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New Photobomber game puts random stock photos to good use

It is staggering sometimes to consider the sheer volume of images that must be housed at a photo-and-video-sharing site like Flickr. The number is certainly in the billions by now. By some estimates, upwards of 3.5 million new images are uploaded to Flickr each day by the site’s many millions of registered users. But what to do with all of these images? Are they to languish, unseen and unwanted, for an eternity in some virtual warehouse, collecting digital dust, having never even been used as wallpaper? Justin Hook, who currently works as a script coordinator at Bob’s Burgers, has found a clever way to get some mileage out of some Flickr images. Using the site’s application program interface (API), Hook has created a game called Photobomber. It’s a simple diversion, as its creator explains: “It uses the Flickr API to create fill-in-the-blank puzzles using the top tagged photos on Flickr as clues.”

Here’s how it works. The player chooses one of four categories (Music, Movies, Books, or Phrases), then clicks Start. Photobomber then presents a series of incomplete phrases or titles, only with stock photos in place of blanks. “Brown-Eyed Girl,” for instance, might look like this:

Get it? The player then types the word “brown” over the picture of that brown-looking food and the word “girl” over the picture of the young lady diving for a volleyball on the beach. One puzzle is thus solved, and another automatically takes its place. Each time the player cannot solve a puzzle and simply skips to the next question, a bomb icon below will disappear. Lose all five bombs and the game is over. But Photobomber is a nicely low-key game, so there are no embarrassing noises or insulting phrases or flashing lights to signal defeat. It just sort of dies quietly after five mistakes and can be easily revived by clicking “New Game.” The game is not timed either, so it proves a remarkably soothing distraction. Those looking for a quiet way to while away the hours could do worse.

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