I write down “Define Irony” on a post it and hand it to you. You draw a fire truck in flames. You hand your drawing to someone else who has no idea what I wrote, and they see and write down “School bus with a flame paint job”. They hand that description to the next person. This goes on between 11 and 45 times. When you get to the end, Donkey Kong is inexplicably throwing kittens at Mario. You can’t explain it, but seeing all the post-it notes in a row makes you chuckle uncontrollably.

You and a group of strangers just got together to play a game of Broken Picture Telephone. No prizes are awarded. Nobody wins or loses. It’s addictive as bacon-flavored cigarettes.

Based on a popular party game, this beautifully crafted site gives you a web version of “Picture Telephone” also known as -I’m not making this up- “Eat Poop You Cat.”  I have no idea who named it that. I can almost imagine how someone must’ve drawn someone giving ice cream to a cat, and the next description in line stuck since it was the funniest thing anyone had ever heard.

When it’s your turn to write, you are shown a picture, drawn by some anonymous fellow player. It might be a stipple-shaded masterpiece drawn meticulously on a stylus tablet, or it might be stick figures, blobs and scribbles drawn on a laptop pad. It might be simple,clear and obvious what the person drew (e.g. Batman punches Mario) or it might be up to your imagination as to what the hell is going on. “Well, that face seems to be in some sort of trash can… OH, it’s Oscar! He’s got a gun and he’s shooting at… is that a hang glider? What is that guy holding? Is it a key or a banana?” you decide “Oscar the Grouch shoots a hang glider holding a key.”

The best part is when you get to the end, and get to see your drawing or description in the context of a full game. You get to see exactly what that person before you was trying to draw, and it turns out that it was R2-D2 shooting Link from the Legend of Zelda. Oh well, you were right about the key and the gun at least.

Two caveats about this site:

First, sometimes the descriptions and pictures run past the realm of ribaldry into complete NSFW dirtiness. You can filter games so this doesn’t happen. This leads to my second warning. Sometimes people like to ruin every one else’s fun and draw a wiener without clicking the “mature” button. (What’s worse is that sometimes people draw a wiener when the description was about kittens.” Even when someone purposely ruins a game, all is not lost. You are surrounded by clever people who can turn a game around in no time by using the cleaner meaning of double-entendres or purposely misreading a certain word “Bert and Ernie are HUGGING each other in the CLASS”.

Whether you’re a great doodler or a hopeless stick-figure Picasso, I urge you to open an account on this site and start playing. I’ll see you there.

BrokenPictureTelephone.com

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