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June 2, 2008

another idea

world's hardest jigsaw puzzle - a multiplayer online game.

observer arrives at a page containing an 800x600 image. after one second the image collapses, each pixel falling like a grain of sand to a heap at the bottom (play with physics here for good effect). Observer can sift through the sand (again play), zoom and choose pixels to drag up to the canvas. The canvas displays the aggregate of observer choices - doubtful it would tend toward the original image, but it would be a collage of limited resources - each pixel derived from the original image.

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Comments (8)

I like this idea - you should do it :)

Posted by: rumoko at June 2, 2008 9:45 AM

I can see it now, the puzzle will be a giant image of ONLINE GRAND CASINO GOLD JACKPOT.

Posted by: jwyers at June 2, 2008 11:07 AM

Even better might be 4x4 or 6x6 blocks of pixels. Still small enough to still be ridiculously hard, if not impossible to put back together, but they would retain at least a little bit of the information from the original.

Posted by: Nerdsavant at June 2, 2008 12:35 PM

I don't recall the location, but there was an online plaything that gave you a 10x10 block (I might be wrong on the size) of pixels which all started out white but could be toggled black by a user. Each block was labeled, e.g. "smiley face", "monster", "butterfly", "love", etc. and users were encouraged to try and make the picture look like the label. Each toggling click refreshed the page with a new block, and there were dozens of labeled blocks in varying states of looking-like-the-label.
I wish I could recall the website, because it's pretty much what you and Nerdsavant have described.

Posted by: RunningFool at June 2, 2008 6:47 PM

I have always been intrigued by the idea of art as an experience, rather than the outcome. This to me sounds like both. The fact that it would be nearly impossible for the original image to be recreated is part of the message (and to me the appeal). (I'm not sure what the message is, but there must be one...)

Posted by: Carolyn at June 4, 2008 12:41 AM

Cool idea. I can see two directions to go with it. One is that it's really a restricted art medium (not unlike Scribbler in that way). Going down that path, I suspect that the tedium of creation pixel by pixel would sap precious energy. Perhaps, rather than drawing one pixel at a time, the user could be given the usual set of drawing tools, but they can only draw as many dots of a certain color as were available in the original image.

The other direction would be that it's not an art medium. It really is a puzzle. Going that way, maybe the pixels would stick to or gravitate towards their original position. Instead of a vertical field, maybe it's a horizontal field where the pixels slide around like marbles but "tend" towards their original position.

Posted by: Hyperbolic Dan at June 4, 2008 11:08 AM

Thats a great idea! I think your first speculation (that a crowd cant re-assemble the original image) is an interesting and testable one.

Suppose you have the community a thumbnail of the original and challenged them to put the thing back together? Big prizes when you hit perfection - let the crowd vote when they think they are "close enough" - provide hints or clues about what's in the wrong place -- there's miles of good ideas in here.

Would be interesting to see how many hours it took to complete.


Posted by: MConway at June 9, 2008 12:57 PM

Brilliant! Mixes my two favorite addictions -- online & puzzles.

Posted by: califmom at June 11, 2008 6:04 PM

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