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The Wikipedia Game (also known as WikiRace or WikiWars) is a competitive game in which two or more players must navigate through Wikipedia from a randomly assigned page to another page of destination by using the fewest number of links in the shortest amount of time. Usually, the first player to reach the targeted article or the player that reaches the destination with the fewest number of links, wins the race.
On April 9th, 2005, Wikipedia editor Deceased submitted an article titled “Wikirace” to the site, which provided a brief description of the gameplay and the rules. Some of the main rules included requiring attendance of all players in the same room, prohibiting the use of hub articles such as disambiguation pages from the game, as well as the use of search function or “find” command to isolate relevant links.
First select a page off the top of your head. Using “Random page” works well, as well as the featured article of the day. This will be your beginning page. Next chose a destination page. Generally, this destination page is something very unrelated to the beginning page. … Once you have selected a beginning page and an destination page, the race begins and the first person to reach the destination page wins.
According to the page, the game was originally conceived by an unlisted group of high school students in 2005.
The concept behind the game is similar to the idea of the Six Degrees of Separation, which posits that “every person on earth is connected by approximately six other people.” Popularized in the 1990s by a play and movie with the same name, this social networking concept eventually led to the birth of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a trivia game which requires a group of players to connect any individual to American actor Kevin Bacon using the fewest number of links in the shortest amount of time. In this vein, a Wikipedia entry for the Six Degrees of Wikipedia was created on April 18th, 2003. The page lists the longest chains of contextual association between two entries as well as the shortest “unnatural” chains for two seemingly unrelated entries connected by less than six pages.
The earliest known definition of Wikiracing can be found in an Urban Dictionary entry for “Wikipedia Game” submitted by Danstu on January 7th, 2007. Later that year, similar definitions of the game were submitted to the site under various names such as “Wiki Racing” and “WikiWar.” The game was also mentioned in a graduate student’s personal blog post on September 18th, 2007, which described a session that lasted for nearly 20 minutes between two students.
The game continued to spread through words of mouth under more generic names like “The Wikipedia Game,” as mentioned in a YouTube video about the game uploaded by video blogger NDTitanLady on July 12th, 2008. Several additional videos explaining the game of Wikirace were uploaded onto YouTube between 2008 and 2009.
An article on WIkipedia Racing appeared in the October 14th, 2008 newsletter for Michigan’s Gamma Tau Beta Pi fraternity. In 2010, Designer Christopher de Beer created his own WikiRace site where users could track their game history and keep score with friends. Later that same year, another single serving site that redirects the players to a randomly assigned Wikipedia article was launched on October 10th, 2010.
On June 15th, 2012, the Gregory Brothers uploaded a video showing Evan and Michael completing three rounds of Wikiraces, which they called “WIkiWars,” with the rest of their team providing commentary about their movements in the style of e-Sports casters. The Gregory Brothers’ participation brought on a resurgence of interest in the game, receiving coverage from various tech news sites like Geekosystem, Reddit Blame it on the Voices, Neatorama, Mashable, Yahoo! News and The Blaze among others.
University of Hamburg – The Breaking of the Circle.
Playing with, through, against medial