these are links I collected from 1994 to about 1995 or 1996. So if they actually work, well, woah!
Engage the web:
I have found that the web is only entertaining up to a point. After a while, cruising home pages loses its appeal. You want to actually do something, to create something, or to make something act the way you want it to. You want control!
A growing part of the fun of the web is the ways people have figured out to harness the power of forms and imagemaps to allow you to choose, or influence, the content you recieve.
This selection of sites should help you gain a sense of the interactive web.
- It's hip and it's a blast. Seriously tweaked online fun at Piercing Mildred. Choose male, female or teddy bear, though there's no genital piercing permitted. You have $100, choose piercing components, or design your own scars, by checking boxes on a grid. Place them on your body template - imagemapped two levels. Build your badass pierced hipster, and wait for weekly judging - you could win some min-handcuffs! The site is slick, the concept innovative and well executed, it's pretty engaging. I did run out of money rather quickly - I guess you have to come back weekly to see if you've accrued any cash rewards. (7/11/95)
- You know that game with the grid and the mines, where you have to isolate the explosives? Minesweeper, XMines, Bombs, whatever, now there's a web version: WebMineSweeper. Choose from a 5x5 to a 24x8 grid, and click away. Things speed up once you've loaded all the images, but the big grids can take a while. Fortunately, the speed factor keeps it from being completely addictive, like it was when I used to keep a copy of that infernal program on my computer. (5/20/95)
- For a litte linear online adventure, try Castle Sonnenstein 2D. The German authors have put together a tour of their lab both witty and foreboding. If you are feeling brave enough "to free the poor underestimated, unpaid, unverschamt WWW programmer from the Sunpool" you can wander through this photographed and sounded realm filled with computer beasties and subtle clues. After more than twenty pages, various characters, you may indeed rescue, and meet the programmer! A great way to tour someone's world - imagine a hundred of these on the web... All linked together! (3/28/95)
- Just in time for the end of winter, the Rome Lab Snowball Camera let's you engage winter sports from your desk. At the bottom of the front page, select right, left, or straight, and recieve a picture of your snowball's trajectory. Whee - fun - take out a scientist! If you hit anything of value, you get some points. Get enough points, and your domain will be listed on their leader board. (3/95)
- Engage your brain with a game of Online Chess. Choosing from one of four skill levels (or "None of your business"), players fill out forms and wait for a mate - or watch games in progress. The board is easy to figure out, the only real hassle is having to reload to make anything happen. My friend GK played a 3 hour game online, lost, and loved it anyway! A knowledge of chess and a good chunk of time are prerequisite, because there's no computer here to teach you, and if you quit a game early, you will be ditchin' a sentient being. (1/95)
- Welcome to the web - wish you were here! Now you can send postcards to people using the web and e-mail, through MIT Media Labs's Electric Postcard. They have a postcard rack with over 35 different designs, featuring well known artists such as Kandinsky, Van Gogh, da Vinci, Gauguin, and the Alice in Wonderland print dude. There are a few non-classic gems as well, I liked the New York Black and White stark postcards myself. You pick a design, then type your message to an e-mail address. That person recieves an e-mailed notice that a card is waiting for them, which they can view at a web site with a personal reference number. An engaging post/e-mail crossover - made worthy by selections of postcards that are actually aesthetically pleasing! (1/95)
- I love The Asylum - they always have some incisive, funny, engaging, inventive stuff online. They are magic mayhem makers. They have wrought some brilliant satire. Also, they always have a number of engaging interactive projects up at their site. Some of the best of the web's interactive endeavors sprung from their twisted imaginations: Lite-Brite, Graffiti Wall, the Ren and Stimpy feedback page, to name a few. They put a new toy up every couple of weeks - it's worth checking back in.
- Play Hunt the Wumpus!
- Play the purely textual, simplistic choose your own adventure. The introductory choices sum it up - "Sneeze, Vomit or Quit." A strange environment leading from one three choice page to another, ending up in these dead ends that hand you numbers you are told to remember. I have not seen the use for them at all. I wonder whether this site is intended as a sick joke - if it is, it works.
- The Peg Game is a step up from TicTacToe - interactively scooting pegs around a board playing against a computer opponent.
- Remember Madlibs? Filling in the blanks with random words to complete stories. Choose from a list of over 15 MadLib templates, and fill in a number of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. The result is a jumble of confusion that can result in hilarity if the proper tone is inflected.
- Here is genuine real world - web interactivity for you: control a robot arm from the web at the Robotic Tele-Excavation site. After signing on and passing a operator's test, you wait your turn for your five minutes of operating time. Using clickable maps of a little sandbox filled with random little objects, you move the arm around, and squirt air to uncover stuff. The thrill is in the actual doing of it, of course, not the discovery of old Smithsonian pens...
- For low-impact interactive thrills, check out the Tic Tac Toe page. It's not clear to me who the opponent is, I assume the computer, but regardless, this page gives you the opportunity to play Tic Tac Toe over the web. It's about as exciting as the real thing.
- You've heard of choose your own adventure, now with Drool you can choose a dog's own adventure. Select a gender (male, female or neuter),and breed from seven choices, and you are off to explore the world of Boston and the environs of MIT.
- WebWorld, the first virtual world you can move around in, build in, and visually link to other parts of the World Wide Web. It used to be cool, but as the web ages, and develops, it gets more and more boring. Two Dimensional is old - give me VRML (Virtual Reality MarkUp Language)!
This is some of the most exciting stuff out there on the web. Check it out: people making art for people. Fewer spectators - more expression. Community, folks.
- OTIS - the Operative Term is Stimulate - an online art community proving the beauty in collaborative art by using computers to bring creative minds together. Some of the first people to harness the power of the web to do cool art shit.
- Remember those plug-in light boards with coloured pegs - "Lite-Brite, Making things with light" circa early '80s? Check out the Lite-Brite Studio, where you can design your own Lite-Brites, or look at other submissions. Be prepared to wait for some graphix to load, but once they're loaded, you can fly. In addition, a colour monitor is a must. The curators have not been keeping up the galleries, so don't expect to see your submission again until they do.
- At Ping datascape you can click on a 2D map of objects that people have placed there, as well as vote on the objects once you've viewed them. There seems to be a lot here, there's something mentioned of 3D viewing/manipulation, which necessitates further examination. Overall, a nice front for a collection of randomly placed pieces.
- The Digital Gallery of Syracuse University's Computer Graphics for the Arts department has two interactive/collaborative art projects online, only one of which is currently open for submissions.
For a compendious survey of interactive web offerings, try Zarf's List of Interactive Games on the Web. It is a well annotated, thorough, up to date list of what is out there. Each entry is marked to let you know which ones require forms, inline images, imagemaps, and colour. A nice service indeed!
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This page and all its contents Copyright 1994, 1995 Justin Hall. All rights reserved. Contact me with any questions you might think of, permissions you might want, or problems you may have.
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