Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Educate and entertain yourself or others with WikipediaMaze

Educate and entertain yourself or others with WikipediaMaze:
WikipediaMaze Screenshot1
WikipediaMaze is a fun little web site that will take you on a journey that is both educational as well as fun, by turning Wikipedia and its various pages into a maze, of sorts. Mazes can be created by the users of WikipediaMaze and then voted on by other users.
With so many games out there, and most of them lacking in anything like educational value, it is always nice to see a new concept in gaming that promotes both entertaining and educating those that enjoy it. WikipediaMaze is one of those sites. It takes Wikipedia pages and, by specifying different steps as beginning and end, allows you to find your way through a ‘maze’ of informational articles posted on Wikipedia. There’s a portion of the general populace that enjoys learning for its own sake, and I think they are the ones this particular site will appeal to most.
WikipediaMaze Screenshot2
First, as with nearly any site out there, you’ll need to register an account at WikipediaMaze and from there you will be able to start exploring all it has to offer. The main page, the ‘puzzles’ page, shows a listing of the most recently made and added mazes on the site. You can view the different puzzles available by category on the ‘themes’ page, or just grab one from the front page. These mazes are created by users of the site, just like you, albeit with a bit more experience. The idea of a Wikipedia maze is to begin on a specific article, and by following links in the article, along with links in further articles, to get to the final page. Just like a 2D traditional maze, but with articles and links instead of lines and blank spots on a page.
WikipediaMaze Screenshot3
Let’s look at an example basic puzzle to see how it works. The idea is to get from article A to article B in as few link hops as possible. So, if your starting article is “Candy in the USA” and your ending article is “Spaceballs, the Movie” then your journey could go something like this: From the Candy in the USA article, you find a link to gum balls and their history. From that particular article you find a link to toy balls throughout the ages. From there you find a link to entertainment, Spaceballs. This particular example is a bit farfetched but it shows how the maze system works. It is much like the six degrees of Kevin Bacon meme, that states you can find six degrees of separation from anything and Kevin Bacon. In fact, there is a whole list of puzzles with that particular theme.
WikipediaMaze Screenshot4
Creating you own puzzle is a very easy and simple process. You simply put in the URL of your starting point, the URL of the ending point, and any tags for themes or categories you want to add. It is really that simple and easy, and soon people might be playing your maze. Once a maze has been played, the players can vote on it and get points on a leaderboard, so there is even a competitive aspect to WikipediaMaze. This is a really interesting site. It’s not really a game and it’s not really an educational site but it is somewhere in-between. There are lots of sites like this out there, keeping track of various fads and fun notions lately, but it is really nice to see something like this out there, that has some intrinsic learning value. It sure beats the heck out of watching the latest video on planking.
Personally, I would recommend this site to just about anyone who has a love of mazes, learning, or anyone just looking for some new diversion to try during the 15 mins away from their spreadsheets. I have enjoyed it and I hope you will, too. Until next time, my friends.
Check out the WikipediaMaze here.

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