The Walking Lititz: Zombie-themed smartphone game introduced in area

By on July 10, 2019

There’s been a zombie outbreak in Lititz!

But don’t run for that survival kit or retreat to your underground bunker just yet — it’s just part of an interactive adventure using a smartphone that’s recently been launched in the area.

“I always loved the idea of treasure hunts,” explained James Munro, the mastermind behind the local game and who also operates the Escape Room in Lititz.

To begin, users visit puzzlewalks.com to purchase the game using a credit card. Then, players — whether by themselves or with a group — are guided around Lititz via a web-enabled smartphone. They must then solve clues from the story to move to various checkpoints around the town. The adventure combines a puzzle, scavenger hunt, and games, all within one storyline.

“I found the movie ‘National Treasure’ interesting because the clues were sitting right in the public’s view all the time,” Munro said. “One night I was watching a program on television about a group of treasure hunters looking for clues to the location of a treasure. It looked fun. I wondered what kind of activity I could do that would be similar, fun, and I wouldn’t have to fly halfway around the world. At that moment, the game formed in my mind.”

Hunting for treasure was very limiting, so Munro thought about what kind of themes he would be interested in playing, and then designed the games around those themes. He began with a story, but one that moved from place to place.

He then explored Lititz, looking for interesting landmarks that could be built into the game.

“It took about a year to finish, but that says more about my workstyle and less about the complexity of the programming,” he said. “I tend to work on projects in short, intense sessions and then take some time away. I spend a lot of the away time thinking about it. Then I go back for another short, intense programming session.”

Games can be played anytime. There’s no time limit or reservations needed — it’s yours to play until you’re finished. In fact, Munro encourages players to visit a downtown restaurant or shop along the way while playing.

Branching out and creating a game totally unlike his escape room was a welcome challenge for the area resident.

“Escape rooms are a great activity,” he added. “Working together, solving puzzles, living in another world for a time. This is another way to have all of those things. Plus there are some additional things that escape rooms cannot offer.”

 

There’s even some help along the way if you need it,: to make sure players are at the correct location, users will locate a number or keyword that is mentioned in the story and situated somewhere at the correct location. There’s also a built-in help function to keep everyone on track in case you get stuck.

The entire adventure takes about an hour to complete, and begins in Lititz Springs Park.

Additional games are planned nationwide. Munro states that he’s looking at 10 to 12 games total for spring 2020, and then plans to continue to add games in larger cities after that.

“I tend to stay away from timelines, but I think building a few local games this summer and then have five or six national games for spring 2020 sounds like a good start.”

Along with “Zombie Outbreak,” games “The Wizard’s Quest,” “Alien Enigma,” and “Murder Mystery” are also available for purchase.

“The PuzzleWalks are a great way to enjoy the towns the games are in,” Munro added. “It’s a fun activity when guests are visiting, or when you are visiting a new city for the first time. It is a fun way to experience its culture and history. It has some history, it has some thinking, and it has some fun.”

To learn more, or to play the game, visit puzzlewalks.com.

Cory Van Brookhoven is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your comments at cvanbrookhoven@lnpnews.com or 717-721-4423.

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