Critical Play

“Guess whose photo is shown!”

The game that I played is called Photo Roulette, a mobile app created by three friends from Oslo, Norway. It is a multilateral game where groups are given a photo from someone within the group’s camera roll and have to guess who it belongs to. Each round is timed, and the groups are given the options of guessing photos only, videos only, or a mix of the two. The objective is to guess the correct user for each photo and gain the most points before the end of the game. 

Photo Roulette uses photo guessing as a way to allow players to get to know more about one another while also creating a reactive environment through the photos that are shown. It is clear that the creators aimed to create a game that surrounded fellowship, challenge, and discovery to  enhance the experience of each user.

The interface of the app captures the light heartedness of the game well by using fun fonts and colors. The button options and directions are very intuitive as each round shows a photo, a timer at the top of the screen, and buttons at the bottom with each player’s username which can be selected to vote. Along with this, players are allowed to react to the photos shown on the screen with emojis that are shown below the voting buttons. The instructions match the game’s simplicity and creates an environment that prioritizes the media being shown over mechanics allowing the player to be encompassed by the game.

One thing that I enjoyed about the app was the ability to choose the photos that could potentially get shared. Before beginning the game, you are prompted with a random set of 16 photos that could potentially be shared for the game’s use. If you do not approve of these, you can request a new mix until you meet your desired set of photos. Seeing how the app manages a user’s privacy was really insightful on how our group could do the same with the game we’ve created. By allowing the user to pre-approve photos before the game starts, you manage to keep a sense of mystery and surprise while not breaching the boundaries of privacy that a user might have.

The only critique that I have about the game is its timing. When a group is shown a photo to guess, they are only given seconds to decide on who the photo might belong to. Within these few seconds, it is quite difficult to enjoy the moment when the photo is shown without it being overshadowed by the pressures of voting. I often found myself willing to lose points to get a better look at what the photo contained. This would be an easy fix, by allowing more time you can give the user the luxury of voting while also enjoying what is being shown on their screen.

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