Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Wikipedia as a classic text adventure: This “game” now exists, thanks to a London developer who has come up with a clever way to interpret the gushing fountain of data that is Wikipedia’s API.

The Javascript project works on any desktop or mobile web browser and it’s starting to look like an Infocom video game box from the 80s. (Always a good start.) Wikipedia: The Text Adventure generates a list of major landmarks, and clicking on any of them takes you to a landing page with a basic description of the location as pulled from the Wikipedia article’s summary, along with a list of nearby locations marked by cardinal directions. You’re limited to a text box, and typing “help” into that will give you a list of commands to type. (Mobile users can also tap keywords in the summaries, which isn’t so cool, but it’s a welcome alternative.)

Getting anywhere is as simple as typing “go” and its name, or you can learn more about the said content by typing “investigate” and their name. Do you want to pick up something? “Take on. You can’t really use objects in different places, but it’s nice to pick up the ., for example Mona Lisa.

Your available commands are limited because: The text adventure is not built with narrative quests in mind. But the auto-generated images and focus on locations are new to the Wikipedia interpretation world, and the result is an intriguing example of how the information project can be turned into an imaginary nation-hopping tool — not to mention an open, wide-eyed one. exploratory system that lovingly recalls the will of Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Around the world in 967 lines

Developer Kevan Davis started a somewhat 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 extracting 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 “mutilated sentence fragments” linked a story that “traveled generally east” until it amounted to about 50,000 words.

The focus of his API tool on physical locations, complete with descriptions and relative location information, gave him an idea: “you could put that under a player’s control and turn it into a text adventure.”

Davis says he Wikipedia: The Text Adventure out of straightforwardly defined content, such as quests or important Easter eggs (although he admits to sneaking a few jokes into it). He doesn’t seem driven to add anything important, because people didn’t need to be stimulated in the first tests. “It seems like people have enough fun making their own quests — trying to get home from far-flung corners of their hometowns, walking between two landmarks in different cities, or collecting an inventory of certain treasures or oddities,” Davis tells WebMD. Ars .

If you’re looking for homemade quest recommendations, Davis offers a few: Pripyat (“a hard place to explore in real life”), Lobuche, Nepal, (“there are plenty of articles near Mount Everest that it’s a bit of a puzzle to get to the top”), and the White House (“which has items for all of its rooms”). He’s obviously also spent time scouring Wikipedia through his home city: “there’s such a density of modern buildings and ancient history, that you can step from a Roman encampment to an unbuilt skyscraper, to a long-demolished 17th-century coffee house.”

List image by Kevan Davis

By akfire1

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