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Tell me about MagiQuest
September 3, 2014 5:54 AM   Subscribe

Recently, my family and I went on vacation at Great Wolf Lodge New England (their newest resort). My son fell in love with the MagiQuest game but there isn't as much information about it online as one might expect. Can you enlighten me, Master Magi?

For those who don't know what MagiQuest is, it's an interactive game that spans an entire building. The player gets an IR "magic wand" and points it at screens and artifacts throughout the hotel to solve quests (effectively scavenger hunts with the occasional puzzle to solve).

My 6-year-old loved loved loved the game. We spent 3 days (taking our time) running back and forth across the hotel until he reached Master Magi level. If we had gone non-stop we could probably have finished the whole thing in a couple of hours. Especially with the other friendly players willing to help each other out.
And then.. it kind of ended anticlimactically. We rewarded him with a special "wand topper" after winning (which we of course had to pay for), and tried it out, but the game didn't have anything additional to offer at that point.
But I wanted to find out more about the game.

It turns out that this is a fixture at every Great Wolf Lodge, as well as some other dedicated facilities.
There used to be an online component -- a whole online game, plus a store for wands/accessories and a way to check your own "status" through the website -- but those all seem to have gone by the wayside some time in 2012, disappointingly.
The game website, facebook page, and twitter account also haven't been updated significantly since 2012, long before GWL New England opened.
There's an email address on the site -- info@magiquest.com -- but messages to it are only met with a bounce message indicating a poorly-configured Exchange Server [at greatwolf.com, which is a bit telling in itself].

One of the things I was particularly curious about was from the little bit I found scouring youtube.
Obviously, different locations are going to have different quests. But it seems like they can also have different versions of the same quest.
For example:
One of the quests is versus the "Goblin King". In our version, the Goblin King was a small, weak, green guy with a voice reminiscent of Droopy Dog, lamenting the fact that the princess didn't love him boo hoo.
But from what I've found on youtube, and the few assets on the website itself, the Goblin King in other locations is a big scary guy with a growly voice (I'd call him more of an Orc than a Goblin) and seemingly a different method of defeating him. The quests themselves at those locations also seem to have higher "production values"; less of the quest relies on a touchscreen, with more physical elements, and the on-screen graphics seem higher-quality as well.

It also seems like other facilities actually have "higher-level" quests, and the ability to duel against other players, as well as out-of-game rewards like spending your in-game "gold" on prize tickets.

I would expect, with a game like this, that there would be a fanbase, with online forums and such, and possibly more information somewhere.

Is the game simply on life-support now? Or does it have an active fan community anywhere?
Is it worth visiting another one of the locations and bringing my son's wand along so he can "advance"?
Basically, does anyone know anything about this game, other than the little bit I've been able to scrape together from googling?
posted by jozxyqk to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
The game is really simple. Most of its attraction is the novelty of running around to different screens with your wand instead of staying focused on one screen. If you have a good imagination and can ignore the worn carpet and creaky animatronics, you can sort of feel like you are inside a video game.

It sounds like your son collected all the runes, but didn't get as far as the duel with the big boss. Dueling another player is basically just reenacting that. If dueling depletes one of your powers, you have to go back and redo a quest to power back up. I'd guess if he went to one of the big locations, like Myrtle Beach, he'd get another couple of days of fun out of it.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 7:00 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


@Bentobox Humperdinck, there was no "Duel with the big boss".

There was a "master magi quest", which he completed by running back and forth collecting stuff.
And there were 3 "Adventures": The Dragon, the aforementioned Goblin King, and the Pixie Quest, all 3 of which he actually completed before the "master magi quest".

And after completing absolutely everything, he actually had to go and do 2 of the minor Quests over again in order to have enough XP to graduate to the actual "Master Magi" level.

Therefore anticlimactic because there was nothing special to do _after_ reaching Master Magi.
When I went back to the "store" to ask them what was next, they said all we could do was keep repeating quests and trying to get on the high score list for the day.
We bought him one of the "toppers" which allows you to bypass the Dragon adventure and we tried that again, but it also didn't unlock any additional content.
(Just a loud skull animation every time he went to one of the kiosks ;) )

There were also no creaky animatronics. Nothing physically moved. The things that weren't "screens" would just glow and play sounds.
posted by jozxyqk at 7:11 AM on September 3


Yeah, sounds like you got an abbreviated experience compared to the one at Myrtle Beach (the only one I've been to, and apparently the biggest there is). At least there, when you're master magi, you're about 2/3 through the game. There is a boss at the end.

There is a wow factor when you walk into the gaming area, because the whole arena has been painted to mimic forest, castle, etc. There is a circle of "trees" in the middle where everyone goes to get their next quest. There is a balcony running around the interior, with staircases disguised as trees or castle towers, and little rooms upstairs and downstairs that have been painted like tree hollows and castle dungeons, etc.

The "store" always has some sort of extra quest you can go on, but it's pretty much just recombining stuff you've seen before at that point. Once you've explored all the rooms and conquered the big boss, the novelty wears off.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 7:43 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


OK, I guess the "abbreviated experience" in Fitchburg gave the illusion of a much larger game that could be fun enough to travel to multiple locations, continue customizing your wand and "costume", and finding obscure secrets.
There was definitely a section of the screen that showed a list of all the runes/rewards one could get by visiting different resorts, and from the deceased online game. It made it look huge and varying.

Sounds like we could visit Myrtle Beach (or at least one of the other MQ places closer to our area) sometime for one more hurrah with the wand, but it isn't something kids "get into" as a hobby. Which is a shame, since I see potential for a "phenomenon".

I am still curious about the differences in the actual quests (like the 2 Goblins).
I also found the MagiQuest Wiki but it makes absolutely no mention of the Goblin King we saw (aka "Nilbog Bandyshanks" or something like that). He looked nothing like the picture shown, nor did his goofy guard look like the guard in the wiki. They were much more cartoony fellows.

Here's another example while I've got your attention:
When you approach the Dragon Quest (which is at its own kiosk with a bunch of physical treasure chests in front of a larger screen), you get a nondescript hourglass showing up on the big screen, and 5 "runes" on the smaller touchscreen that didn't correspond in any obvious way to the collected rune pictures.
You're supposed to know -- somehow -- to tap on a few of these runes and point the wand at the big screen, in order to proceed to the part where you see the dragon. It's not described in the "guidebook" and literally nobody knew how to do it without explicitly asking for help from someone else who got help. And if you don't do it, it just returns to the "attract screen" with no explanation.
(The guidebook does give actual helpful hints on how to actually defeat the dragon).
It was still somehow fun, but now it feels like maybe something was actually physically missing that would have given a stronger hint.
posted by jozxyqk at 8:07 AM on September 3


I wonder if you might find similar things in this list of outdoor locating games that he might like when he gets a little older. Ingress looks especially cool.
posted by MsMolly at 8:40 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


I've been to two -- Wisconsin Dells and Grapevine, Texas. Wisconsin Dells is a dedicated three-story play structure all duded up with fantasy frippery; they're recently added in-hotel quests as well. Grapevine is hotel-only and my kids found it super-boring -- there's not a lot of romance in finding the painting of the moon on the concrete wall behind the fire door in the emergency stairwell.
posted by blueshammer at 9:12 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Sounds like he's seen all the content, practically speaking.

There was a MagiQuest location in the Mall of America in Minneapolis (that has since closed again) that had an additional quest involving another more complicated dragon fight, whose complexity and timing bit off more than the technology's precision and response times could actually chew--frequent moments where you'd do everything in the right sequence, but end up losing the quest by way of the sensors simply not registering. There was a lot of good-natured shared-misery commiserating amongst the small crowd of folks of all ages rotating around for attempts at it, and it was definitely on the edge of too frustrating for some of the kids. Frankly, for some of the adults, too!

And as previously mentioned, the Wisconsin Dells Great Wolf lodge had some additional quests too that encouraged players to run about the lodge itself as well.

The short-lived attempt at an online and videogame component was honestly sort of half-assed and not very well done, so not much was missed there.
posted by Drastic at 9:43 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Ingress looks especially cool.

Ingress is incredibly cool, and I play it with my sons, who are about the same age as the OP's. But it's not for kids -- at least, not kids alone.
posted by The Bellman at 3:06 PM on September 3


(marked as 'resolved' because the game apparently isn't as "big" as I thought it was, but please continue to post answers if you have more info).
posted by jozxyqk at 6:38 AM on September 10


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