As I hope my various blogs and web sites make clear, modern geography is about far more than learning place names and capitals. It is also the case, however, that learning where places are, what they are called, and what they are next to does matter. Place names are to geography what the alphabet is to reading. They don't give out Pulitzers for knowing the alphabet, but Hemingway surely knew his.
With that in mind, I offer some games that I consider both fun and useful. A couple of years ago, a friend asked me to recommend a couple of online geography games for his children, and I realized I had very few to recommend. So I did a little digging, and created my Geography Games page as a result.
favorite librarian recently recommended a new, elegantly simple game, inspired by a paper-based game. A blogger and professional photographer known as Ironic Sans describes how he created this simple game, which requires the player to list all 50 states in 10 minutes. He writes that even he has trouble getting beyond 48. Although I'm a geographer who regularly aces some other, more "sophisticated" games, I found myself in the same boat. It took me a few tries to get a perfect score -- using the updated version of the game. I am still not a consistent winner, though I did recently complete the list with 7:08 to spare. I can only do it by starting in Maine and tracing my mental map around the country, but it is amazingly easy to miss some -- even though I know my way around the country.