Monday, August 19, 2013

Turf Wars: A Family Affair

Now, I know that I am like an app hoarder. I think that between photos and apps, that my iPhone secretly hates me and that's why it almost never has battery when I need it to. I spend my life on the internet and find all sorts of cool stuff. I was on Tumblr before the high schoolers found it, was designing backgrounds and layouts for Myspace in my youth, I was on Facebook when people were still trying to use Myspace, and so on and so forth. I also like to travel. I love going... just the idea of going somewhere else excites me and I like to document my travels. Foursquare was always my outlet and I enjoyed earning the badges. I thought that it was the best thing ever.

SO... a year or so ago, I found an app that I really could sink my teeth into. It allowed me to document my travels and definitely satisfied my love for apps. It was free (which is always a plus when it comes to downloading apps) and it was aesthetically pleasing (which is almost necessary for me to use anything). It was incredibly fun and that was just what i had picked up from the Kickstarter I had found it from.

Introducing... Turf Geography Club.
From the original Kickstarter page (here)

By mixing Monopoly and location software of Foursquare, Turf Geography Club made life a game. You could own places, build on those properties, earn coins, collect goodies, and more. You could become the mayor of a place and pimp out the buildings, you could steal buildings right out from other people and it was fun. When I first downloaded it, I purchased every property that I was in proximity of and then after buying them and building on them.

Then I realized, everything is more fun with friends. So I got my friends and my family on it. My sister and my dad are also avid travelers so they became my biggest competition. It became our little family thing to own as many properties as possible and not just any properties but also lucrative, high stakes places too. Dare I say, this app brought us together in friendly competition... and got the family talking about their travels and also was a fun way for me (since most of the time, I was away at school) for me to check in with my parents, especially when I went up to NYC on day trips.

This went on for a while. My father owned Dulles airport and I went on to own a large portion of DC and some Brooklyn joints. My sister owned the finer points of the Jersey Shore line. It was great fun until Turf Geography Club released a notice saying it was shutting down.

Good evening Geographers. We have some bittersweet news. We have decided, after much deliberation, to stop working on Turf. It's been a labor of love for the last two years and definitely not something that we can easily part with. However, we figure that there are newer flashier things to spend our time building. Things which we've begun to design and code. Turf was a fun foray into gaming that we have learned so much from. This is by no means our final adventure.

To everyone who supported us from the start we are sad to say goodbye. To those who joined us later we must bid you adieu as well... for now. We plan to announce some more exciting projects in the future and will have a new site up with info on how you might get involved.

Also I still have to ship out all of this Turf Swag which will no doubt be worth more now that our game is soon to be a fond memory. I will be getting to that now that I have a bit more free time.

We will be keeping the servers running for another two weeks. Until next time, keep exploring.

Michael Tseng
Chief Geographer

It was devastating. I had just earned enough coins to buy the narwhal which was supposedly limited edition. So I bought it and then ran to the family group chat (we're an iPhone family) where we all shared our sadness over the loss of this amazing game and experience for the fam. We just couldn't understand why something so awesome could be whisked away from us so soon.

It's been a few months since Turf was shut down. We speak of it fondly over dinner from time to time and my father kept the app as a prop for stories to tell others about his fight with Rob C. to own Costco and brag about his airport that he owned to the last day.

Sigh the good ole days of Turf.

While the developers of Turf see it as a positive blip in their careers, we saw it as so  much more. So to all those at Turf, thanks for the memories, good times and bringing my family together via a free app.

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