Archive for the ‘1999’ 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

Shrink Ray – Viral Marketing Game

December 9, 2005

Shrink Ray came at the dawn of Web mail and was a very interesting viral marketing game.

You arrived at the first screen asking you to fill in some information to play. If you did, you got shrunk! As you were shrinking you had time to e-mail your friends and tell them how to avoid the trap in which you were caught – in this case, your message would tell them to not fill anything in – only press submit.

Soon, people started passing the first test, and they were taken to a barnacle registry page with six panels. The panels were set up to register barnacles – barnacles are Dan Zen’s helpers. Each step of the way, if the player did things out of order or chose the wrong option, they would be shrunk and would have the last minute opportunity to send a message to friends telling them not to do what they had just done.

All the shrunken people got to talk in a bottle which ended up with over 3,000 posts. Click the link for more of the story and some screen shots although the site is no longer active.

Password Paradox – Addictive Password Game

December 9, 2005

The most addictive game on earth – well, for some people. Password Paradox lets you guess people’s passwords as you attempt to gain access to a secret worth a Billion Dollars!

Hundreds of players have guessed the 21 passwords and entered the Billionaire’s Den – some arriving there dozens of times.

The game is self modifying – the passwords are different each time a new Billionaire succeeds. See if you can surmise how it is done.

Hip Cats – Beatnik, Psychedelic, Goth, Surf, Urban, Cyberpunk

December 9, 2005

Hip Cats was originally going to be a work of artificial intelligence called e-male. E-male was an idea floating around for some time. It would let you construct a person with various visual components and characteristics.

In the end, the community and creative writing aspects were deemed more important than the visual aspects so default visual people were used. Also, the name e-male left out a gender.

As Dan Zen explored the modifications of characteristics, it became interesting to see various translations of the same text into different moods or genres of speech. Playing with the slang or vernacular of various movements an idea was born. Why not let what the people are saying be translated into Beatnik, Psychedelia, Goth, Urban, Cyberpunk, Surf, etc.

In general these were all fairly hip environments and miraculously, was not taken.

To avoid excessive download the new technology of DHTML was used to only load the text that changed as questions were asked and answers given. This technology is a combination of iframes, layers and JavaScript which each browser handled differently leading to 1,200 lines of different code for each.

Perl is used for the backend to keep track of logins, question and answer creations, mood translations, ratings, who hangs out with whom, who dates whom, messages, purchases, personal translation moods, various buzz postings in multiple categories, Hip Cat Top Ten letters, different templates, etc.

Translations and linguistics were extensively researched along with histories, music, books and films of the genres. These works can be purchased through an affiliation with Amazon.

Of the thousands of Hip Cats, there are indeed some very interesting ones but also very many lame ones some of which have dropped off the scene as they are rated more than five times with less than a fifty percent average.

If you would like to have a Hip Cat Scene (templated) then please look up our ambassador, Sador Ambas.

Blimp Race II – 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 is winning 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 a change in management and a reduction of original content resulted in a no go.

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