Wikipedia as a classic text adventure: this “game” now exists, and it’s thanks to a London developer who figured out a clever way to interpret the gushing fountain of data that is Wikipedia’s API.
Getting anywhere is as simple as typing “go” and its name, or you can learn more about mentioned contents by typing “examine” and their name. Want to pick something up? “Take” it. You can’t really use objects in various places, but it’s fun to, say, pick up the Mona Lisa.
Your available commands are limited because The Text Adventure was not built with narrative quests in mind. But its auto-generated images and focus on locations is novel in the Wikipedia-interpretation world, and the result is an intriguing example of how to turn the information project into an imaginary nation-hopping tool—not to mention an open, wide-eyed exploratory system that fondly recalls the likes of Where In The World is Carmen Sandiego?
Around the world in 967 lines
Developer Kevan Davis started a slightly related project a few years ago, which he launched in November 2015 as part of that month’s “NaNoWriMo” novel-writing challenge. The idea: automatically pull text from Wikipedia’s API to create a book. The result, Davis tells Ars Technica, was “a strange time-mangled version of Around The World In 80 Days,” in which “mangled sentence fragments” connected a narrative that traveled “generally eastward” until it clocked in at around 50,000 words.
His API tool’s focus on physical locations, complete with descriptions and relative-location information, gave him an idea: “you could put that under a player’s control and make a text adventure of it.”
Davis says he put Wikipedia: The Text Adventure out without building more defined content, like quests or significant easter eggs (though he admits he snuck a few jokes in). He doesn’t seem driven to add anything major because, in initial tests, people didn’t need the prodding. “It seems like people are having enough fun making their own quests—trying to get home from far-flung corners of their home town, walking between two landmarks in different cities, or collecting an inventory of particular treasures or oddities,” Davis tells Ars.
If you’re looking for self-made quest recommendations, Davis offers a few: Pripyat (“being a tough place to explore in real life”), Lobuche, Nepal, (“there are enough articles near to Mount Everest that it’s a bit of a puzzle to reach the top”), and the White House (“which has articles for all its rooms”). He’s clearly spent time Wikipedia-ing through his home city, as well: “there’s such a density of modern buildings and ancient history, letting you step from a Roman encampment to an unbuilt skyscraper, to a long-demolished 17th century coffee house.”
Listing image by Kevan Davis
More Info: arstechnica.com