I don’t know if it’s the weather, the sunshine or maybe, somehow, 3rd Street Promenade just naturally has the perfect blend of consumerism, tourism and shenanigan-ism, but the fact is, this is one of my favorite places in the country to run a Go Game.
There is never a shortage of silliness to be had here. Players routinely pull unsuspecting strangers into the game, forcing them to judge head-to-head competitions, act in their silent movies or just be a prop (some poor tourists are just in the wrong place at the wrong time).
It must be that 3rd Street already has a kind of built in performance culture, you’d be hard pressed to find a time of day when the street isn’t littered with buskers, magicians and break dancers. Maybe seeing some of those people putting themselves out there empowers the players to, oh, I don’t know…
But that’s just a tiny piece of the puzzle, as a Game Producer, my favorite part of any game is the creation stage. The part where I get to let fly the imagination and turn an innocuous store front into a clever puzzle or riddle for the players to solve. And any place that draws tourists as reliably as Santa Monica is also guaranteed to draw businesses, the stranger the better. And Santa Monica is no stranger to stranger. Just as a “for instance” here’s one of my favorite missions from 3rd Street:
Ye Olde Pub: Rapp's Saloon at 1438 Second Street is the OLDEST building in Santa Monica: it's from 1875, and has variously been a movie studio, radiator repair shop, Salvation Army, piano tuning shop, and, briefly, City Hall. It was first a bar, which is pretty funny since now they have AA meetings there. If you visit now you'll find ye olde dump has been absorbed by a hostel, which holds the answer to your next question: which tour will take you to see a panda?