Friday, January 15, 2016

How to Play Wiki-Jumping

Happy Birthday Wikipedia!

I came up with a fun little game about five years ago that involves two people, at least three minutes of spare time, and Wikipedia. I do recognize that others have independently arrived at the same or similar concepts, very likely before I did, so I'm not claiming any true originality, though I'm fairly sure I didn't hear about Wiki-Jumping prior to my idea. In fact I've come to see that Wikiracing is fairly established, and while that destroys any claim to fame I may have on the matter, it also validates my opinion that it is pretty good fun. Here is my version of the game and rules.

The game is simple. Decide who will pick the start subject and who will pick the target/destination subject. Then each player thinks of a subject (thing, concept, person, animal, event, place) that is likely to be a wikipedia page. They simultaneously announce their subjects and both players navigate to the start subject page. On the command of "GO", the two players start clicking on in-page links, with the goal of arriving at the target page. The first person to arrive at the destination subject wins. Then spend an enjoyable minute clicking the back button to show each other your traversals.

Formal rules:
1) Both subjects should have a single unambiguous wikipedia page. This isn't too hard, but if you choose something like "Chicago", decide on the specific context (e.g. city, band, movie etc.).
2) When playing, you may only click on links within the body of the wikipedia article that link to another wikipedia article. No external links, no sidebar clicks. You MAY use the contents feature, and the See Also section. You may not use Portals.
3) You may not use any search functions. Essentially, you may not use the keyboard.
4) You may not use the back button. If you make an erroneous click, you'll have to find your way back by moving forward.
5) If both players agree find they are stuck in a loop or can't make progress, you may agree to a draw.
6) You may not look at each other's screens during the race, though you may volunteer information (e.g. "I'm at Non-Newtonian fluid!").

I realize that this game may sound boring, nerdy, tedious, or just plain silly, but I guarantee that if you're the least bit competitive and creative, the game can be hilarious, nail-biting, and even fun for spectators. It involves strategy, wits, and of course it's free.

Happy Wiki-Jumping!

PS Having trouble finding some subjects? Try these out:
Golden Gate Bridge to Pi
Sputnik 1 to Sushi
Golden poison frog to the American Declaration of Independence
Abbey Road (album) to Sea level (Bonus challenge: Traverse this in 4 clicks or fewer)

PPS I've been a bit silent on this blog recently, not because I haven't been doing anything, but because I'm in the process of building a new website which will house my blog, and I'm working through migrating this blog over.

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