We were inspired by shows like “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” and geography bees to create a similar quiz-type game, but with a narrative. We hope it can serve as both a fun experience and as an educational opportunity for kids to learn about cities around the world.

What it does

Essentially, the skill is a game to guess what city your bunny friend Benny is in, given a variety of clues about the area. While playing they learn about the city and its country, from popular foods to currency to tourist destinations, and even more!

How we built it

We scraped information using the Python modules requests and selenium, parsing the information using a combination of javascript and python and saving it in dictionaries (and pickle files) following the schema

{“clues”: {~our fields~: ~values for that city-field combination~}, “info”: ~A brief blurb of the city~}

. After scraping the data, we worked on creating the actual Alexa user interface, defining the gameplay flow through intents and randomly picking what hints we show to the user to mix up the experience.

Challenges we ran into

We quickly realized that we would need a lot of data to make the game interesting: if there were only say 10 cities and 3 hints per city, the kids would be able to complete the game really quickly, and wouldn’t end up learning as much. However, the data we were scraping was extremely variable: there weren’t any datasets we could find that fit our criteria, and there were a lot of edge cases in the types of web results we were getting. In addition, given the global nature of our project, we found that many of the results were coming back in other languages and alphabets like Arabic, which was yet another set of results we needed to parse through and convert as needed.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Continuing on the theme from above, we’re proud of the sheer number of data points (nearly 2000) we were able to scrape and sort through for validity. It was a lot of work, but it makes for a much more interesting game that even we learned a lot from.

What we learned

Surprisingly, we actually learned a lot about the world while making this. Going through and parsing all of the data meant that we got exposure to all of the cities we were scraping clues for, and we hadn’t even heard of some of the more obscure cities (although all of them are known world-wide).

What's next for Find Benny

In the future we plan to expand the prompts, maybe providing a bit more background on each of the cities, and to add easier difficulty levels for younger children.

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