Archive for the ‘1997’ Category

Inventing for the Internet the Early Years

June 24, 2010

Inventing for the Internet

Over on the Inventor Blog, I have just posted on Inventing for the Internet – the Early Years. Below is a brief synopsis but please see the post for the examples.


Here is a look at inventing for the Internet written in 2005 looking back over the ten year period from 1995 up to 2005. In general, the focus was on making new use of the medium:

  1. People can interact to make content not just view content
  2. People can communicate with each other
  3. A computer mediates to enforce rules of a game or environment
  4. Production and distribution of virtual objects are free

Other inventive focus was the relation between story and game play. Sometimes a story would suggest game play but usually a relevant story was created for a given game play.

Here are the comments about inventing features for the Internet in the early years. Many of these ideas would have relevance being redone in today’s social media aware world – because we were socially aware in the past but perhaps did not quite have the platforms and sharing systems worked out.

Inventions for 2005 – 2010 will be the focus of the next posting.

Enjoy – Dan Zen – Full Post

Dens – Atmospheric Online Community

December 9, 2005

The Dens are set in the Great Wall of China and represent early atmospheric forums / blogs. You can no longer create public dens but they are still active and act like a legacy to this time of communication online.

Note the subscription feature (the bat icon), a feature still used today in forums but invented by Dan Zen – although it is unknown if other subscription systems predated them.

The Den technology was also later used for communal story telling in the Blimp Race series where people hurled curses at other blimps and planned their strategies. And in Shrink Ray where players were shrunk and stuck in a bottle. And as forums for games like RichDeck, Motogami and of course the Billionaire’s Den in Password Paradox. The Hand Game was a collaborative effort that used the technology.

Grim Reaper’s Age Guesser

December 9, 2005

Grim Reaper’s Age Guesser is the most popular game on Dan Zen primarily because Dan Zen has had the number one entry for Grim Reaper in Google.

You answer 13 questions and the Grim Reaper will guess your age. To see how the answer was determined, you submit your real age and it will show you.

Each question has a calculation that determines an age. If the question gets within five years of the actual age then its factor goes up by one else it goes down by one. In the end, the total guess is made by adding up all the answers multiplied by the factors and dividing by the total number of factors.

For a while, after being listed in Yahooligans for kids, the only question that worked well for ages under 13 was “when did you last climb a tree?” This question ended up with a factor of thousands. Things have balanced out a little since then.

Over 10,000 people have had their age guessed and the Grim Reaper guessed 5% correctly, 35% within three years and over half within 5 years.

Prediction Train

December 9, 2005

Prediction Train lets you make predictions in different categories and vote on whether you think other predictions will come true. You can track when votes were made as the predicted date approaches. This potentially would give an indication of the social climate.

Some interesting things have occurred – Dan Zen predicted Bill Gates would step down as head of Microsoft and in a sense he did.

The game is self-modifying in that viewers can vote to remove certain predictions.

Blimp Race – Viral Marketing Game

December 9, 2005

One of Dan Zen’s most successful game was Blimp Races. In the first race, people created their own blimps and then e-mailed friends to join their blimps. The blimp with the most people wins the race. The first race had about 700 people all having fun and cursing other blimps in the forums.

Six degrees of separation were explored as who people invited and where they came from were displayed. In the second race, two years later, it really exploded when invites went into Silicon Valley and reached out to India, Hawaii, the Netherlands, etc.

The third race two years later was more difficult as distrust in e-mail had grown to a maximum. People were being overwhelmed by spam and just not in the mood to click links in e-mail. This situation may have gotten better with spam filters and it might be worth a try to hold race four.

The race was almost sold and set to run on the large Bell/Sympatico portal but there was a change in management and a reduction of original content

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