Esperanto checkpoint on the Journey Posted by Chuck Smith on May 27, 2011 in Uncategorized
Recently there was a street game in Berlin called Journey to the End of the Night. In this game, players have to run through the city from checkpoint to checkpoint until they reach the end. You may use your own two feet or public transportation, but no bikes or cars are allowed. At each checkpoint, you can also complete a “task” which would give you extra points. To add to the challenge, there are also chasers who try to tag players. If caught by a chaser, you yourself become a chaser and try to tag other runners. Needless to say, the longer the game goes on, the harder it becomes to avoid the chasers!
Anyway, when I heard that each checkpoint had a theme, we decided to be agents at an Esperanto checkpoint! Our location was the Zellengefängnis, a former jail which has been turned into a nice park near Berlin’s main train station. Despite its central location, many Berliners have never heard of it! Another “insider” goal of the game was to help people discover interesting new places in the city. We found a nice spot behind some trees, placed our Esperanto flag, and waited for the players to find us.
When players reached our checkpoint, we would stamp their papers to prove they reached us and then would ask if they’d like to complete a task. If so, then we would say, “Your task is to learn Esperanto!” then they would get a sheet of paper with a basic list of words and grammar and have to ask us for our signature… in Esperanto! The players seemed to enjoy the challenge. It quite surprised us how many told us something like “oh, my uncle speaks Esperanto!” or the like.
In any case, I think participating in a game like this is an excellent way for more people to hear about Esperanto in a non-instrusive way. So, around 150 people heard about Esperanto and even spoke a little bit of it that evening! We all had a good time and it was fun to know that we played an important role in the “journey” for many players. Have you ever played in a game which featured Esperanto? I’d love to hear your thoughts about featuring Esperanto in other games!
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