App helps users to explore heart of Denton.
Our group was summoned by Kwest to find Anakin Skywalker in one of the downtown mini malls. We were greeted by hundreds of boxes and objects randomly piled up in one big room. Jeff Gordon sat on top of a game of Battleship. Lance Alworth’s old San Diego Chargers jersey hung nearby. With so much packed into the small space we didn’t know where to look. Especially when we realized that we were in the wrong mini mall. Entering the right store, there he was – a $3,000 life-size statue of the young Anakin, one of only 500 statues made. I’m not a big Star Wars fan, but it was so cool to stand next to such a rare and pricey find. Kwest was satisfied, and we were really having a good time.
Kwest is a mobile app that is a way to explore your city — in Denton users search around the Square, engaging in games, answering questions about your surroundings, taking photographs to share and more. There are a few thousand users of the app right now, and the positive online reviews and support Kwest has received gives co-founder Omeed Shams and his team a rosy outlook on the future.
“Our goal is to keep building the platform and keep building these types of games and interactions with users. We don’t want it to be the same experience multiple times,” Shams said.
The different mini games are a unique way to look around while engaging in the hunt. The games include 60-second lightning rounds — consisting of anywhere from six to eight questions — riddles and puzzles, GPS clues and augmented reality visions for different places and signs around town.
We began our Kwest on the south side of the Courthouse lawn with a two-minute lightning round. The first question had us running around the Courthouse lawn looking for the answer. After we found it, another question came up immediately. Next was Mad World Records and a search for – well, no sense giving any more away. But since I’d never been there before, I had a good time looking around at all the records. Kwest asked us to take a picture with a record of our choosing before we left. Soon a selfie of me with a Disney music record was posted on social media.
It was on to Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream next. Having more than one person in our group made our Kwest more enjoyable and effective, because there were more eyes looking for the clues and more minds to think about questions. The Cartwright’s Ranch House clue was one of the more interesting ones on the trip. Also included was the massive mural on the side of Recycled Books. That lightning round was particularly challenging, given the sheer size of the painting.
“Denton is fun, it’s quirky, it fits in really well with the brand of Kwest,” Shams said. “The Square is where everyone comes around to explore. Our goal is to build about half a dozen Kwests around the Square.”
Kwest encouraged us to ask questions of the employees in the places we visited in order to complete its games. It was enlightening to interact with the people who work in the different shops and find out more about the unique places on the Square.
Currently, the Kwest app is free to download, but based on content, individual Kwests may be differently priced. Kwest users can receive freebies as well, such as an ice cream cone at Beth Marie’s. In its next evolution, Kwests will have the capability to link phones, enabling cooperative and competitive play. Soon, an entire group can watch the game unfold on their individual devices.
“The value proposition is you’re experiencing a place in a fun way,” Omeed said. “You will be able to earn discounts, and you get a higher value.”
We crossed the finish line in just 45 minutes. Time flew by on our great, fun adventure.
Since that day, I have returned multiple times to the Square to look around and see more of the places that we visited on our Kwest. Just for fun.