Posted by: Stenros | December 18, 2009

Memoirs of a Treasure

Recently I was the treasure in a treasure hunt. I feel I need to explain this.

A dear friend of mine organized a small treasure hunt for a mutual friend who had recently gotten married. She arrived with her husband in a new town on a train and had to go to the tourist info and give a password to receive an envelope that contained the first clue. The pair then followed clues for a few hours, having lunch, visiting a museum, buying chocolate, and finally finding the end treasure– me. (I’m a friend who lives in a different country and I then led them to a dinner held in their honour.) Still, even for a pervasive games researcher this is a little bit embarrassing.

Compared to many of the elaborate games I have participated in or read about this year, this was not very complex. However, when the pair told with a mix or excitement and embarrassment about negotiating which of them had to walk up to an unfamiliar clerk in which places and tell the password, I saw the fun ambiguity that drives people to participate in pervasive games.

Th picture is from Malmö graveyard. It has nothing to do with this treasure hunt (it is even taken during some other season) except that that was the last stop on the hunt. It is by Andreas Blixt.


  1. That reminds me of the bachelor party I attended last summer. It was organized by a larp artist for a pervasive games entrepreneur slash poet. It started with an abstract tour and went on with a private rooftop cinema screening. Towards the end of the adventure, the bachelor also smuggled a piece of starfleet officer insignia into the home museum of a late politician, in order to puzzle the historians of the future.

    We have to get this back, this organizing-games-for-friends-for-fun thing. Watch out; who’s your Stephen Sondheim, your Elsa Maxwell, your Conrad van Orton!

    Sounds like a great fun, anyway!

    – M

  2. Our book would have reached a completely different market if we had subtitled it: “Blueprints for the most out there bachelor parties.”

  3. Would sell better, too, I’m sure!

    – M

  4. I would have loved a book on bachelor parties back when I had to fix one for a friend of mine. In general, a book on “cool events for you and your friends” would probably be a success.

  5. Apparently just this weekend a friend gave some other friends the birthday present of a Helsinki-wide treasure hunt. Three guys, 17 bottles of Gambina hidden around Helsinki. They were given maps with X:s marking the spots, and photos detailing the hiding places.

    I was told that one of them apparently spent a freezing winter night walking some 9 kilometers to grab as many as possible before the others.

    One bottle had disappeared before it was found. Another one was grabbed by a festive guest who got too good a peek at the treasure map.

    Everyone had fun, I was told. :-) I would have expected 21% Gambina to freeze in this weather, but that was not mentioned.

    – M

  6. Keep the ideas flowing! Im planning on doing something festive for a friend of mine during the coming year. And a 700%-game seems a bit over the top.

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