People worldwide are playing Traveler IQ, TravelPod’s addictive geography game more than 4 million times per month.
Eve Rehn, 48, is the most prolific player of the game. She has been playing it daily for about two months. So far, she has logged more than 9,000 games. “I’m a very extreme person,” Rehn says, “it’s all or nothing.”
Traveler IQ involves some pretty simple concepts. The player is asked to locate specific sites and cities around the world while a giant red timer at the top of the screen puts the heat on by counting down pretty rapidly. It’s the gamer’s job to locate the answer to each question in as short a time as possible. The quicker and closer the user clicks, the higher the score. As gamers continue through the levels, the locations become progressively harder to find.
Rehn is a former linguistics professor, but she now calls herself a “lady of leisure”, living in Centerport, Long Island. Her daily routine involves getting up and playing the game, then going out for lunch, perhaps taking a nap, reading, watching TV or partaking in another of her passions, betting on horse races and gambling at the casino with her partner.
“I’m highly competitive, so I play whatever it takes to increase my score.”
She’s also very organized, writing previous answers down in alphabetical order and looking up the answers before the timer runs out. So, exactly how long does she spend playing Traveler IQ each day?
“Oh dear it sounds embarrassing,” she says, “It could well be two to three hours”. When she’s not out and about or traveling, she plays the game on average, five days per week.
“I should clean the house more but I don’t, I’m too busy doing quizzes,” she says in her cheerful British accent.
Rehn enjoys Traveler IQ for many reasons, but the most important is that it has increased her knowledge of the world.
“It’s not mindless,” she says, “apart from being challenging, I learn things.”
Rehn will soon be able to speak nine languages. She is currently taking a course in Arabic, and surprised the entire class by correctly identifying every Arabic country when the professor challenged his students. She credits this feat to her experience playing Traveler IQ.
Her love of languages has brought her to many places all over the world, and she says that this has made her a better Traveler IQ player. Rehn has traveled since she was very young, and has lived in such far flung countries as France, Germany, Norway and Japan. However, she’s currently playing island quizzes, which are usually the most difficult. However, she has also been to many of these islands, so she says that the personal experience helps to improve her score.
Mostly, Rehn likes playing the user-created games because they tend to be shorter. The gamer can progress quickly through the shorter levels and increase their score faster than in the official versions of the game. This makes it easier to get on the high scores list.
She’s also made quite a few friends, who are sometimes quite jealous of her success, including a 19 year old from the Philippines, who she is currently competing with. “It’s all harmless, really,” she says with a laugh.