Why MapCrunch is Addicting


Have fun trying to find Jura International Airport in Britain!

Kelsi Lerner, Staff Writer

Imagine yourself dropped in a random location. It could be a desert, on a suburban road, or a street market where all the signs are in Spanish. It could literally be anywhere, worldwide…and you have absolutely no idea where you are.

You look around you, the people are frozen in place, conversations stopped, transactions halted. There’s no way to communicate with them. They’re just… there.

“Where am I?” you shout at the sky, “What is going on?!”

Silence. Then a flash of light and a whisper echoes through the area: “Find the airport.”

Welcome to MapCrunch.

The MapCrunch game, founded on the social media site Tumblr in February of this year, is essentially a game about finding your way in an unknown location. The rules of the game are as follows:

1. Go to http://www.mapcrunch.com/

2. Click “Urban Only”

3. Click “Hide Locaiton”

4. Hit “N” on your keyboard

5. Find the nearest airport

MapCrunch is a site that was founded by Google in September 2010, in which the Google Street Car took pictures while driving all over the world, in order to give street view pictures. Originally, MapCrunch was supposed to be used to help people find their way from location to location, presumably using an accompanying site like Google Maps. However, recently MapCrunch has been taken over by bored internet users obsessed with finding airports.

MapCrunch players are allowed to use outside sources (such as Google Maps) to help them find their location, or if they really need it, a map from their current location to the airport… but that’s on easy mode. Hard mode requires that the player use only their knowledge of life and their intuitive senses to find the airport.

MapCrunch is a mixture between extreme frustration and an addiction stronger than heroin. Just so you know, as of 2006, there were approximately 49,000 airports around the world, including 14,858 in the United States alone. More often than not, MapCrunch drops you off in a rural area, where the nearest airport-containing city is only accessible if you travel through very specific areas or complete trials or jump through hoops. For example, my first time playing MapCrunch, I found myself facing a tree in the middle of rural Venezuela (at least, I think that’s where I was… I never found the airport).

Regardless, you keep on playing. Maybe it’s some sort of cheap click and reward system, or maybe we’re just trying to prove that we’re more clever than the game, or maybe we’re just hoping that if we ever actually were lost, we’d be able to find our way to an airport and get home.
Either way, I can’t stop. I feel like I’ve traveled the world… even though in reality I’ve been sitting alone in my room screaming, “DONDE ESTA EL AEROPUERTO?!” at a herd of cows (cows are everywhere in the world of MapCrunch). My number one tip for doing well in MapCrunch: assume every country you’re in is a Spanish speaking country, especially if you don’t speak Spanish.

In summation:

1. MapCrunch might as well be the spawn of Satan.

2. You will never find the airport.

3. You will go crazy trying to find the airport.

4. I suggest playing as soon as you’re able to.

Have fun!