London Metro Memory Game: 'I tried the TfL Tube challenge - and found my geographical gaps'

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Simple and addictive, the London Metro Memory Game is also a vivid reminder of the complexity TfL's transport network.

How well do you know London’s Tube stops? Would you be willing to put it to the test? Well, now you can. The London Metro Memory Game, created by software engineer Benjamin Tran Dinh, is taking social media by storm, quizzing contestants to see how many of the 416 of the capital's stops they can recall.

As with similar memory-associated games, the London Metro Memory Game hits three key points; it’s easy to understand, it’s fun, and it’s incredibly addictive.

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The premise is simple; it asks users to type in the names of different stations, which it then adds to a map. The more you type, the more are labelled, and your percentage of stations identified increases. Easy.

What is considerably more difficult is doing the thing, at pace. No time limit is set (although my editor said I could only spend 20 minutes playing it...) but instinctively you want to try to get through as much as possible, before you spend, ahem, most of a morning trying desperately to remember the most westerly Elizabeth line stops.

Aside from being a joyous run of dopamine hits as you input your first batch of correct stations - before slowly morphing into an ever-increasing pile of stress as you struggle to fill out the remaining 50% of unlabelled stops - it is a useful exercise in recognising your own geographical ignorance. 

Similar to most users, I imagine, I quickly filled out chunks of east London, central and west London, though struggled to think further down the lines. The Overground did not cause too many problems, but as my energy and enthusiasm began to wane, I realised I had essentially mapped out the routes I ordinarily take around the city.

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As the morning wore on, and additional stations occasionally came to me, I was able to jump back in and add to my embarrassingly low tally. And finally, nearing lunchtime, I had almost achieved something vaguely passable.

As if anyone who regularly uses Transport for London's (TfL) network needs reminding, the game also acts as a vivid indicator of the complexity of London’s transport system.

While it naturally flags the disparities in options available in different areas, especially between central and south-east London, the contorted web of connections we take for granted are neatly demonstrated as you gradually fill out the map.

So if you are looking for an hour/morning/day to kill, you could do worse than trying your luck at the London Metro Memory Game, working out once and for all how well you truly know your Northern line from your District.

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