19 January 2009

The Elusive Photo Hunt App

Photo Hunt. Picture Hunt. Find 7. Spot the Differences. Whatever it's called, it's a game in which you are presented two seemingly identical pictures and the goal is to find x number of differences between them. As a child, I played them occasionally in the newspapers. For a while, Parade Magazine, or whatever it was that came with the Sunday edition of NY Daily News, had them and I often played them with my nieces. I even got one niece two such books from Border's.

After getting to know ViquaGames.com's HideNSeek and Mahjong Towers Eternity, I set out on a quest to find a web site that would enable the creation of games using one's own photos. HideNSeek is a great game of the I Spy genre, even if you are stuck with canned objects. Mahjong Towers Eternity allows custom tileset using one's own photos. It would be nice if the game can be played as a Flash game and shareable on blogs, but it's good enough for now. Surely there must be a site where you can upload a photo, edit it and make it different in x places, then save it as a copy. Lastly, the game would be playable online.

It's been a disappointment quest. While there are many sites where you get to play the game online, for free, there is no place where you can upload your own photo and make a game out of it. If ViquaGames allows the use of one's own photos as background and quarantine the new puzzles a few hours to filter out any inappropriate content, surely there must be other web sites that can allow the creation of these find-the-differences games. There was this Windows app Photo Hunt Designer but even with that you can only upload your creations for others to download, not something to play right on the web. I can definitely made a non-interactive game - the player would just have to eyeball the picture and note on paper the differences, no clicking and seeing the differences highlighted. However, a visit to AllStarPuzzles ( http://www.allstarpuzzles.com/spotdiff/ ) gave me an idea. The spot-differences game there are not Flash and are probably JavaScript, something that I think I can manage. I've always wanted to learn a little more JavaScript anyway, having a goal in mind is helpful.

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