The Wiki Game
iOS & Web Application · 2012–2013
Designing and building The Wiki Game was adventure. Originally started as a side project of Alex Clemesha, I was actively helping with design for two years. In that time we completely revamped the branding and design of the existing web app and then designed and built iPhone & iPad apps (this predated universal apps). Currently the web version attracts over 1,000 unique players a month and the apps have over 60k downloads.
Wikipedia as a Game
The game play of The Wiki Game is simple—players are given a start Wikipedia article and an end article and they must click links in those pages to navigate between. What isn’t simple is the complex decision and associations each player makes as they connect one idea to the next. Considering the sheer size of Wikipedia it is easy to imagine the possibilities this presents.
Developing the Design Language
I wanted to blend the enormity of knowledge that is Wikipedia along with the inquisitive fun that the game brings. I started scouring the Wikimedia Commons for material and started collecting etchings, illustrations, and art of antiquity. These graphics served as a wonderful nod to the cumulative knowledge of humanity. I then balanced this with bright illustrations of our adorable mascots Wendell and Wendy.
The type choices also reflected this juxtaposition: 1756 Dutch was a old style font inspired by a printer in the 1750’s and accompanied the illustrations seamlessly. On the other side was Patagonia which fit nicely with the fun/game illustrations. I also used League Gothic which is condensed as both 1756 Dutch and Patagonia are rather wide, but in hindsight I think I could have used just the two to achieve the same results.
For the most part I helped with just design, but when it came time to build out our iPad app, Alex & I pair programmed, which is to say he taught me rudimentary Objective-C. Saying we borrowed heavily from the logic of the iPhone app is an understatement, but it was invaluable to get some direct experience with Xcode.