Looking for a fun way to learn to locate the states?
When I was younger, I had a puzzle of the 50 states that I used to put together. But I think I’ve found a game that’s even more enjoyable: Statetris!
A throwback to one of the most popular video games of my youth, "Statetris" (State + Tetris= Statetris) works just like the classic. States fly down from the top of the screen and players use arrow keys to direct them to their appropriate positions. Sound easy? Difficulty increases from "easy" levels in which state polygons are labeled by name and creep sluggishly down the screen in their ‘correct’ orientation (I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the projection for all those cartographers!) to "hard" levels in which polygons lack identification and rotate through 360 degrees. Considering that 50% of recent high school graduates in the U.S. can’t locate the prominent state of New York on a map (as indicated by the 2006 Roper Poll ), maybe they should play this game! The one downside: the map is limited to the 48 geographically contiguous states (sorry Hawaii and Alaska).
If I was drawn to mapmsg.com by Statetris…I stayed for the other awesome, higher-tech features. Want to impress your friends? Send them a message via smoke signal. Traveling home for a weekend visit, I used the "Google Map" search feature to locate my house. Then, I typed in a greeting: "Hi Mom & Dad! Can’t wait to see you!" The result: a message in smoke signals–appearing to emanate from my own chimney–was sent to my parents over email.
Another cool feature: A tool that enables you to immortalize your friends by creating a picture with their mug atop a famous U.S. monument. It’s as easy as uploading a personal picture and using some simple zooming and shifting buttons. Check out the one I created of Washington D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial with the face of actress Queen Latifah, narrator of the new film Arctic Tale.