraid I have no strong memory of this. I probably heard about it from a local player whom I knew through another game. I liked Munzee’s comparative flexibility and the occasional surprises thrown in. I also hugely appreciate that players are rewarded for growing the map. I have since gotten others to sign up, both locally and elsewhere, and am always eager to spread Munzee love.

What do you enjoy most about Munzee?
I enjoy several things about Munzee, from the physical movement and exploration it encourages to the social interactions. My wonderful clan, Munzter Mash, used to have people from three continents in it. Now we’re down to two continents, but still have three countries represented with several US states. Although being so disbursed geographically makes it harder to coordinate strategically at times, it adds an element of fun to learn about other places through my clanmates’ stories and as I explore their local areas in an attempt to deploy virtual Munzees for them. It has been neat to get to know folks with whom I would never have crossed paths otherwise.

TurtleFan-BudapestEventWhile it may not be the case that every Munzee takes us to a special location, groups of Munzees definitely encourage interesting exploration. This past summer I was in Hamburg for a few days and picked a park to visit based on some of the Munzees there. I would never have gone to that park, in fact, the people in my hotel didn’t even understand why I wanted to go there. In the end I was happy I’d gone, because it was a beautiful area of town with some great views that I never would have explored otherwise. Also, I have been a Fitbit user for years and value having it linked up with Munzee. I reached a new daily best in Bremen, Germany when a specials trail pushed me to walk much farther than I would have otherwise.

What is on your wish list?
I would like there to be more opportunities to revisit Munzees we have already found like it is the case with specials. For those of us in areas that don’t have numerous players, we run out of Munzees quickly. In fact, I’ve stopped myself from playing at times, because I know I need to save them up for future clan wars. But I don’t really like stopping myself from game play just for that. I’d rather be out and about capping away when I can without such strategizing getting in the way.

I also hope to see continued support of players in suboptimal climates by adding some flexibility to clan-war requirements (it’s already snowed in both Chicagoland and Calgary this year!). I am not saying that snow makes munzeeing impossible, but it can pose hurdles that may be hard to appreciate in Texas. 😉 I’m always eager to see more badges, it’s a fun additional component of the game. I’d be eager to see ones that reward expanded geographical exploration such as physical deploys in multiple countries/states/territories. Or how about a badge for having had X number of other players cap your virtual and/or physical Munzees? That would be a nice measure of reaching big parts of the community and would rely on data the site is already capturing. Oh, and a badge for lengthy capture streaks. I myself am at 160 days at the moment.

Tell us about yourself!
I am on the faculty at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, immediately north of Chicago. I teach both undergraduate and graduate students on topics ranging from research methods to digital media’s social implications. My research concerns how people use the Internet with a special focus on how skilled – or often not skilled – people are with using the Web. One of these days I hope to put together a class on GPS-based games. I think it would allow for the discussion of lots of important topics such as online communities, cooperation, gamification, how platform design influences/limits/encourages various types of behavior, and the link between the physical and the virtual. Munzee is a great example of all of this, of course.

TurtleFan-WisconsinBookwormGardensI love to travel. Some of my favorite destinations include the US Southwest especially the red rocks of Utah and Arizona, various corners of Switzerland, Paris and other parts of France, and the city where I grew up, Budapest. I can’t wait for the opportunity to return to Australia and also explore New Zealand. I very much enjoy meeting other Munzers when I travel and get in touch with locals when I can. I met some members of the Hummel Hummel clan during the summer, they were very friendly. I have also met up with members of various Hungarian clans while in Budapest. In fact, one of the Hungarian players, Sunboy, I have not only met in Budapest, but our first encounter was actually at an event in Sydney, Australia a couple of years ago. If anyone passes through Chicagoland, please get in touch.

Other hobbies include:
Presumably my user name gives away my favorite animal. Although I don’t have any live turtles (I used to as a child, but these days I travel too much for that), both my home and office are filled with all sorts of turtle objects, mainly thanks to gifts from friends. I have gotten back into painting in the past couple of years taking some classes again and even sold a piece recently.  I am a huge photo enthusiast and won a photo contest last year as well as this year, which has been super fun.  I am a big chocolate connoisseur and love to try local specialties whenever I travel.  Walking and exploration is a big hobby, which is why I make Munzee a part of all of my travels as well as my everydays at home.

TurtleFan was kind enough to share her social, so cap away!