The legend says that once you play a city game with Questo, you’re hooked for life.
That’s what happened to Theo, a Frenchman, who traveled to Romania hoping to see what this Eastern European country was all about. He never expected to fall in love. Especially not with a mobile app.
It all started in August 2019, back in France.
Theo was searching for accommodation on Booking.com for his trip to Bucharest when he came across something that spiked his interest. It was some sort of new type of walking tour that does not require a tour guide, but only a mobile app called Questo. “That’s strange”, he thought while booking this mysterious Bucharest tour called “Discover The Old Town Treasure of Bucharest”.
The next day he wanted to find out more about the app. He discovered Questo is a new type of travel app that takes tourists on city exploration games where they solve clues to discover new places and local stories.
Each city game inside the Questo mobile app is created around a specific theme, inspired by a movie, a book, a historical fact or just a local legend. In London, for instance, you can explore the city as Sherlock Holmes or Isaac Newton, while in Paris you can play as Hemingway or Picasso.
After reading this, Theo became even more eager to play his first city game in Bucharest. This was his first he did after checking into the hotel: opened the app, went to the starting point and off he went on the narrow streets of Bucharest’s Old Town in search of an elusive treasure.
Theo was amazed by this new way to discover Bucharest. He loved that he was immersed in a game-like exploration. He had to solve clues that would only be revealed once he arrived at different landmarks.
He wasn’t just randomly visiting a city, he now had a purpose, a mission he had to complete. This made him pay extra attention to details all around him: to the architecture of the buildings, small statues, and landmarks.
“Usually, when I go on holiday, I spend hours on sites like Tripadvisor to list everything there is to see in each city and prepare itineraries. With Questo, we have a visiting pack ready to discover the cities while having fun.“, says Theo.
He eventually found the treasure he was looking for in the Old Town and fell in love with the experience. He wanted more.
So, he booked his second Bucharest city game right then and there: a haunted tour of Bucharest. It was 8 pm. At midnight Theo was already back on the streets of Bucharest in search of the most haunting stories and places in town. He walked around 7km in just a few hours, played two city games. Amazing!
Theo would later find out that, so far, more than 45.000 people finished a city exploration game in one of the 50 cities Questo is present while walking more than 150.000 kilometers.
Theo was thrilled! There were many more cities he could explore: Rome, San Francisco, Seoul, Amsterdam, London, Vienna, or Berlin. But he was still in Romania and his next stop was Transylvania, Brasov. Would he find a city game in Brasov? Yes, he did. He finished it and then went on to Sighisoara and Sibiu where he played two more quests. He was on a roll!
But the riddles and questions were the best part of the whole experience for Theo.
“I didn’t always get stuck on the same riddles and that’s what’s funny. Sometimes it’s because the next clue is far away, I was convinced that I missed it when it is 100 meters away. In Sighisoara, I spent about thirty minutes in front of a wooden door when the answer was very simple, it was enough to know a word in English to understand everything. Sometimes I got stuck because of local events, a music festival in the middle of a clue in Brasov, a pottery market around the last clue of Sibiu…. It takes research and that’s the fun part.”
Theo played six city games in four Romanian cities in just 6 days. That had to be a record! And it was.
Even today, weeks after he returned to France, he remembers some of the memorable stories he learned during the city games “I still remember the trick used by the enemy to open the doors of Sighisoara with the fake wine transaction.”, Theo says.
Now, he’s planning his next vacation ready to play some more city games around the world. Questo has over 120 available exploration games in 15 countries, created by a growing network of local content creators that get a share of the revenues generated by the city games they create.
Amazed by the Questo experience, Theo is planning to create his first city games in France: “I have several quest projects in my region, notably in Caen and Bayeux in Normandy (France). For the moment I have listed all the important sites to show during a quest (or several according to themes) and the beautiful streets to take along the way. I still have to perfect the routes, determine relevant clues, write the history of these places and find a theme for each quest!”
We thank you, Theo, for exploring Romania with Questo. We can’t wait to see the next city exploration game you will play.