Archive for the ‘1998’ 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

Tallest Hat in the World

December 9, 2005

In making the Dan Zen games free, Dan Zen turned to a donation model and as a reward for donating, let people see the Tallest Hat in the World. The results were less than satisfying so additional incentive was added in the next relaunch – the Pagoda of Games.

Dan Zen – Board of Games Interface

December 9, 2005

After a running the Itching campaign, the Dan Zen Board of Games was launched. All the games were made free and people could donate to see the World’s Tallest Hat.

The board metaphor provided a front cover (see samples here) and then a main menu with each game represented as a square on the game board. There was one person who at a quick glance perhaps thought the site was a game on its own as opposed to multiple games but this feedback was not taken seriously.

Many of Dan Zen games could be board games with the addition of computing power and omniavailability.

Early JavaScript was used to change a message image as the different game squares were rolled over. Secondary pages provided common top navigation with cross promotional links. Ads from the Blah Blah network, now UGO were served to some success.

As features were added, the Teleporter squares were added or taken away to keep a balance. The board eventually was becoming too large and a redesign led to The Pagoda of Games.

It should be noted that the original hopes for the Board interface was a motion graphics site where the visitor’s mouse would part clouds to reveal a map below. The map would be quite large and have pictorial representations of the games, hidden Easter eggs, etc. Unfortunately, Flash 3 did not have the power to do this and the experiments led to the scope interface for UTOPIA which was then reduced to a custom cursor for visualization reasons.

People Are Itching To Play Dan Zen

December 9, 2005

Itching was the Dan Zen poster and Web campaign run in anticipation for the Dan Zen relaunch. Concentration of marketing on one product at a time did not seem to make a difference when it came to paying for games so Dan Zen brought back all the games for free with a shareware model of donations to the world’s tallest hat.

Itching, a pun on the I Ching, featured Dan Zen’s friends and the public itching. The slogan was “This person is itching to play Dan Zen”.

The site gave some descriptions of the games and featured a random person itching each time.

Spirogram – Spiral Encryption

December 9, 2005

Spirogram was the second feature (after Utopia) to be singled out on Dan Zen. It claimed that you could quadruple your visitors by adding a Spirogram to your site.

Spirogram lets you send spiral encoded messages and send them to people who then come to the site to decode the messages.

Although the campaign was targeted the Web masters to pay for a Spirogram, Dan Zen visitors could also use the Spirogram on Dan Zen and many have.

Utopia – Erotic Mystery

December 9, 2005

In 1998, after a couple years of trying to sell games, Dan Zen decided to take them all away and concentrate on one game at a time.

Utopia, an erotic mystery, was the first game.

A five hundred dollar prize was offered for the first person to solve the mystery. And people were to line up for a month to get ready.

The first two days were free if you invited 10 or more friends. Thousands of people lined up and only a handful paid.

It is quite difficult to make money with original online entertainment content.

The mystery predated the most influential television movement of the day by several years.

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