Loopt Takes Location-Based Gaming Literally

Screen shot 2009-12-04 at 1.38.25 PMA lot has been made recently about the gaming elements of location-based social networks. Services like Foursquare and Gowalla allow users to compete for things like mayorships, badges, and virtual goods. Now Loopt is getting in on the fun, and taking it more literally into the real world.

The Loopt Holiday Scavenger Crawl is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a scavenger hunt during the holidays. But it’s also a bit more. As everyone knows, the holidays for many are also about a fair amount of drinking, so Loopt is mixing a pub crawl into the mix as well. The plan is to have this take place in three different cities: Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco at various dates in December and early January.

Obviously, this crawl will be based around Loopt’s mobile application. The company recently shifted gears a bit to move away from a constant location updater to more of a check-in model that the aforementioned Foursquare and Gowalla use. The idea will be to follow others players using the app and go from location to location solving clues and interacting with others. There will be prizes to be won, and also access to some sort of VIP party, we’re told. The big prize is a round-trip ticket to Hawaii.

The game will apparently work for users with and iPhone, iPod touch, or Blackberry.

Alongside this event, Loopt has launched a new LooptGames website. For now this site is only for the scavenger crawl, but in the future, Loopt will continue to use this for other games of this nature. “We obviously have become interested in how some cool game dynamics can help people connect with their cities,” founder Sam Altman tells us.

This first game takes place on December 12 in Los Angeles, December 19 in New York, and January 2 in San Francisco. The first 500 people to sign up on the site get a free Loopt t-shirt.