Gamers form rainbow

January 26, 2017

VIRTUAL DONATION: Munzee player Rob Steer with Zaidee's Rainbow Foundation CEO Allan Turner.

A virtual scavenger hunt game has taken a remarkable turn, with more than 1000 players forming a virtual rainbow from Shepparton to Mooroopna to raise funds for organ and tissue donation.

A game often compared to Pokemon Go, Munzee has been around since 2011, but players in Shepparton have found a way to not only have fun, but give back to the community.

Player Rob Steer said Goulburn Valley Munzee enthusiasts had formulated a plan to build a 3km stretch of virtual rainbow along the Peter Ross Edwards causeway to raise awareness for Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation.

When the Texan-based president of the game heard of the plan, the company offered to donate $1 for every player to the Shepparton organ and tissue foundation.

‘‘You can get virtual multicoloured Munzee pins and we decided it would be nice to decorate the causeway with a rainbow motif for Zaidee,’’ Mr Steer said.

‘‘The garden filled out in five days with 654 from all over the world contributing to the rainbow.

‘‘Once we finished that one we decided we’d make another one down Channel Rd out towards Orrvale where Zaidee went to school and that’s full of another 500 pins.

‘‘It’s all virtual but it did require a bit of teamwork and people have been sharing their stories of organ donations.

‘‘It’s a game that’s played in multiple countries and everyone’s gotten on board with it and recognised the importance of the cause.

Since its beginnings in 2011, Munzee has undertaken a range of charity drives, backing charities that raise awareness for breast cancer, motor neurone disease and the Ronald McDonald House.

Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation chief executive officer Allan Turner praised the unique channel the company and the players had used to raise funds and awareness for the foundation.

‘‘We’ve done a lot of fundraising in sport, we’ve done a lot in the community, but not in a gaming sense where people are actually going out to play a game and actively participate,’’ Mr Turner said.

‘‘This is a game that has been developed around the world, so we’re not only engaging people on a local level, but also on an international level and that’s just incredible.’’

While the charitable nature behind the game has been recognised, Mr Steer said it had also been praised for its efforts in promoting tourism in the Goulburn Valley.

Munzee president Rob Vardeman and events manager Louise Gibson will next week travel from Texas and London to Shepparton to not only present the foundation with a cheque, but also discuss tourism opportunities for the region.

‘‘The game itself is very unlike other games, because these guys want to build communities and give back to communities,’’ Mr Steer said.

If you are interested in getting involved or learning more about Munzee, players will congregate at the Victoria Park Lake shelter near the service centre tomorrow from 5.30pm to demonstrate how the game is played.

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Munzee players descend on city

More than 100 Munzee players from across Australia will descend on Shepparton this weekend to take part in special events across town.

Munzee president Rob Vardeman will visit Shepparton tomorrow to discuss an exclusive opportunity with Shepparton Tourism Centre.

The partnership will seek to use Shepparton’s Mooving Art cows as part of the Munzee scavenger hunt game that is played worldwide, potentially making it the first time such a partnership will be formed outside of the US.

Munzee player Rob Steer said more than 200 players visited Shepparton in 2016 and the partnership was sure to bring additional tourism to the city.

‘‘Shepparton was chosen for this partnership as a result of having a strong community of proud local players who promote Shepparton globally,’’ Mr Steer said.

Just last week the local players created a pair of virtual rainbow shoelaces within the game in honour of Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation, a gesture that was recognised when Mr Vardeman presented the foundation with a $2500 donation.

Mr Vardeman will make a presentation to Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation chief executive officer Allan Turner at noon on Saturday at Queen’s Gardens in Shepparton.

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