Searching For Fun: Wikipedia Game

By John Walker on June 10th, 2010 at 12:33 am.

And a friendly octopus, too!

What you need to find on this site as you get into work in the morning is something that will distract you from working for the rest of the day, if not month. It’s the Wikipedia Game. You may have played it yourself in the past – especially if you’re a listener of the Collings & Herrin podcast, which set similar challenges a couple of years back. The idea is to get from one random subject to another in the fewest number of clicks. You can use any hyperlink on the page to get there (without editing your own in). And now it’s been automated at WikipediaGame.org. You can play anonymously, or create an account for score bragging, and then compete in 150 second challenges to get between the two subjects in the fewest clicks. The scores appear in a the box on the left of the screen. Right, good luck getting anything done.

There are some flaws. It would be lovely for scores to be persistent, rather than vanishing the moment the game is over. Perhaps a league table, or at least something that records your best paths, top wins, etc. It appears to credit winning ranks by time, rather than fewest links, and doesn’t order the list into winners at the top. But then, because these are so transient there’s little motivation to beat others, beyond the satisfaction of having made it. Also, the chat box doesn’t require registration, so it is of course just a screaming noise of spam.

But then there’s lovely details, like being able to see the click path others who have completed a round had taken. Plus there’s the sheer idiotic pleasure of getting from Super Bowl XXXIX to Fred Astaire. And because everyone’s playing the same game, you can compete directly with friends, shouting about how you are best in an IM window. Not that I’d do that. Never.

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45 Comments »

  1. Noxy says:

    Firstly.. unfortunately its plot is very loosely tied together (har har ) but at least when you are playing it , it looks like you are hard at work researching! Stuff!

    This rocks, and kept me from sleeping :D

  2. Vinraith says:

    This is more fun than it probably should be.

  3. Nick says:

    Damn you, John Walk, DAMN YOU!

  4. The_B says:

    There are some flaws. It would be lovely for scores to be persistent, rather than vanishing the moment the game is over. Perhaps a league table, or at least something that records your best paths, top wins, etc.

    There’s a My Stats button in the top right John, has your last few games and I think your best ones.

  5. luphisto says:

    predicting millions of wasted man hours in the coming months

  6. airtekh says:

    Oh god, this is addictive…

  7. Lambo says:

    I am in the uncomfortable position of having thought up this game all on my own, but being unable to say so seeing as its now already a thing. Damn it!

    Such a good game to play between friends while at school though. So inconspicuous, so competitive.

    I especially like how you form favorite methodologies for getting to say; places, or people.

    • A-Scale says:

      We all thought of it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Yup, we even had a varient where the most ridiculous/amusing path between two obviously related things (apples and oranges for example) was the winner. Good times. Wasted times clearly, but still good!

  8. Torgen says:

    This reminds me of the “Click That Smut!” game dreamed up in response to some right-wing US Congressmen introducing a bill that said that any site that even allowed you to get to pornographic websites could be prosecuted as purveyors of porn.

    So, people started at the official web pages of these congressmen, and competed to see how few clicks it took to get to something that would be ruled pornographic or obscene under the proposed bill.

  9. MJS says:

    Oh yes Subprime mortgage crisis to Uganda in the fastest time.

    Woooosh!

  10. OptionalJoystick says:

    Oh my.
    It is quite moreish isn’t it?

  11. Grawl says:

    This is such an old game, where have you been hiding RPS?

  12. DestinedCruz says:

    This is a clone of the game Wikispeedia from a few years ago. Still great fun though.

  13. gerafin says:

    I thought this would be cool, until I realized that my internet’s being slow and it was taking me 10-15 seconds to load each page. Just not fair, man :(

  14. dadioflex says:

    Hmm. Does nothing for me. Hmm. However it does reveal why the “hivemind” enjoys so many of those indie games, whose appeal escapes me. Low expectations.

  15. Kerosiinipelle says:

    Hey, gotta try this!

  16. Brulleks says:

    Surely the point of a game like this should be that you actually spend some time reading the page and actually learning something from it?

    Not sure how such stringent time limits really help with that…

  17. Rane2k says:

    Interesting. My first two quests were:
    The Fifth Element -> Deer
    and (drumroll, I laughed out at this one)
    Homecoming (Naruto Episode) -> Satan

    Tough the highscore list on the left side left me confused, 1 click for both of these, how?

    … and damn, I have work to do! It´s hard enough to concentrate as it is, working from home and all. :-)

    • Mark O'Brien says:

      @Rane2K

      I imagine it’s easy to cheat by adding a link yourself. If you’re interested you could look a the history of those pages and check if anybody added a stupid link at some point.

  18. Brumisator says:

    Men will do anything to avoid doing work.

  19. Sobric says:

    Charles Manson to Johnny Cash in 6 moves. This game is awesome.

  20. Roadrunnerr says:

    I found this a couple of days ago, the day before my english exam.

    It could have well compromised my results :p

  21. Hoaxmetal says:

    This game reflects my usual Wiki experience – start at ancient Egypt and end with Klondike gold rush.

  22. Conlaen says:

    My girlfriend found this a few months ago, while we were playing our own wikipedia game, without a website and just scoring by counting the amount of clicks required. When we stumbled onto this one, it was just made a little easier to compete :)

  23. jon_hill987 says:

    It should be about the number of clicks not the time, a slow loading page will f*** you up even if you have thought of a way to get there in just two clicks.

  24. westyfield says:

    My brother told me that on Wikipedia, you’re only five clicks away from Adolf Hitler – we tried it out a few times and it seems to be true.

  25. Samuel Bigos says:

    RPS, you broke their site!

    “Our fun little website is being featured on a big, popular website :-). Come back soon, sorry!!”

    http://wikipediagame.org/

    • Earl_of_Josh says:

      Yah. Getting the same message. Does this mean that RPS is a big popular website now?? Also, that one sentence isn’t particularly descriptive. Does it mean that you still CAN play, just on another “big popular” website (and if so, where is a link??) or does it mean that because its being featured on said popular website its getting to many hits and can’t handle it (and if so why doesn’t it mention that??) and in any case, for the sake of self-promotion shouldn’t they link to the website featuring them as a way of saying “thanks!”, or “look how popular we are, people should give us monies!”

      These are the things that keep me up at night.

  26. Adam says:

    it’d be fun if the website wasn’t slow as balls.

  27. Ian says:

    We played a game at work for a while (because we’re tragic) that involved taking Wikipedia’s article of the day and seeing how far away from the subject of that article in just 5 clicks.

    There’s a strange sense of horror when you click on what you think will be a lengthy article full of diverse linkage only for it to take you to a short bit about a specific type of some obscure amoeba or something.

    Will try this anyway, and then hate myself for liking it.

  28. Vague-rant says:

    Heh, my school blocked Wikipedia for about a month because of this game(about 3 years ago now). Probably the most ill conceived idea ever(the block not the game).

  29. Yargh says:

    I’m not going anywhere near this. I like my current job…

  30. Vinraith says:

    RPS killed it. :(

    Hopefully they’ll be able to find better hosting, since sourcing speed is a fairly important element here.

  31. Smidey says:

    Bonus points if you can avoid the U.S. Not stuff associated with it, just the page for the United States of America. Fucking Difficult.

  32. KBKarma says:

    @Rane2k: The site is pretty buggy. If you checked their paths, they’d be a decent length, and be fairly comprehensive.

    @Mark O’Brien: It’s even easier to cheat than that. Someone in my class made Six Degrees of Wikipedia, which plays the game for you. Admittedly, it’s now a few years out of date, but it works some of the time.

    • KBKarma says:

      @Rane2k: The site is pretty buggy. If you checked their paths, they’d be a decent length, and be fairly comprehensive.

      @Mark O’Brien: It’s even easier to cheat than that. Someone in my class made Six Degrees of Wikipedia, which plays the game for you. Admittedly, it’s now a few years out of date, but it works some of the time.

    • KBKarma says:

      Argh. That was meant to be in response to post 18. Both times. The first time, I messed up. The second time, I tried to do it right, so this could be deleted. Very sorry.

  33. indraneel says:

    another place to play wikipedia game – wikiaata

    you can play individually, create your own ‘puzzles’ and even create your own rooms and play with your friends!