We love unconventional tours around the city because they give us a chance to look at Budapest from a whole new angle. This time we tried a smartphone-based game of urban exploration inspired by movies like The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure. Called Miratia, the app is now available in Rome, London, and Paris as well.
The point of the app, which combines geocaching, treasure hunting, and escape games, is that users need to find clues hidden on or around iconic landmarks all over the city, work out their significance to learn where the next important piece of the puzzle is located, and finally solve the main mystery. The themes are varied, ranging from fantasy and historical games all the way to romance.
All you need to play the game is a smartphone or a tablet (the app is customized for devices running iOS or Android), but no Internet access is necessary because the magic happens via GPS. The narration and the questions pop up on your screen as you’re approaching the specific coordinates, so you cannot “cheat” with the running around part, you simply must be at the right location.
The game we played, called “Murder in C minor”, presented a monster of a challenge: we had to find out where and why our protagonist had been killed and, most importantly, by whom. We hunted for clues hidden at imposing monuments, and browsed the plaques of stern statues in hopes of discovering the answer. It was all a bit like the board game Clue, only out in the field. It’s perfect for any tourist looking to do some sightseeing, but locals will also be intrigued to gain a more thorough knowledge of well-known landmarks all over Budapest. On our quest, for example, we learned a lot about prominent Magyar poet Mihály Vörösmarty, and we became more closely acquainted with quite a few statues that we had probably passed by a million times before, never taking the time to read about their history. The games are available in English, German, French, Italian, Russian, and Hungarian.
Once you’re done with regular sightseeing, you’ll see how Miratia can transform the experience of exploring the city. Make sure to keep an eye on the Miratia Facebook page, as from time to time urban adventurers are invited to test the five thematic games that have been created so far free of charge. We tried the one we were most interested in, but the one set in pubs and ruin bars sounded pretty cool too.
Miratia is a great game for Budapest visitors, groups of friends, couples, families, students learning a foreign language, and anyone who feels like putting on the imaginary cloak of a treasure hunter and being part of an engaging story for a few hours.
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