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Game: Broken Picture Telephone

BROKEN PICTURE TELEPHONE is a free web-based party game, a variation of the old “Telephone” game you played as kids at a 5-year-old’s birthday party at Shakey’s Pizza back in the day.

The Telephone Game was where everyone would sit around the table, and the first person would come up with some silly tongue twister or crazy saying.  They would then whisper the phrase to the person next to them, who would then have to whisper it to the person next to them, and so on and so on until the last person says whatever was whispered to them.  The hope is that the original phrase will make it around the table intact, but it never seemed to work out that way.

Broken Picture Telephone (aka “BPT”) is sort of like that, but with a twist:

instead of only relying on whispering the phrase to the next person in line, you have to do a little bit of Pictionary as well.

In Broken Picture Telephone, the first person comes up with a phrase and (using the game’s web interface), tells it to the next person in line.   That person then has to use their mouse to sketch their interpretation of the phrase, Pictionary-style, as best they can.  Use stick figures, cartoon thought balloons, whatever it takes… but no letters or numbers.   That drawing gets passed to person #3.

Person #3 then has to interpret the image and place it into words.  Hopefully, person #2 did such an awesome job drawing that whatever person 3 comes up with is exactly what person 1 originally said.

But that’s never the case.   

And so it goes around the table, from text to image to text to image, until everybody has had a chance to participate in the round one time.   Once the round is over, the results are revealed to all participants and hilarity ensues.  And this is how you can go from the original phrase “William Shakespeare discovers the Internet” to “News Flash: Anorexic girl weighs less than bucket with 2 flowers in it” in 45 turns.

Yeah, it can get pretty funny if your randomly-assigned game group contains some creative people.

Can you play this game at your next party without the Internet?  Sure – just get a stack of Post-it Notes and some pens and play the game in person, one sticky-note at a time.  Someone writes something funny on the top note, and hands the whole pad to the next person.  That person takes the note off the top and keeps it, and draws their interpretation before passing the pad along.  When you’re done, take all the Post-it Notes and put them on the wall for all to read and enjoy.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Alishah Novin ends up taking the best of the 24,000+ “BPT” games that have been played so far and gets a book deal out of it and turns into a millionaire from pimping out other people’s playtime… just like others have done before him.

(And how awesome is it that I just happened to have a “picture” of a “broken telephone” to illustrate this post today?  Yeah, I know – nobody cares but me.  But trust me on its awesomeness.)