WikipathS, a game from the NYU location of the Global Game Jam, is an interesting attempt to create a game not as an application, but as a mash-up, grabbing data from an online data source -- in this case from Wikipedia. Consequently, it doesn't rely on a conventional programming language, but on AJAX; it requires a Firefox browser and Firefox's Greasemonkey add-on, as well as installing the developer's own Firefox extention.
Once you've installed it, you go to any page on Wikipedia; a "start" button appears on the page. You click it, and it sends you to a random Wikipedia page, and then displays your "target" page in a box at the bottom of the browser window (as shown in the illo above). Your goal is to navigate from the start page to the target page, using only links in the main body of each article; the game is timed, so presumably you're attempting to do it in the minimum amount of time. The target page also seems to be chosen at random -- they aren't spidering intervening links -- for of course, everything in Wikipedia links to everything else, eventually.
For example: I began at a page for a school in China's Hennan province, and was required to end up at the page for the Sierra Nevada batholith. The school apparently receives some funding from Nova Scotia, so I clicked there; from there, I was able to go to a page on the geography of Nova Scotia; from there to the main geology page; from there to a page on batholiths; and from there to the page for the Sierra Nevada batholith.
It's a cute concept, and an interesting approach to developing a game quickly -- and the use of external data sources is something I don't think I've seen before (except for same games that use Google maps). My basic feeling while playing, though, was similar to that when playing PMOG: Why am I doing this?
That is, yes, the application is timed, but each time I play, there will be a different challenge, so there's no way to beat my own score; nor is there a shared leaderboard of some kind. Thus, while there's a "quantifiable outcome" (a requirement of Salen & Zimmerman's [flawed] definition of the game), it feels like a meaningless one. "The Great Web Race," in other words, is no race at all.
There's a little bit of enjoyment to be gained by figuring out what links are likely to take you closer to your goal -- the satisfaction of puzzle-solving -- but I would much have preferred to be able to choose my starting page, at least. The first time I played, I went to Sid Sackson's page, since I thought it might be interesting to see what the game made of it -- but no luck, as soon as you click "Start" it sends you to a different random starting point. Or maybe choosing the ending page would be fun -- how do you get to my own page, say, from a random start?
Thus, WikipathS is imaginative both in its approach and its use of technology not often used for games; but in the final analysis, seems to lack enough support for the sorts of things that make games appealing to hold your interest for long.