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Zen Scavenger Hunt

A photo report on the ZSH held on 9.10.03 with the R1A: Theater & Games class at the University of California @ Berkeley. 

Instructor: Jane McGonigal.  Co-facilitated by Kiyash Monsef and Monica Stufft.

The following directions were distributed to the class 2 days before the hunt.

All players must bring one object to class on Wednesday.  This object must be something you do not normally bring to class.  (Notebooks, backpack, pens, cell phone, wallet, etc. are not acceptable items.)  At the beginning of class, each player will introduce the object to the rest of their team.  (“This is a Frisbee”; “This is purple tissue paper”; “this is a banana”; etc.)  Once you have introduced an object to the group, you are committed to using it as your object for the entire game.  No substitutions or exchanges allowed!

Scavenger hunt lists will be distributed.  The list will contain 17 items.  The team must find as many items from the list as possible before the end of class.

The ONLY place you are allowed to “hunt” for these 17 items is the collection of random objects that you have already introduced to the group.  No exceptions.

Work together as a group to assign an object to the each item on the list.  Feel free to interpret the list literally or metaphorically, and to be creative, outrageous, or cynical in your justifications.  The facilitators will approve or reject your justifications, so be as convincing as you can!

The facilitators will document your play, writing down your one-sentence justification for each object you assign to an item.  They will also take a digital photograph or video of you demonstrating the object in question.  If you need to switch the item to which an object has been assigned, that’s fine — just make sure to write a new justification.

All players will be playing together as one team.  You should work together as a group to assign objects to items.  While your primarily responsibility is your own object, you should also help others find a match for their objects.

There will be a post on our course Web log about the Zen Scavenger Hunt.  You must comment on this post by Friday in addition to your regular weekly comment.

The following list was distributed on the day of the hunt.

  1. The perfect disguise
  2. Something that rhymes with your first or last name
  3. A prop for a Shakespeare play (name the play)
  4. A self-portrait
  5. A new fashion trend
  6. A musical instrument
  7. A puppet
  8. A souvenir from an international trip
  9. A bad idea
  10. Proof of extraterrestrial life
  11. Something you would see in painting by your favorite artist (name the artist)
  12. A prop for a practical joke
  13. Something mentioned in the lyrics of a favorite song (name the song)
  14. A set of orthodontal headgear
  15. A hypercube
  16. A divination tool
  17. A bribe for the judge (it will be refused, but you can try anyway

To read the students' thoughts on the game, visit our course blog.